Asus RT-AC88U Review

Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router with MU-MIMO, AiProtection network security by Trend Micro, AiMesh for mesh WiFi system, and WTFast game accelerator.

The RT-AC88U is Asus’ most recent genuine dual-band router, and it is also the greatest router the business has had to offer up to this point in its history.

With eight Gigabit LAN ports and compatibility for Dual-WAN (one of the LAN ports may be turned into a WAN port), it is the world’s first home router with this capability (two of the LAN ports can be combined into a single superfast connection.)

It also includes a powerful and entertaining Web interface, a plethora of good network-monitoring tools, a built-in VPN server, and the ability to secure your home network from viruses and intruders. Overall, it is an amazing value.

ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO

In addition, the router supports MU-MIMO and has features that are specifically designed for gamers. Overall, the RT-AC88U is one of the most feature-rich routers I’ve ever encountered.

In terms of performance, the router outperformed the competition in my testing, offering fast Wi-Fi data rates, a large range, and a steady wireless signal. If you’re looking for a high-performance home router that makes few compromises, the RT-AC88U is an excellent choice. However, at $280, it is not a cheap option.

If you have the resources, though, it is well worth the effort — particularly for consumers with high expectations. (The pricing for the United Kingdom and Australia has not yet been revealed, although the US price is approximately £185 and AU$390, respectively, at current currency rates.)

It’s also a better deal than other, more costly routers such as the Netgear X8 AC5300 or even Asus’ own AC5300 router, the RT-AC5300, which are all in the same price range. Each of these comes with a hefty price tag, but they don’t provide nearly as much value.

If you only want a basic home network, though, you might consider some of the other alternatives on this list of the best 802.11ac routers, which may better suit your requirements and budget.

You can also check out our best wifi router list here

Design

The RT-AC88U is a well-designed wireless router. A matte-black casing with a beveled top and angular sides makes up the device’s overall dimensions (HWD) of 3.3 by 11.8 by 7.4 inches (HWD). The LED indicators for power, wireless activity for both bands, Internet (WAN) connectivity, Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), LAN connectivity, and USB port activity are located on the front of the router.

A Broadcom dual-core CPU running at 1.4GHz and Broadcom’s NitroQAM technology allow it to offer combined throughput of up to 3,167Mbps (theoretical) in a small form factor (1,000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 2,167Mbps on the 5GHz band).

There are four removable external antennas (two at the rear and one on each side) and a plethora of connections around the back, including a staggering eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, a WAN port, and a power jack.

The front of the device has a single USB 2.0 port and a Power jack. A power button, a reset button, and a WPS button are all located on the back of the device. A USB 3.0 port is situated on the front of the router, hidden behind a tiny panel, which is a handy location.

Asus’s RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Router is similar in that it provides a slew of administrative capabilities that are available through a user-friendly Web interface and a mobile application.

Network Map, as well as tabs for accessing the Guest Network page and the Adaptive Quality of Service (QoS) page, which allows you to prioritize bandwidth for certain apps, are all found on the General settings page.

The software also comes with a bandwidth meter, which shows the upload and download rates. The Traffic Analyzer page displays a graph of daily client use as well as a graph of incoming and outgoing data packets for clients connected to wireless and wired networks.

Connection to WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN) is made possible through the Game Boost website, which serves as both a client and a server solution that utilizes proprietary technologies to speed online games.

MU-MIMO

In order to properly handle Wi-Fi bandwidth, the RT-AC88U features Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology, which is built into the device.

The Qualcomm MU/EFX 802.11AC Wi-Fi chip was the first to provide a multi-user multi-point (MU-MIMO). The RT-AC88U, on the other hand, is equipped with the world’s first Broadcom Wi-Fi chip to enable this technology.

Prior to the introduction of MU-MIMO, all 802.11ac routers treated all Wi-Fi clients in the same way, regardless of the strength of their Wi-Fi signal. Because a router generally has more Wi-Fi power than a client, the router is rarely used to its maximum potential in a given wireless connection.

This results in the vast majority of Wi-Fi connections being inefficient since the router wastes its power on lower-tier clients and hence does not have enough power to maintain connection quality for many clients.

MIMO (multiple simultaneous transmissions) is a Wi-Fi technology that allows several devices to connect at the same time with various Wi-Fi tiers, allowing them to connect at the speed that each client requires.

In other words, having an MU-MIMO Wi-Fi network is the same as having numerous wireless routers with various Wi-Fi tiers installed on the same network.

In order for numerous devices to connect at the same time without interfering with one another’s performance, each of these “routers” is devoted to a certain tier of devices in the network.

Clients and routers alike have embraced multiuser multiple-input/multiple-output (MU-MIMO), and it is expected that most, if not all, new Wi-Fi equipment will support this technology by the end of next year.

Performance

The Asus RT-AC88U is a breeze to set up, owing to the company’s user-friendly Setup Wizard. When you connect the router to your PC and to the Internet and turn it on, the Web-based console instantly starts and provides you the option of configuring the router using the wizard or manually. Manual configuration is the default setting.

Your Internet connection will be tested by the wizard, and your router will be configured as a DHCP, Dynamic IP, Static IP, or PPPoE router, depending on the connection type you choose. You’ll then be asked to name each SSID (one for each band) and establish a network encryption key for each band, which you’ll do. After you click Finish, you’ll be ready to go.

A high-performance gaming router such as the Asus RT-AC88U delivers precisely what you paid for, and that includes blazing fast speed. When it comes to sheer speed and latency, this router is up there with the best of them in terms of performance.

