ASUS ZenWiFi AX Hybrid Review (Page 1 of 5)

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Hybrid Review

By: Jonathan Kwan
July 15, 2022

Why does one want to get their car windows tinted? I have this running joke with my friends about how window tint is necessary if I have to drive people I do not want to be seen in public with for a variety of negative reasons. Earlier this year, I took my parents' Honda Pilot in for service on their behalf, but since I had plans to hang out with some friends right after, I just drove the SUV. I picked up a friend along the way, and as we were leaving her neighborhood, I saw her wave back at someone who knew us. I was a little bit surprised how the said person saw us, considering I never drive this car. "He probably just looked inside," she said. "This is why I need front tint," I replied. She quickly reacted with great conviction. "No, you do not!" A little taken back, I realized she thought I was referencing my running joke, which I actually was not. In my Crucial P5 Plus 1TB review last year, I pointed out several actual key reasons for tint, including the looks, its ability to keep the sun out, heat rejection in the summer, and the privacy it gives. I ended up poking fun at how not everything is about her. As it can be seen, there are fundamental reasons for things, and there are gag claims. In the wireless networking world, mesh routers have been around for quite a number of years. Its fundamental purpose is to improve Wi-Fi coverage to dead zones, but I find every one to be a gag claim as I have never seen one that is actually good due to the performance-limiting wireless backhaul. Most mesh routers support Ethernet backhaul, but not everyone has built-in CAT5e or better cabling in their house. ASUS thinks they have addressed this with ZenWiFi AX Hybrid, which, instead of relying on a weak wireless interface, uses a 1300 Mbps HomePlug AV2 power line connection for backhaul. Will this be the first mesh router I am testing that actually makes sense? Read on to find out!

Our review unit of the ASUS ZenWiFi AX Hybrid mesh Wi-Fi router came in a large brown corrugated cardboard box from the company's American offices in Newark, California, USA. Everything arrived in excellent condition to us here in Calgary, Alberta for our review today using the FedEx International Priority. The box also contained the ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi motherboard, which my colleague Aaron Lai and I recently reviewed.

ASUS sent us their ZenWiFi AX Hybrid router in retail packaging. The design is typical of ASUS' consumer products with a predominantly white and grey color scheme, which you can see in our photo above. In the bottom half, you will find a top three-quarters view of two ZenWiFi AX Hybrid nodes occupying some prime real estate. The product name, description, and slogan are printed above the product image. Along the right is an array of three icons providing some highlights of this product, which is its fast and stable Wi-Fi for video conferencing, 2-way shipping advance swap program, and the fact two nodes are included in the box. A Wi-Fi 6 logo is placed at the top left corner, while a note on its 5500 sqft coverage is at the bottom left. The remaining sides of the box has more feature highlights and specifications.

Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the ASUS ZenWiFi AX Hybrid, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Network Standard
IEEE 802.11a
IEEE 802.11b
IEEE 802.11g
WiFi 4 (802.11n)
WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
HomePlug AV2 MIMO
IEEE 1901
IEEE 1905.1
IEEE 802.3ab
IEEE 802.3z

Product Segment
AX1800 ultimate AX performance: 1201 Mbps + 574 Mbps
AV1300 HomePlug AV2 MIMO: 1300 Mbps

AX technology

Data Rate
802.11a: up to 54 Mbps
802.11b: up to 11 Mbps
802.11g: up to 54 Mbps
WiFi 4 (802.11n): up to 300 Mbps
WiFi 4 (802.11n) TurboQAM: up to 400 Mbps
WiFi 5 (802.11ac): up to 867 Mbps
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) (2.4GHz): up to 574 Mbps
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) (5GHz): up to 1201 Mbps

Internal antenna x 4

64bit 1.2 GHz quad-core processor

256 MB Flash
512 MB RAM

Boosts speed
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access)
Beamforming: standard-based and universal
1024-QAM high data rate
20/40/80 MHz bandwidth

Operating Frequency
2.4G Hz / 5 GHz

RJ45 for Gigabit BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 2
USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 1
AC Power Jack with PLC x 1

WPS/PLC Combo Button, Reset Button

LED Indicator
Power & Status Combo LED x 1

Power Supply
AC Input: 110V~240V (50~60Hz)

Package content
‧ Router (XP4)
‧ RJ45 Ethernet cable
‧ Power core
‧ Quick start guide
‧ Warranty Card

Content may vary in different regions and packages.

AiMesh: Yes
Primary AiMesh router: Yes
AiMesh node: Yes

Router APP
ASUS Router APP: Yes

Game Boost/acceleration: No
WTFast: No

Support Alexa skill: Yes

Support IFTTT: No

AiProtection: AiProtection Pro
Router Security Assessment: Yes
Malicious site blocking: Yes
Two-Way IPS: Yes
Infected Device Prevention and Blocking: Yes

Parental Control
Parental Control: Yes
Parental Control Customized Internet schedule: Yes
Maximum Parental Control profile: Max 16 rules

Traffic Control
Adaptive QoS: Yes
Bandwidth Monitor: Yes
Bandwidth limiter: Yes
Maximum Bandwidth limiter rule: Max 32 rules
Traditional QoS: Yes
Traffic Monitor: Yes
Real-time traffic monitor: Yes
Wired Traffic Monitor: Yes
Wireless Traffic Monitor: Yes
Traffic Analyzer: Yes
Website history: Yes

IPv6: Yes
Wi-Fi Encryption: WPA3-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise, WPS support
Guest Network: Yes
Guest Network Connection time limit: Yes
WPS: Yes
Wi-Fi MAC address filter: Yes
Wireless scheduler: Yes
Airtime fairness: Yes
RADIUS Server: Yes
Universal beamforming: Yes
Explicit beamforming: Yes

Internet connection Type: PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Automatic IP, Static IP
Dual WAN: Yes
WAN Aggregation: No
3G/4G LTE dongle: Yes
Android tethering: Yes
Port forwarding: Yes
Port triggering: Yes
DMZ: Yes
Let's Encrypt: Yes

DHCP Server: Yes
IGMP snooping: Yes
LAN Link Aggregation: No
Manually assign IP address: Yes
Maximum manually assign IP address rule: Max 64 rules

VPN Client L2PT: Yes
VPN Client OVPN: Yes
VPN Client PPTP: Yes
VPN Server IPSec: Yes
VPN Server OVPN: Yes
VPN Server PPTP: Yes
VPN Fusion: No
Instant Guard: Yes

USB application
File System: FS_Tuxera_HFS+, FS_Tuxera_NTFS, FS_Tuxera_vFAT, FS_ext2, FS_ext3, FS_ext4
HDD hibernation: Yes
Safely Remove disk: Yes
AiCloud: Yes
Download master: Yes
AiDisk: Yes
Media Server: Yes
Time Machine: Yes
Samba Server: Yes
FTP Server: Yes
Shared Folder privileges: Yes

Operating mode: Wireless router mode, Range extender mode, Access point mode, Media bridge mode
Free OS upgrade: Yes
Firewall: Yes
Wake on LAN (WOL): Yes
SSH: Yes
Configuration backup and restore: Yes
Diagnosis tools: Yes
Feedback system: Yes
System log: Yes

Opening the flap-top box reveals a cardboard tray that contains everything neatly organized in their own sections. Out of the box, you will receive two ZenWiFi AX Hybrid nodes, CAT5e network cable, two power cables, warranty information, and various quick start guides.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Configuration and User Interface
4. Performance Tests
5. Conclusion