Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: One-minute review

The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 won’t be for everyone. Most of us are just beginning to understand Wi-Fi 6. It’s still worth considering though, as we’re already seeing a steady stream of new routers and mesh wifi systems that have adopted the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard.

It’s tempting to overlook these new routers – especially given their current high prices – but with new products like the upcoming iPhone 14 expected to use Wi-Fi 6E before the end of this year, it’s clear that 6E will become a mainstream Wi-Fi. technology in a few months.

Mind you, even if you’re an avid early adopter, a high-end mesh system like the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 could still be what the Sisters Of Mercy once called “a minor case of over bombing.” In addition to supporting tri-band Wi-Fi 6E, the ET12 offers a top speed of 11 Gbps – or 10.756 Gbps to be exact, but router manufacturers always like to round things up – while the two-piece mesh system that we discuss here is able to cover areas up to 6000 square meters.

That means it’s great for larger homes with half a dozen or more bedrooms, as well as businesses with large offices or public places like hotels or restaurants that need good Wi-Fi.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Price and Availability

  • How much is it? $479 / £399 for a single unit
  • Where is it available? now available
  • Where can you get it? Available in US, UK and Australia

Specification Sheet

Wi-Fi: tri-band Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz/5.0GHz/6.0GHz)
Wi-Fi Speed: 11.0 Gbps
Connectivity: 1x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet (WAN), 1x 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet (LAN), 2x Gigabit Ethernet LAN Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core
Processor: Broadcom, quad core 2.0GHz
Memory: 1GB
Storage: 256MB Flash
Dimensions (per router): 240 x 115 x 115mm
Weight (per router): 0.75 kg

State-of-the-art Wi-Fi 6E mesh networks don’t come cheap, and the ZenWifi Pro ET12 is one of the most expensive mesh systems we’ve ever seen. But, somewhat oddly for a mesh Wi-Fi system, you can only buy the ET12 as a single unit from Asus’s website.

A single ET12 router costs $479 from Asus in the US and should be able to cover an area of ​​up to 3,000 square feet, so a single router on its own should certainly be suitable for most small and medium-sized homes. If you need more extensive Wi-Fi coverage for larger homes or buildings, then you’ll need to search online to buy a 2-pack from third-party retailers for around $900.

That option doesn’t appear to be available in the UK, with the ET12 currently only selling as a single unit for £399. However, the ET12 hasn’t reached Australia yet, with just the older XT12 model – that plain old Wi-Fi 6 supports – available as a two-pack for AU$1300.

Credit: Future/Cliff Joseph

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: design and features

  • Big and bulky
  • High-end Wi-Fi 6 performance
  • Wide WiFi coverage

Most routers fall firmly into the “boring black box” category, but while the ET12 mesh routers are still black, they’re certainly not boring. The two routers are 240mm high and 155mm wide and deep, with the top portion of each router being a glossy, clear Perspex section that houses the router’s eight antennas, along with some color-changing status lights. Each router also has a separate power supply and cable, so you’ll need quite a bit of space to set everything up.

As mentioned, the ET12 supports tri-band Wi-Fi 6E with a top speed of 11 Gbps, but it also offers high-quality wired connectivity, with a pair of 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports – one for your broadband connection, and one for connecting. from a device, such as a gaming laptop or console that needs a fast, lag-free connection. There are also two additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections. Strangely, though, these expensive routers don’t also have at least one USB port for connecting a network storage device or printer.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 on a wooden desk

Credit: Future/Cliff Joseph

Getting started is a bit daunting – and not helped by the fact that Asus’ quick start guide is cunningly hidden in a secret panel at the bottom of the box. The guide also assumes that you already understand terms like “AiMesh router” – when in fact AiMesh is a proprietary Asus technology that few people will have heard of.

Fortunately, the Asus Router app intervenes, prompting you to enable Bluetooth on your iOS or Android mobile device. This will allow the app to connect to the two routers and set up your new mesh network.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 software

Credit: Future/Cliff Joseph

But, as we’ve seen with Asus routers before, the new network is initially unprotected, so you should proceed with adding your security password as soon as possible. This is where things get a little more complicated, as the ET12 can transmit a Wi-Fi signal on three separate frequencies – 2.4GHz, 5.0GHz, and 6.0GHz. The Router app leaves it up to you to decide whether you want three separate networks on these frequencies, or whether you want to combine the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands into one network, for use with devices that only Support Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi. fi 6.

Newbies who haven’t used a mesh Wi-Fi system before may be a little confused here, so the Asus app and manual can provide a bit more step-by-step guidance for those who aren’t network experts. The rest of the app, however, is pretty basic, offering features like quality of service (QoS) to prioritize tasks like gaming or streaming video, and good parental controls with filters to block material inappropriate for children.

The price of the routers also includes Asus’ AiProtection Pro security features that can monitor your network to prevent attacks from malicious websites or downloaded files.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 on a wooden desk

Credit: Future/Cliff Joseph

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Performance

  • Top class WiFi performance
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet WAN/LAN
  • Extended WiFi coverage

BENCHMARKS

Ookla Speed ​​Test – 2.4GHz
Within 5ft, no obstacles:
100Mbps/11Mbps
Within 30ft, three partitions: 100Mbps/11Mbps

20 GB Steam Download – 2.4 GHz
Within 5ft, no obstacles:
12.5MB/s
Within 30ft, three partitions: 12.5MB/s

Ookla Speed ​​Test – 5.0 GHz
Within 5ft, no obstacles:
100Mbps/11Mbps
Within 30ft, three partitions: 100Mbps/11Mbps

20 GB Steam Download – 5.0 GHz
Within 5ft, no obstacles:
12.5MB/s
Within 30ft, three partitions: 12.5MB/s

The ET12’s Wi-Fi 6E performance is more than adequate for most small and medium-sized homes. In fact, it’s probably overkill for most domestic broadband services unless you’re lucky enough to have a superfast fiber connection.

We hooked up the first ET12 unit to our regular broadband router, then placed the second ET12 in a hallway near a back office in our building, where poor WiFi has always forced us to rely on PowerLine adapters to get a more reliable wired one. provide connection.

As we expected, devices close to the first ET12 easily recorded speeds of 100 Mbps with the Ookla speed test and 12.5 MB/s for Steam downloads, the maximum speeds offered by our office broadband service. However, the second ET12 allowed us to maintain those maximum speeds even in the hard-to-reach back office, and even when using the slowest 2.4GHz band, eliminating our Wi-Fi dead spot without any hassle.

Of course, not everyone needs that kind of speed or broad coverage for broadband at home, but if you have a larger home or office that needs the fastest possible WiFi, the ET12 is hard to beat.

Should I buy the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12?

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 on a wooden desk

Credit: Future/Cliff Joseph

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

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Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Report Card

Where the It is very expensive and best suited for very large homes or public buildings that require a wide range of Wi-Fi. 3.5 / 5
Design Asus could offer more help to beginners, but the ET12 stands out for its fast Wi-Fi and wired connectivity. 4 / 5
Performance The Wi-Fi 6E support provides top speed along with the new 6.0GHz frequency for the latest smartphones and PCs. 5 / 5
Total The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is a great larger home and public buildings that take advantage of the performance and range of this mesh WiFi. 4 / 5

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