The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has been a bit of a tease.
Asus initially and quietly unveiled this Tri-band mesh system in August 2021 — together with the ZenWiFi ET12 — and told me that it would be available in the US in early 2022.
In February 2022, the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 arrived and proved in my testing to be quite formidable, especially for a wired home.
At the time, Asus said the XT12 would also be available “soon”, only to reverse course in March 2022, when it informed me it no longer had plans to sell the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 in North America. Since then, the mesh has been available in Europe and Asia.
Earlier this month, a year after the announcement, Asus reversed course once more, and now the new yet not-so-new-anymore mesh heartthrob is (almost) here. My head is still spinning as I write this.
My quick take is if you’ve been holding your breath while chewing the nails of your crossed fingers for it, this dark and shiny set of Wi-Fi 6 broadcasters is likely worth the wait.
At the $799.99 suggested price — $100 less than the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 — the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has everything to be the ultimate mesh system for a large home that’s not yet wired with network cables.
And there’s more.
Dong’s note: I first published this post on January 22, 2022, and last updated it on August 18 to confirm its availability in the US and the support for UNII-4. Check back soon for an in-depth review.
Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Non-compromising Tri-band hardware, now with UNII-4 support
One of my complaints about the ZenWiFi XT8 is that its 5GHz-1 band — the default fronthaul that serves clients — doesn’t feature the 160MHz channel width. On top of that, this band is of a 2×2 tier, so it has a theoretical ceiling speed of 1.2Gbps (12000Mbps).
- The ZenWifi Pro XT12 is a 12 stream router: 4×4 (2.4GHz) + 4×4 (5GHz-1) + 4×4 (5GHz-2).
- ZenWiFi XT8 is an 8-sream router: 2×2 (2.4GHz) + 2×2 (5GHz-1) + 4×4 (5GHz-2).
The new Pro XT12 has four streams on each band, which is currently the highest among Wi-Fi 6.
In the case of the ZenWiFi Pro XT12, there’s no need to pick and choose. The new hardware supports the top-tier 4×4 specs on all three bands. It has non-compromising specs for a traditional Tri-band broadcaster.
Most importantly, today, Asus confirmed with me that the new mesh system would also be one of its first hardware that supports the new and exciting UNII-4 portion of the 5GHz spectrum, along with its GT-AX1100 Pro. This new development makes the new mesh indeed a non-compromising Wi-Fi 6 hardware.
Among other things, the support for the venerable 160MHz band is now guaranteed, at least in the backhaul band in a fully wireless mesh configuration.
So in a ZenWiFi XT12 vs ZenWiFi XT8 real-world matchup, the former laterally encompasses the latter entirely in networking specs.
Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs ZenWiFi XT8: Hardware specifications
Like the older cousin, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is available as a single router or a 2-pack. In the latter case, you use one as the primary router, and the other will work as a satellite in an AiMesh Wi-Fi system setup.
But the similarities end there.
The XT12 comes in a different shape, looking like a square tube instead of a mini toaster.
It’s also much larger and heavier and now comes with a bit of a designer’s touch with a clear top that covers an ample fancy status light. Judging from the case of the similarly-designed ET12, the new design will definitely be a conversation starter.
|ZenWiFi Pro XT12
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
|ZenWiFi AX XT8
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
|Mesh-Ready||Yes (2-pack)||Yes (2-pack)|
|Dedicated Backhaul Band||Yes (5GHZ-2)||Yes (5GHZ-2)|
|4.53 x 9.45 x 4.53 in
(11.5 x 24.1 x 11.5 cm)
|6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
|Weight||3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)||1.56 lbs (710 g)|
|5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs|| 4 x 4 AX
Up to 4800 Mbps
|2 x 2 AX
Up to 1200 Mbps
|5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs|| 4 x 4 AX
Up to 4800 Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)
|4 x 4 AX
Up to 4800 Mbps
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs|| 4 x 4 AX
Up to 1,148 Mbps
|2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 up to 574 Mbps
|5.9 GHz band Support
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router|
|Web User Interface||Yes||Yes|
|AP Mode|| Yes
(as a router or a mesh)
(as a router or a mesh)
|USB Port||None||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|Gigabit Port||2x LAN||3 x LAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
|1x 2.5 Gbps WAN|
|Link Aggregation||Yes (WAN and LAN)||No|
|Processing Power||2.0GHz quad-core CPU,
256 MB Flash, 1GB RAM
|1.5GHz quad-core CPU,
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|Release Date||TBD 2022||January 2020|
|$799.99 (2-pack)||$450 (2-pack)
$250 (single router)
Most importantly, the XT12 now comes with two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports. As a result, it can deliver superfast speed on both the WAN and LAN sides. On top of that, it’ll also be another option to add to the existing AiMesh hardware capable of Multi-Gig wired backhaul without the help of a Multi-Gig switch.
That plus the top-tier Tri-band specs, you can safely expect the XT12 to deliver better performance than previous models.
But the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 does have one shortcoming compared to its older cousin: It has no USB port. And that can be a big downer for those looking to turn it into a mini NAS server.
That said, you can expect Asus’s core router features out of it. And just like any ZenWiFi member, it’ll work well as an AiMesh hub in a mixed hardware setup, as the primary router, or as a satellite.
There you go. The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has come to the USA for real this time.
From the look of it’s equipped to be the ultimate Wi-Fi 6 machine before Asus shifts its focus on the future hardware that supports Wi-Fi 6E or Wi-Fi 7.
Something tells me it’ll be well worth the $799.99 price tag.
I’m in the process of acquiring a set for testing. Check back soon for more. In the meantime, below is the rating and review link of the similarly designed ZenWiFi Pro ET12.
Wi-Fi 6E-ready, extensive Wi-Fi coverage with top performance in specific setups with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in certain setups
Dual Multi-Gig pots with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, flexible port configurations
Excellent performance and coverage as a standalone router
Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization
AiMesh 2.0 full support, helpful mobile app, no login account required
Bulky, no USB, only four network ports
Fluctuating performance as a fully wireless mesh due to the lack of a dedicated backhaul band
Expensive, not wall-mountable