Asus RT-AC3100 Review

AC3100 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router with double gaming boost, AiMesh for mesh wifi system and MU-MIMO

The Asus RT-AC88U is a dual-band 802.11ac router with an enormous feature collection and an equally huge price. It uses Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology to serve multiple Wi-Fi clients simultaneously without sacrificing bandwidth. However, each client must include an MU-MIMO compatible network adapter to be able to make use of the technology. The router has numerous Gigabit LAN ports and multiple USB ports. The RT-AC88U offers a wealth of management options in a thoughtfully designed interface and delivers blazing throughput on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It’s our top pick for high-end routers.

Asus RT-AC3100

Design and Features

The RT-AC88U is a nice-looking router. It measures 3.3 by 11.8 by 7.4 inches (HWD) and uses a matte-black housing, angular sides, and with a beveled top. The leading of the router houses LED indicators for power, wireless activity for both bands, Internet (WAN) connectivity, Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), LAN connectivity, and USB port activity. It utilizes a Broadcom 1.4GHz dual-core processor and Broadcom’s NitroQAM technology to provide up to 3,167Mbps of combined (theoretical) throughput (1,000Mbps on the two 2.4GHz bands, and 2,167Mbps on the 5GHz band).

There are four removable external antennas (two at the rear and one on each side) and a variety of ports around the back, including an impressive eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, a WAN port, and a Power jack. In the trunk, you’ll also look for a Power button, a reset button, and a WPS button. A USB 3.0 port is conveniently on the front of the router, behind a little panel.

Much like the Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Router, the RT-AC88U offers an abundance of management features, which are accessible with a user-friendly Web interface and a mobile app. THE OVERALL settings page contains a Network Map and tabs for accessing the Guest Network page and the Adaptive Quality of Service (QoS) page, which allows you to prioritize bandwidth for specific applications. It also contains a bandwidth monitor that presents upload and download speeds. The Traffic Analyzer page offers a graph of daily client usage and charts incoming and outgoing data packets for wireless and wired network clients. THE OVERALL GAME Boost page is definitely where you head to hook up to the WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN), a client/server solution that uses proprietary software to accelerate online gameplay.

Even though the complete red/black = gaming thing is a bit overdone right now, I actually just like the design of the router since it just looks not the same as typical, and I fancy its angular shape too. Plus, most routers are solid black typically, therefore the flashes of red make it stick out a little bit. The heatsinks inside are red too, and you may catch just a glimpse of these through the router’s grill, which can be sort of cool. It’s a bit wider than most routers at almost 12 inches across and eight inches deep, but it’s not so tall so it’s not as big as the D-Link DIR-890L/R. If you like the specs of this router but hate the red, it also sells a version without any red whatsoever for $20 less, though it has four less LAN ports, and it’s called the RT-AC3100.

As a dual-band router, it has both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity, however, the savvier amongst you may have noticed that it is called an AC3100 router, whereas most AC routers with four antennae are simply just AC1900, so what’s the offer? The deal may be the RT-AC88U runs on the Broadcom chipset that provides an attribute called NitroQAM, that allows for higher bandwidth than simply regular AC so long as you’re partnering it with a compatible adapter like this one from Asus. It boots the full total bandwidth available from 1732Mb/s to 2,167Mb/s, which is a twenty-five percent boost.

Verdict

The RT-AC88U can be an impressive router, nonetheless, it is a bit expensive for what’s essentially a dual-band AC1900 router. It is rather a fast general though and provides great admin software both on the desktop and for cellular devices, and I love that it has gaming-specific Quality of Service too. It’s a slick package. The actual fact that has eight LAN ports is interesting, but I doubt most home users would ever need that lots of so that it seems like a waste of money. If you pick one up won’t be disappointed, but there are less expensive options with similar performance and features.

With the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router, you get extremely fast throughput performance, simultaneous multi-client MU-MIMO data streaming, and a killer feature set. It turned in superb scores on our 2.4GHz and 5GHz throughput tests, but its read/write file-transfer scores were middle of the street. In addition, it offers extensive management features in a user-friendly interface, including gamer-friendly QoS settings, parental controls, advanced file sharing, and mobile cloud services. With eight LAN ports and two USB ports, this router is a superb choice for users who need for connecting multiple peripherals and wired clients, such as gaming consoles, NAS devices, printers, and home-automation hubs. All this earns it our Editors’ Choice for high-end routers.

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