The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is the company’s fastest mesh Wi-Fi system and one of only a few AXE11000 mesh options. These nodes have a nice design that doesn’t go overboard with lighting or mirrored surfaces. The antennas are visible in an acrylic box on the top of the node. I like how these nodes look, and I was even happier to find that their performance matches the confidence with which they were made.
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Description
If you were around when 5GHz routers with what we called “Wireless N” came out, you may remember that they were sold as a long-term solution to the crowded 2.4GHz bands. That made the range a little bit smaller because higher frequencies have a harder time getting through walls. Even so, 5GHz was worth it because of the faster speeds. The same idea is behind Wi-Fi 6E with 6GHz, but users have to give up even more coverage. This means that WI-Fi 6E and mesh systems are a perfect match.
As a backhaul for the mesh, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 can use either 5GHz, 6GHz, or ethernet. This means you can set it up in a way that works best for your home, or you can just leave it on auto and forget about it. This mesh kit has two nodes that are about 9.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide. The top few inches are made of acrylic and hold eight antennas that are outside.
Four of the antennas at the corners stand straight up, while the other four are at 45-degree angles. This should give good coverage in homes with more than one floor and on the same floor as the router. With 10 antennas listed, it’s safe to assume that ASUS put the 2.4GHz antennas inside the main housing.
Pros and Cons
- Top-tier specs
- Easy app control
- Tri-band support
- Overkill for most users
- Not many 6GHz clients
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Specifications
|Wi-Fi||tri-band Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz/5.0GHz/6.0GHz)|
|Dimensions||240 x 115 x 115mm|
Design and Features
Most routers are just boring black boxes, but the ET12 mesh routers are definitely not boring, even though they are still black. The two routers are 240mm tall, 155mm wide, and 155mm deep. The top of each router is made of clear, shiny perspex that holds the router’s eight antennae and some status lights that change color. Each router has its own power supply unit and cable, so you’ll need a lot of space to set everything up.
As mentioned, the ET12 supports tri-band Wi-Fi 6E with a top speed of 11Gbps. It also offers top-of-the-line wired connectivity with a pair of 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one for your broadband connection and one for a device like a gaming laptop or console that needs a fast, lag-free connection.
There are also two additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections as well. It’s strange, though, that these expensive routers don’t also have at least one USB port for connecting a network storage device or printer. Starting up is a little scary, and the fact that Asus’ Quickstart guide is hidden in a secret panel at the bottom of the box doesn’t help.
The guide also assumes that you know what terms like “AiMesh router” mean, even though AiMesh is an Asus technology that few people have heard of. The Asus Router app helps here by telling you to turn on Bluetooth on your iOS or Android phone. This makes it possible for the app to connect to both routers and help you set up your new mesh network.
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: Performance
In terms of speed, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 was able to use my iPhone 14 Pro’s 600Mbps down and 100Mbps up Internet connection to its fullest on 5GHz WiFi. My Pixel 7 Pro could also connect to the 6GHz band, but as expected, the speeds were the same. Since the WAN supports 2.5G, there is a lot of room to grow, even if your ISP supports connections of a gigabit or more.
When it came to Wi-Fi, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 was about as good as the best wireless router we have tried. I put one unit upstairs and the other one downstairs, and they could both talk to each other over the 6GHz band. If you moved them farther, the mesh would connect over the 5GHz band.
Remember that the range of the 6GHz band is shorter than that of the 5GHz band, just as the range of the 5GHz band is shorter than that of the 2.4GHz band. I used wired mesh to test the range so that I could use all bands. The ET12 was able to reach almost all of my home, but, like most routers we have tested, it couldn’t keep a steady connection to my doorbell, which is at my gate. I would have needed an extra unit, which was to be expected, to do that.
Price and availability
The price for two nodes of the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is $899.99, and the box says that it can cover up to 6,000 square feet. The two nodes are the same, and you can buy a single node from ASUS’s web store for $479.99 if you need a little more coverage than the two give you. The two-pack is sold by many stores, including Amazon, Best Buy, Micro Center, B&H, and more.
One thing to keep in mind is that 6GHz is not available in every country, so availability will vary. ZenWiFi ET12 seems to be sold in Europe, including the United Kingdom. You can buy it in the United States and Canada.
This router is mostly packed in cardboard, and the inside of the lid has a small piece of foam. Since this foam is easy to take off, it should be easy to recycle in most places. I’d like to see more companies get rid of plastic from their packaging like eero has, but Asus’ packaging should be easy to get rid of in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. This router was tested with firmware version 18.104.22.168.386_48823, which at the time of testing in August 2022 was the most recent update.
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 costs AED 2,499, which is a lot, but that’s to be expected since you’re getting the best Wi-Fi has to offer. Aside from having great hardware, Asus also supports almost all of the software features that a power user could want for home networking.
Which Asus Wi-Fi 6 router is best mesh?
ASUS ZenWiFi is the best choice for a WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E mesh system because it gives you the best connectivity, reliability, and coverage in your whole home.
Do ASUS routers last?
Asus is a great example of a company that stands behind its routers for a long time. Even though it came out almost a decade ago, the RT-AC68U is still being supported.