ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Review: a next-gen mesh WiFi

In the early days, if you are looking for a router with the best specs in the market, ASUS is typically the brand to go to. But, the age of mesh WiFi is here. Each year, we’re expecting a mesh WiFi system that can truly provide a faster speed. That’s where the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 comes in.

For a really long time, ASUS focus their efforts on gaming routers such as the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000.  Now, the new ZenWiFi Pro XT12 powered by a Tri-Band WiFi 6 AX11000 wireless technology is the first ASUS mesh WiFi with better specifications than their gaming routers.

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 will retail at RM3888 for the 2-Pack model in Malaysia. It’s the first product in the market with the latest 2.0Ghz Quad-Core CPU from Broadcom despite the ongoing chipset shortage. ASUS says it can provide up to 6000 sq ft of WiFi coverage for bigger house or condominium.

All the antennas are visible in the acrylic casing

That’s not all as the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 also comes with a totally new WiFi 6 radio that can support up to 11000Mbps. It has the latest RangeBoost Plus technology and 10 antennas for the ultimate coverage and performance. For the first time, ASUS also included dual 2.5G Ethernet ports on their product.

I’m happy to say that the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 delivers fantastic performance for both productivity and entertainment. It’s the fastest and best mesh WiFi system you can buy in the market right now and it can handle whatever you throw at it without breaking a sweat.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Mesh Performance

Great performance even when connected to the mesh node

I’ll start by talking about the mesh WiFi performance since that’s probably what you care the most if you clicked on this review. Fear not: it’s extremely good. ASUS really give it the best hardware they can source in the market and it does result in a really good WiFi performance.

On short distance, I can get over 800Mbps easily on the ZenWiFi Pro XT12. That’s nothing to brag off considering most WiFi 6 routers can support over 800Mbps over short-distance. 

Guest what? I can reach over 800Mbps when connected to the mesh node after 2 walls from the main unit. That’s really impressive! The new RangeBoost Plus technology is truly ground-breaking with class-leading performance. I find it hard to believe but the performance is replicable on every speed test.

On the ultimate test where I have multiple conference calls running at home while streaming multiple 4K HDR videos on YouTube with all ASUSWRT features enabled, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 managed to saturate my entire Gigabit Internet connection with all devices connected to the WiFi network.

That’s how powerful is the 2.0GHz Quad Core CPU on the ZenWiFi XT12 Pro. It remains really consistent and reliable even on the most demanding situations, ensuring a smooth and seamless WiFi connection to all connected devices. ASUS optimized the product really well to handle even the most challenging situation.

And, since the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 comes with dual 2.5G Ethernet ports. This will be great for those having a 2 Gigabit Internet connection. You can even use 2.5G Ethernet backhaul to the mesh node for an even better performance and the ZenWiFi Pro support that as well.

Roaming is greatly improved since ASUS added 802.11k/v roaming assist on their AiMesh products. All my devices have no issue switching between the coverage of the mesh points as I walk around at home. The switching is almost unnoticeable without my WiFi calls dropping as I move around. 

While it’s not as fast as 802.11r fast roaming, the difference is very minimal in reality. That’s because 802.11r fast roaming does not support WPA3 encryption and ASUS prefers better security rather than minimal gain in roaming. Not to mention that most laptops do not support 802.11r fast roaming as well.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Design

RM3888 for a pair of ZenWiFi Pro XT12

ASUS squeezed all the components of the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 into a boxy, rectangular casing. It looks more like a gaming console (hint: Xbox Seriex X) rather than a wireless router. I like the design as it looks premium with high quality materials and solid build quality like all ASUS routers.

I also like the fact that the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is passively cooled with multiple chunk of heatsink. This means I will not deal with noise or dust issues few years down the road. The system is barely warm to the touch even after a week of usage and it’s totally acceptable.

However, the port selection is rather limited here. ASUS removed the USB ports but I that’s a fair tradeoff for the dual 2.5G Ethernet WAN/LAN ports. I am certainly nitpicking here but I wish there can be more 2 additional LAN ports on this product considering that it is designed for power users.

Firmware and Features

Like all routers sold by ASUS, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 runs the signature ASUSWRT software. ASUS optimized the software really well to take full advantage of the powerful hardware. The web interface is not the most user-friendly in the market but it offers very extensive customizations and advanced settings. 

However, I find the ASUS Router app to be the complete opposite. It’s very easy to use and very user-friendly. Thus, I recommend to just use the ASUS Router app and configure the system. Most of the key features of the mesh WiFi system can be accessed easily by just using the app.

The app will show information about connected devices including their signal strength, current speed and more. You can also access advanced features such as AiProtection Pro parental control, AdaptiveQoS, guest WiFi and change some settings like DNS address easily on the ASUS Router app.

The star of the show is AiProtection Pro with free lifetime update for the network security and parental control suite. The network security feature is powered by TrendMicro and it’s really robust. It will detect harmful websites and prevent all connected devices from accesing them.

The AdaptiveQoS feature is really helpful for work from home these days. It will optimize the network for the best performance based on the selected profile. For example, the work profile willl ensure a smooth connection for work related apps such as Zoom calls and Microsoft Team. 

Customization also one of the strengths of the ZenWiFi XT12 Pro. This is probably the only mesh WiFi system on the market where it lets you to manually assign your device to be always connected to a particular mesh node. It’s really useful for IoT devices such as wireless CCTV cameras that prefer a consistent connection.

Closing Thoughts

ZenWiFi Pro XT12

The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is the best mesh WiFi you can buy in the market right now. It has the one of the fastest processor and the fastest WiFi 6 radio in the market, resulting in a really fast performance that will be hard to beat. Coupled with really good AiMesh software, the end result is a very refined and premium product.

At RM3888, it’s a huge bill to swallow. However, the peace of mind and the amazing performance pays for itself. It is the only mesh WiFi system in the market that can realistically deliver Gigabit speed on the mesh node at practical distance, that’s truly a class-leading product. Well done ASUS.

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12

9.8

Tubi Rating

pros

  • Class-leading WiFi performance with RangeBoost Plus technology
  • Lightning fast 2.0Ghz Quad-Core CPU
  • Free lifetime update on AiProtection Pro security software

cons

  • No USB port
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802.11r officially supports WPA3 so I really don’t know what asus is playing at here. It’s probably just laziness.

does this have 160mhz channel widths enabled in the fronthaul ? My current set up – GT-AX11000 + 4 XT8 nodes only has 160mhz enabled at the GT-AX11000 hub (and wireless backhaul) – but at the XT8 nodes it’s 80mhz

Is this an official limitation? Using GT-ax11000 as the main unit + XT12 does seem to prove it, but would really appreciate is you can provide a source

Hi Black Tubi, can this XT12 work with Zen XT8 as mesh Wi-Fi using the ASUS router app?

Thanks and anything to take note when setting up as a unifi router as I am a XT8 user now

2 units XT12 can be just added as a back haul with the XT8 as the main unit connecting to the unifi modem or is it better performance to set XT12 as the main unit?

Do I need to reset the existing 2 units XT8 or just add on this 2 XT12 to the ASUS router app using the existing network name?

That means I will need to reset the 2 old XT8 so that they can join in as mesh or back haul Ethernet router?

And I will configure the XT12 as the main router and it will be a new network for my house

Ortie Thanks so much Black tubi, look forward for the new xt12..

Which port is reserve for the unifi TV, Is it LAN1 port?

and the last 2.5G Ethernet port is open for all usage?

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