ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12

You need a home Wi-Fi network that has complete coverage of your living or working space. We’ve all experienced the frustration of having a weak signal in the farthest corner of our homes. And the larger the house or office, the bigger the coverage challenge is. One possible solution is to use a mesh network to achieve the coverage you want. The ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 is a mesh network router that proposes to be your optimal coverage solution. Does it rise to the challenge? Here’s what I found.

What is a mesh network?

First, let’s go into the specifics of what a mesh network is. A mesh network uses two routers or more connected to each other to provide a wider area of wireless coverage. One router is the primary router that connects to your modem. The second, and all additional routers, connect to the primary router (and each other) wirelessly to form the mesh network. If you decide to expand the Wi-Fi coverage in your home or office, you can add another compatible router to the network to add range. Each router also has Ethernet ports for wired connections to nearby devices, so you can have direct connection throughout the home.

The ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 mesh system provides a coverage of 6000 square feet using its AIMesh technology. AIMesh automatically adjusts your mesh network for optimal coverage and speed for each node.

Setting up the ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12

I installed the primary router on the main floor of my home, and the second router node on the top floor on the opposite end of my house. This gave me dependable Wi-Fi coverage in every room.

The ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 uses the ASUS router app as its primary installation and administration method. You can use a web browser to access the admin page as well. Both approaches were easy to understand and use. I found the app was great for most quick changes, but the web portal was better for more complicated configuration changes. The app is well suited for the needs of the average home user.

ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 router features

AiProtection Pro

In an effort to keep your home network and data safe, ASUS offers a lifetime free subscription to its AiProtection Pro security suite.  The AiProtection Pro has several different internet security features like the Intrusion Prevention system (IPS), infected device detection and blocking, and parental controls.

Wi-Fi 6E

You might be a little confused by the Wi-Fi designations. I know I was. That confusion was caused by a change in how Wi-Fi standards were named. We used to call the standards by their formal name, like 802.11n, but this was switched to a simpler numbering system, like Wi-Fi 4. So technically, Wi-Fi 6E is 802.11ax.

Wi-Fi 6E uses the 6GHz band unlike Wi-Fi 6, which uses the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz frequency bands. So what’s the benefit of 6E? Well, since 6E is a newly accessible frequency band, there are few devices currently using it and it is faster than earlier Wi-Fi standards. With 6E you get a faster connection without the traffic congestion that happens on the other bands. In an environment with a high number of wireless devices, the congested bands can see some slow down in upload and download speeds.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi 6E has less signal resiliency as you get farther from it. It’s fast when you are within line of sight, but structures in the way will interfere with the signal strength. In that case, your device would switch over to Wi-Fi 5. In my testing with the ET12 routers, I saw the same general results. The speed of the Wi-Fi 6E connection was great when I was in line of sight of either node, but the connection strength weakened when I was upstairs in the opposite end of the house.

12 data streams (11000 mbps)

The ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 has a total of 12 data streams available, providing combined rates of up to 11,000 megabits per second (mbps). This amount of bandwidth means more devices can connect and send data through separate channels without network congestion impacting performance. You’ll see the benefits of the larger number of data streams if you have a lot of internet-connected devices in your home. I have a fair amount of congestion on my home network, so the ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12’s bandwidth addresses that problem.

Dual 2.5G LAN and WAN ports

ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12

There are times where you need the certainty of a wired data connection. In those situations, you also want the full speed that your router can offer. The ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 has a 2.5 gigabit per second (gbps) WAN port and a 2.5 gbps LAN ethernet port to enable faster connection to your modem. It also has two standard 1 gbps LAN ports. As an added feature, you can use link aggregation to pair the two 1G LAN ports together. That means the data stream is balanced across the two ports. And even if one port fails, the connection will be maintained. You probably won’t need that level of redundancy for a home environment, but in a tech-focused business network, or when live streaming, it can be a lifesaver.

Instant Guard app

The Instant Guard app is an interesting addition to the ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12’s capabilities. It allows you to use your home router as a VPN server when you’re on other networks, as long as you’ve set up your home router with a public WAN IP address. You’ll use this app to protect your data when using public, unsecured Wi-Fi networks. I found the Instant Guard app easy to set up on my phone and laptop, and it worked well when I took a trip down to the local coffee shop that has free Wi-Fi. I’d caution against doing any heavy downloading or streaming while using this setup, as you’ll see a bit of slowdown.

Final thoughts

I was impressed with the easy set-up and configuration process of the ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 mesh network. The ASUS router app is intuitive and convenient for most day to day configuration changes you’ll need to do and the overall coverage was as advertised. In terms of Wi-Fi 6E coverage, I did notice the signal losing some strength when I was several rooms away from the router, out of line of sight. It was especially noticeable when there were concrete walls between the router and my laptop. However, as long as I was within line of sight of a node, the Wi-Fi 6E preformed amazingly. Overall, the ASUS ZenWifi Pro ET12 mesh router system is an excellent solution for providing Wi-Fi network coverage in a large space.

Chris Loblaw
Chris is a novelist, avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and proud dad of a 13-year-old video game master.