ASUS Slips Out A New Firmware For The ZenWiFi XT8 Four Days Before Christmas….. That’s Odd

I got pinged by a reader while I was dealing with a client this morning. I couldn’t look into it then, but when I got home I did. When I logged into my ZenWifi XT8 mesh WiFi system I say that an update was available. I clicked on it and saw this:

I also checked the ASUS website and didn’t see anything on this firmware. That was odd because ASUS usually updates the website with new firmware releases pretty quickly. Unless this slipped out by accident which I have seen a couple of times. In that case, ASUS usually releases a newer firmware to replace it. The other theory that I have is that ASUS felt that they had to roll out this firmware four days before Christmas because this firmware fix couldn’t wait until after the holidays. I point that out because companies don’t typically roll out stuff like this a week or two before Christmas due to not having staff on hand to answer phone calls or fix something if it goes off the rails. Making this an unusual release.

Since I have told you not to upgrade in the past due to serious issues with their firmware, as well as telling you when it was safe to upgrade, I decided to install it and report back to you my early impressions. And I also will follow up with you in a week’s time with longer term impressions. My upgrade process for ASUS routers is as follows:

  • Log into the router using a computer and a web browser
  • Backup the configuration using these instructions
  • Update the firmware.
  • After updating I do a factory reset of the router using these instructions
  • Using a computer and a web browser, connect to the router and using the advanced options in the setup wizard, upload the backup of the configuration that I saved in the first step.

I do this because I have found that simply upgrading to the latest ASUS firmware can create problems. For example, one firmware upgrade broke HomeKit for almost a day until I figured out that doing factory reset it followed by setting it up from scratch was the fastest and best way to resolve the issue. Since then, this has been my upgrade process and it has never failed me.

After walking through those steps I was back online and I started doing some testing. Right away I noticed that TimeMachine backups were way faster from all the Macs in the home. I also noted that when I had to do a VPN connection to fix something for a client, that was way faster as well. The reason why I put the words “way faster” in bold is because it was truly much faster than what I had been used to. I tried to run Speed Tests from my iPhone 14 Pro and didn’t find a difference in terms of WiFi speed. So my best guess is that besides what little is in the release notes, ASUS must have done something to make device to router connections faster. Other than that, I have noted no stability issues like I have seen previously. Nor have I noted any other improvements.

I’ll be running this for about a week and I will report back as it takes about that long before any serious issues become apparent. Also, if release notes do appear, I’ll be sure to link them here.

UPDATE 12/22/2022: ASUS just posted release notes for this firmware update on their website. It has more details than the screenshot above:

So these release notes explained why I am seeing the better VPN performance. But it doesn’t explain the improved WiFi performance that I am seeing. In terms of my observations, it’s the same as what I reported above. It seem stable and reliable thus far.

UPDATE #2: I have an update on this firmware here.

One Response to “ASUS Slips Out A New Firmware For The ZenWiFi XT8 Four Days Before Christmas….. That’s Odd”

  1. […] promised a follow up to the odd decision by ASUS to release a new firmware for their ZenWiFi XT8 mesh router just before Christmas. My experience has been […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: