ASUS DSL-AC88U AC3100 Modem Router Review

/ 3 years ago

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A Closer Look at the Features

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)

The reason that the ASUS PCE-AC88U is so fast on its two wireless bands is the thanks to the use of 1024QAM technology. The technology works with both analogue and digital signals where it conveys multiple signals into a single stream by changing the amplitudes of the carrier waves. The two carrier waves of the same frequency, usually sinusoids, are out of phase with each other by 90° and are thus called quadrature carriers or quadrature components — hence the name of the scheme.

As with all technologies, both ends have to support it. If your wireless receiver doesn’t support it, then you’ll still be able to get the normal 802.11ac speeds up to 1734 Mbps and 802.11n up to 600 Mbps and up to 800 Mbps with TurboQAM. Older 802.11a/b/g legacy support is part of the package too, like it is with all routers.

ASUS DSL-AC88U Photo view1 top angle

G.Fast DSL Technology

G.Fast is the latest DSL technology, and it brings a large performance increase. However, the technology does come with some restrictions such as the distance from your home to the connection point. Where ADSL2 allowed a distance up to 5km and VDSL allowed up to 1K, G.Fast’s maximum distance is 500 metres. That requires new infrastructure and more access points. The best results are with a distance of 100m or less, and this is where the technology can deliver a speed up to 1Gbps.

It’s worth noting that the speeds are combined values of both the uplink and downlink abilities. So if you’re dreaming of 1Gbps/1Gbps DSL connections, then you’ll be disappointed. Still, a combined speed of up to 1Gbps and the ASUS DSL-AC88U’s abilities to deliver up to 900Mbps won’t let you down. Getting a router with this feature is a future-proof choice.

The technology isn’t completely new as such. It was initially demonstrated in 2013, and we saw the first chipsets with it in 2014. Commercial hardware then became available in 2015, and the first deployments started in 2016. One of the to use this was Swisscom who rolled out the system in 2016 after a four-year project phase.

ASUS DSL-AC88U Photo view1 rear angle

The ASUSWRT Operating System/Firmware

ASUS network equipment has come a long way over the years, and all the devices all have one thing in common, the user interface. ASUS network equipment owners will notice the familiar looking interface called ASUSWRT. A complete solution that has most of the features you’ll want.

We’ve seen the same user interface in wireless range extenders and similar devices, and it makes it quick to navigate for those familiar with it. If you’re new to ASUSWRT, then you don’t need to worry either. It’s intuitive and filled with help and guides for all the basic functions. It features a simple 3-step installation process and packs a lot of robust features.

The available features depend a little on the product, but the DSL-AC88U is a high-end device, and it has it all. You get a traffic analyser and manager, firewall and VPN, Parental Control, USB sharing and WAN failover, as well as a media server and a download client. We’ll take a closer look at it all a bit further into the review.

ASUS DSL-AC88U SS 00 Init dashboard

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