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Asus is turning its old routers into mesh Wi-Fi networks

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The AiMesh feature adds mesh networking support with a firmware update

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Mesh routers like Eero, Netgear’s Orbi, and Google Wifi are getting all the hype these days, but replacing your whole network with a bunch of new devices can be kind of expensive. Asus has a good solution with its new AiMesh system, which lets you repurpose your existing Asus routers as part of a mesh network.

For now, the mesh support is coming to a few routers today in beta, including the ASUS RT-AC68U, RT-AC1900P, RT-AC86U, RT-AC5300, and the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300. with additional support planned for the RT-AC88U and RT-AC3100 later this year.

The setup looks pretty simple, too. Once your main router is set up and updated to the latest firmware, just take your other routers that are going to be the mesh nodes, plug them in near the main router, and run a factory reset, after which they’ll automatically pop up in the Asus Router app to add to your mesh.

You’ll still need to place the routers in optimal positions on your own. For now Asus lacks the tools like those Google offers in helping to make sure your nodes aren’t too far apart. But considering that it’s a free update for existing routers, AiMesh still seems like a great idea for users looking to make the most of the hardware they already own.

Presumably, Asus’ new 2018 lineup of routers from CES this year will support AiMesh, too, which could help convince users to upgrade to the updated models.