ASUS RT-AX86U WiFi 6 Gaming Router Review

/ 3 years ago

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ASUS RT-AX86U WiFi 6 Gaming Router Review

ASUS has been a provider of network gear and especially routers for quite a while. Today I’m taking a closer look at one of their newest devices, the RT-AX86U. It is an AX5700 router that utilises the latest wireless technologies.  The router doesn’t just support the latest in WiFi, it also comes with 2.5Gbps wired networking, AiMesh support, and WPA3 encryption.

The RT-AX86U Router Hardware and Connection Options

Most people won’t really think about the base hardware of a router, but it is as important as the connection options and it has to be able to handle the bandwidth of the ports and connections available. The ASUS RT-AX86U is built with a 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU and it has 1GB DDR3 memory together with 256MB flash for the operating system. That should be plenty despite the impressive bandwidth options of the RT-AX86U.

As the name suggests, the router supports the latest WiFi 6, also known as 802.11ax. This new generation of WiFi allows the router to handle up to 4805 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 861 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

While the wireless options surely are the highlight of this router, it isn’t limited to them. It also comes with some seriously great wired options. As a base, there is a 1Gbps WAN port which is quite normal; but not always enough for enthusiasts. What if you got two 1Gbps internet connections that you want to bundle into one connection? No problem! The RT-AX86U can aggregate two ports to allow up to 2Gbps throughput. On top of that, it also comes with a 2.5Gbps port which makes it easy to get those 2Gbps to a single system that doesn’t have two ports to link. Besides the WAN port and the 2.5Gbps LAN port, there are four more standard 1Gbps RJ45 ports.

Besides the LAN options, the router also comes with two USB 3.2 Gen.1 5Gbps ports (USB 3.0) for sharing portable drives or printers over the network.

The Operating System and Features

The operating system behind ASUS routers hasn’t changed much in appearance, making it easy for people familiar with the brand to get started and going in a jiff. But the functionality has changed a lot over the years and it’s better than ever before. One of the latest additions to the system is the AiMesh system which allows you to use multiple devices in a mesh setup. Not only does this allow you to use the old model you upgraded from as an extension point, it generally allows you to built better coverage in large homes.

Gamers can take advantage of the Game Boost and acceleration features while smart-home users will like the Alexa skill support. There’s no default IFTTT support though, if you were hoping for that.

Naturally, you also get all the other things you require, from AiProtection over parental control to traffic control as well as VPN client and server functionality.

The Router’s Design

ASUS routers always come with a great design, not just a square box on feet. This RT-AX86U comes with a little more simplistic design than some others we’ve seen in the past, but it is still a great looking device. The front has an aggressive look with the top mesh and red stripe at the bottom. The sides both feature buttons, but they go flush with the rest of the design. That way you only notice them when you need them and it gives the unit an overall sleek design.

Feature Highlights

  • New-generation WiFi 6 – Enjoy ultrafast speeds up to 5700 Mbps with the latest WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and 160MHz channels
  • Mobile Game Mode – Minimize lag and latency for mobile gaming with just a tap on the ASUS Router app
  • True 2 Gbps wired and wireless speeds – Aggregated 2 Gbps WAN connections, wired 2.5 Gbps port and WiFi 6
  • ASUS AiMesh support – Create a flexible, seamless whole-home mesh network with AiMesh-compatible routers
  • Commercial-grade home network security – Lifetime free ASUS AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro™, with WPA3 and advanced Parental Controls to protect your home

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