Asus’ forte, in most facets of expertise, is usually doing issues to the intense. Routers aren’t any totally different: the terrifying Eight-antenna ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, for instance, is a gaming router jammed to the gills with radios that appears much less like a little bit of wi-fi tech and extra just like the plinth for a ritual sacrifice to some darkish lord. The RT-AC86U is rather less overstated, one which leans extra in the direction of the widespread man than the Mountain Dew-addled mouse-slinger.
Not that it is missing on the within – certainly, there is a plethora of strong on provide – or within the bombast division, with Asus loudly claiming that the RT-AC86U can break the legal guidelines of arithmetic and provide 120% protection. 120% of what, precisely? There’s vary boosting on board, so possibly that is the reply. There’s additionally a little bit of automated gaming acceleration. It is a router with lots of promise. However can it ship?
Wi-fi Connectivity: Twin band AC2900 802.11a/g/ac/n MU-MIMO (N750, AC2167)
Processor: ARM dual-core @ 1.8GHz
Reminiscence: 512MB RAM
Storage: 256MB NAND flash
Ports: 1x Gigabit WAN, 4x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 1x USB three.zero, 1x USB 2.zero
Dimensions: Eight.6 x 6.three x three.three in (220 x 160 x 83.three mm)
Value and availability
We have checked out just a few gaming-focused routers not too long ago, and the RT-AC86U – which could appear slightly dear at £219 – undercuts the likes of the £299 Linksys WRT32X slightly properly. Store round and also you might be able to discover it for £199 which, in our ebook, places it in direct competitors with the WRT32X’s elder sibling, the venerable and highly effective Linksys WRT3200. That does not have the identical gamer sheen or bodily poise because the RT-AC86U, nevertheless it’s highly effective sufficient for almost each residence.
Within the US, you may discover the RT-AC86U for $199, which may be very cheap, however in Australia you are round AU$449 – that is approaching the value of full-on mesh Wi-Fi setups like a three-node Google Wifi. You may be on this for blistering pace, but when ultra-wide protection is your concern your cash is healthier spent in a special course.
Design and setup
It isn’t fairly as intimidating because the GT-AC5300, however there’s one thing inherently fearsome in regards to the RT-AC86U’s red-eyed angular indignant bee look. It is constructed to face up, with Gigabit ethernet ports and a WAN enter on the rear together with a USB 2 and a super-fast USB three.1 port. It isn’t probably the most versatile of designs – it has to face, and the place of the cables means there is not any technique to wall mount it.
Handily, Asus has used that design house to incorporate a bunch of buttons on the case for entry to options that are usually tucked away in firmware – you’ll be able to briefly disable the unit’s Wi-Fi radios – solely two, sadly, with no extra 5GHz house for congestion reduction – with a facet button, and change off its lights with a button on the rear.
This is how the Asus RT-AC86U carried out in our go well with of benchmark assessments. All assessments carried out in a three-floor terrace surrounded by usually busy Wi-Fi channels, on a 200+Mbps connection:
Ookla Velocity Take a look at 5GHz (Obtain | Add):
Inside 5 ft/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 189.6 | 12.zero Mbps
Inside 20 ft/6 meters; one flooring, two partitions: 131.1 | 11.zero Mbps
Ookla Velocity Take a look at 2.4GHz (Obtain | Add):
Inside 5 ft/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 97.zero | 11.9 Mbps
Inside 20 ft/6 meters; one flooring, two partitions: 84.7 | 10.9 Mbps
1.5GB Steam obtain 5GHz (peak pace):
Inside 5 ft/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 9.1 MB/s
Inside 20 ft/6 meters; one flooring, two partitions: 6.9 MB/s
1.5GB Steam obtain 2.4GHz (peak pace):
Inside 5 ft/1.52 meters; no obstructions: Eight.2 MB/s
Inside 20 ft/6 meters; one flooring, two partitions: 7.2 MB/s
Firmware-wise, Asus’ conventional complexity is all right here, with an absolute cavalcade of customisation options packed in, however – and that is essential – truly plugging the factor in ends in a five-minute setup course of that will not scare anybody away. And when you’re baffled by lots of the options, there’s tooltips within the firmware that specify precisely what they’re all about.
We’ve got to presume Asus’ firmware/ mixture is a factor of genius. Positive, there is a meagre twin band radio on provide, however this unit completely ripped by our assessments, and community unfold was completely effective. Not essentially 120% of different routers, although: in our check surroundings (yours might differ, such is the interplay of partitions and Wi-Fi indicators) its efficiency and unfold was instantly akin to the Linksys WRT32X, a way more costly router.
Media prioritisation, when activated, appears on level and we observed no discernible distinction in gaming efficiency between this and the marginally cheaper Linksys WRT3200AC, although as ever the outcomes are going to rely on the visitors in your house, your particular person web connection, and the pace of your mind and mouse.
Our pings stayed strong, and we did not discover any extra lag than ordinary – we’re assured that Asus’ router will dwell as much as your expectations when you’re decided to sport wirelessly. Not that try to be, after all; prime networking efficiency nonetheless comes from Ethernet, and the RT-AC86U is as slick and seamless as every other router in that division.
It is a competent, speedy router with a posh firmware made extra penetrable by smart user-friendly design and a fast setup course of.
Within the gaming bracket it isn’t overly costly, and regardless of working solely twin radios it pulls out spectacular pace and protection, backing up Asus’ advertising and marketing bombast.
Plus we just like the little further characteristic disabling buttons on the case – it is a small factor, nevertheless it’s the little touches that depend.
The aggressive design of the case, and its rigid kind issue, will not be for everybody, and for all its tooltips the extent of Asus’ firmware might be method overblown for many.
And whereas the UK and US costs are very cheap, the markup in Australia is a bit a lot.
We began out sniffing at its seems, and got here out gawping at its efficiency. For its worth, and we undoubtedly recommend shopping for on the decrease mark if yow will discover it, the Asus RT-AC86U cooks up prime wi-fi efficiency from a gamer-friendly recipe.
Its efficiency places a few of its extra opponents to disgrace, so if you need a sturdy gaming router whereas retaining to a decrease price range, this can be a nice selection.