Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: next-gen Wi-Fi 6E mesh networking

One of the best mesh networking kits around, if you can afford it

T3 Platinum Award
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12
(Image credit: Asus)
T3 Verdict

The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is a high level Wi-Fi 6E mesh system at a high level price. There's no doubt that it impresses in use, but whether it's worth the investment is going to depend on how good or bad the performance of your current home wireless network is.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Top-tier specs

  • +

    Easy app control

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    Tri-band support

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    It'll cost you

  • -

    Setup can drag

  • -

    Rather bulky

The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is an instant contender for our best mesh networking devices list, offering some next-gen specs and performance in a dramatically designed exterior. You get two units as standard, and you can add a third if you need some extra coverage.

Wi-Fi 6E is the latest and greatest Wi-Fi standard you can get in consumer devices at the moment, and simply put it means faster speeds for more devices across a wider area (although it obviously can't boost the speed of the broadband coming into your home).

Add in a comprehensive companion app that makes network configuration very straightforward, and you can see the appeal of this mesh system from Asus. It comes at a price, but it's a price that you might consider paying for the benefits that it brings.

In our in-depth Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review we'll cover everything you need to know about this mesh network system, from how easy it is to set up to the sort of difference it might make to your home network. It could be the perfect Wi-Fi upgrade for you.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: price and availability

Available from 1st May 2022, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 as a twin-pack costs £749.99 in the UK and $899 in the US. 

It's a big price, no doubt, but this is a high-end package and if you want the latest and greatest Wi-Fi 6E speeds then it's not an unusual cost in this market right now.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: design and setup

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12

(Image credit: Future)

If you like your home networking kit to look like it's been borrowed from the set of the latest Star Wars movie, then you'll love the look of the two units that make up the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12. 

Each one packs 10 Wi-Fi antennas inside, so they're pretty large – 115mm square by 241mm tall, so about the size of a shop-bought loaf of bread – so make sure you've got enough space at home. Oh, and that you're happy with the aesthetics of these units!

Have a look around at the other Wi-Fi 6E equipment on the market with the same sort of power, and you'll notice that devices do need to be rather large to fit everything in. 

Both Asus units in this two-pack are the same, with a WAN connection and three Ethernet ports for wiring up devices like games consoles, and it's fair to say they look better when they're powered on: the subtle Asus logo on the top doubles up as a status light.

The process of setting up mesh equipment like this is usually the same no matter what manufacturer you're dealing with. One unit plugs straight into your router, the other unit goes somewhere else in your home, and they both talk to each other to blanket all of your rooms in high-speed Wi-Fi. There's usually an app to guide you through everything as well, which is the case here too.

Getting the kit up and running isn't difficult, but you will have to wait and watch a few slowly moving progress bars before you can actually get online. We had a couple of interruptions for firmware updates, but overall the setup process is fine – even if we would like a bit more detail inside the app when it comes to where to position the second unit and when to power it on.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: features and performance

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12

(Image credit: Future)

The tech specs of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 are dazzling, starting of course with the Wi-Fi 6E support. Remember that your other devices will need to be capable of Wi-Fi 6E connectivity to get the best speeds, but older Wi-Fi standards are of course supported as well. Across the three bands offered by the unit – 2.4GHz, 5GHz and the newly introduced 6GHz – you can get speeds up to 11,000Mbps and cover more than 550 square metres, which should be more than enough for most people's needs.

We can hit you with as many technical terms as you like, because this mesh router system has them all: OFDMA, beamforming, 1024-QAM and so on. While we don't have room for a full Wi-Fi 6E explainer here, these technologies are all designed to manage bandwidth as efficiently as possible, keep as many devices online as possible, and ensure super-speedy data transfer. There's also a dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel so the units can communicate directly with each other and manage internet traffic between them.

Testing mesh routers is always tricky because your home might be completely different to ours: different dimensions, different walls, different floors, more interference, and so on. What we can report is that at our two-storey semi-detached property the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 gave us a significant speed boost (10-20 percent) in the rooms furthest away from our main router (whether that was the floor above or two rooms away on the same level) – and a good way out into the garden too.

We never noticed any problems with dropping signals or internet instability, and we didn't come across even a hint of latency either. There's no doubt that this kit is going to improve Wi-Fi coverage in the majority of homes, but whether or not it's going to improve it to the extent that it justifies its cost really depends on how your property is configured and the sort of home Wi-Fi network you've already got in place. If you already use a mesh system like we do, you might not see huge speed gains.

When it comes to the companion app, it's hard to find any faults with the way it looks or works. You can see connected devices, check on transfer speeds, configure parental controls and more. On top of that you get a free suite of security protections, including tools to fight spam and network attacks, which other manufacturers often charge a monthly fee to provide.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: price and verdict

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12

(Image credit: Future)

There's no getting around it: the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 costs a lot (it's around £749 for a twin pack on release date). Check the widgets embedded on this page for the most up-to-date pricing and you'll see you could buy plenty of other gadgets for that sort of price – even a PlayStation 5 plus change, if you can find one – so it really depends on what you're currently prioritising with your purchases.

The worse your current Wi-Fi situation is, the bigger the difference this kit will make. With Wi-Fi 6E and all the trimmings, you're definitely well protected for the future, as more and more gadgets evolve to support the standard and ever-faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Upgrading to a bit of kit like this is about more than just raw speed though. With 10 antennas in each box, you should be well covered in terms of removing dead zones and supporting dozens of devices. So if your current router or mesh network system is showing the strain from having to keep a long list of hardware online at all times, then that might be another reason to upgrade.

More and more Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E mesh networking kits are appearing on the market now, but the Asus ZenWifi Pro ET12 is clearly one of the better ones out there – both in terms of the performance and features of the units, and everything else you can do in the mobile app. It's a real future-proof winner in the world of mesh routers. 

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review: also consider

With Wi-Fi 6E being a hot new property, plenty of other big-name makers also have options. There's the Linksys Atlas Max 6E, which combines the Velop intelligent mesh technology with the power of Wi-Fi 6E to deliver superior networking. Or Netgear's Orbi Wi-Fi 6E delivers awesome performance across the board too. Neither are budget offerings, but that's par for the course in this market at the moment. 

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.