Because of MU-MIMO (Multiple-user, multiple input/multiple output) compatibility, you may have a dozen devices all sucking up bandwidth at the same time without any of them interfering with one another’s performance.

In reality, we decided to put this theory to the test and see how it worked. It took us about an hour to set up a desktop computer, a MacBook Pro, a smart TV, a tablet computer, and a Windows laptop, all of which were capable of streaming 4K video simultaneously.

Even in this tense situation, we did not experience any buffering and were able to enjoy uninterrupted video viewing. Asus RT-AC88U will be able to keep up with a large number of gamers and tech enthusiasts if you live with them, as we do, and will not break a sweat.

Because of this, you won’t likely be able to obtain a strong signal over a big house or office with the Asus RT-AC88U Gaming Router, which is less than other mesh routers.

However, that is not what this router is intended to do, and in our average-sized home, we had no issues with the router’s range at all. Despite the fact that the router was installed in the living room downstairs, we were able to obtain reliable internet speeds in the upstairs bedroom.

Gaming

We wanted to put the Asus RT-gaming AC88U’s skills to the test right away after setting it up — as it is truly better for gaming, or was it simply a marketing ploy?

At the very least, it performs far better than the typical router when gaming. We used a wireless connection to play Overwatch while simultaneously viewing Netflix on three separate devices. We didn’t see a single uptick in latency.

The adaptive Quality of Service (QoS) feature that we discussed previously was able to keep latency to a bare minimum even while we were utilizing a considerable quantity of data at the same time.

However, what is even more unexpected is that this prioritizing of QoS did not interfere with the seamless operation of the streams themselves. In addition to being excellent for gamers wanting to reduce their downtime, the Asus RT-AC88U will be excellent for everyone in the home as a whole.

You can completely remove disagreements over bandwidth – everyone can do whatever they need to accomplish without interfering with the activities of other members of the household.

Specifications

Model Name

  • RT-AC88U

Network Standard

  • IEEE 802.11a
  • IEEE 802.11b
  • IEEE 802.11g
  • WiFi 4 (802.11n)
  • WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
  • IPv4
  • IPv6

Data Rate

  • 802.11a : up to 54 Mbps
  • 802.11b : up to 11 Mbps
  • 802.11g : up to 54 Mbps
  • WiFi 4 (802.11n) : up to 600 Mbps
  • 802.11ac : up to 1734 Mbps
  • 1024QAM (2.4GHz) : up to 1000 Mbps
  • 1024QAM (5GHz) : up to 2167 Mbps

Antenna

External antenna x 4

Transmit/Receive

  • MIMO technology
  • 2.4 GHz 4 x 4
  • 5GHz 4×4

Processor

  • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor

Memory

  • 128 MB Flash, 516 MB RAM

Boosts speed

  • Beamforming: standard-based and universal
  • 1024-QAM high data rate
  • 20/40/80 MHz bandwidth

Operating Frequency

  • 2.4G Hz / 5 GHz

Ports

  • RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 8
  • USB 2.0 x 1
  • USB 3.0 x 1
  • SFP+?10 Gigabit port
  • SFP+ 10 Gigabit port

Button

WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Button, Wireless on/off Button, LED on/off Button

LED Indicator

  • Power x 1
  • Wi-Fi x 2
  • WAN x 1
  • USB x 2
  • WPS x 1
  • LAN x 1
  • Dual color Link/ Act LED

Power Supply

  • AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz)
  • DC Output : 19 V with max. 2.37 A current

Product Weight (g)

  • 950 g
  • 110g

AiMesh

  • AiMesh : Yes
  • Primary AiMesh router : Yes
  • AiMesh node : Yes

Router APP

  • ASUS Router APP : Yes

Game

  • Game Boost/acceleration : Yes
  • WTFast : Yes

Alexa

  • Support Alexa skil : Yes

IFTTT

  • Support IFTTT : Yes

AiProtection

  • AiProtection : AiProtection Pro
  • Router Security Assessment : Yes
  • Malicious site blocking : Yes
  • Two-Way IPS : Yes
  • Infected Device Prevention and Blocking ; Yes

Parental Control

  • Parental Control : Yes
  • Parental Control Customized Internet schedule : Yes

Traffic Control

  • Adaptive QoS : Yes
  • Bandwidth Monitor : Yes
  • Bandwidth limiter : Yes
  • Maximum Bandwidth limiter rule : 32
  • Traditional QoS : Yes
  • Maximum Traditional QoS rule : 32
  • Traffic Monitor : Yes
  • Real-time traffic monitor : Yes
  • Wired Traffic Monitor : Yes
  • Wireless Traffic Monitor : Yes
  • Traffic Analyzer : Yes
  • Traffic analysis period : Daily, Weekly, Monthly
  • Website history : Yes

Wireless

  • IPv6 : Yes
  • MU-MIMO : Yes
  • Wi-Fi Encryption : Open system, WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise
  • UTF-8 SSID : Yes
  • Guest Network : Yes
  • Maximum Guest Network rule : 2.4GHz x3, 5GHz x3
  • Guest Network Encryption : Open system, WPA/WPA2-Personal
  • WPS : Yes
  • Wi-Fi MAC address filter : Yes
  • Maximum MAC filters : 64
  • Wireless scheduler : Yes
  • Airtime fairness : Yes
  • RADIUS Server : Yes
  • Universal beamforming : Yes
  • Explicit beamforming : Yes
  • IGMP snooping : Yes

WAN

  • Internet connection Type : PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Automatic IP, Static IP
  • Dual WAN : Yes
  • WAN Aggregation : No
  • 3G/4G LTE dongle : Yes
  • Android tethering : Yes
  • Port forwarding : Yes
  • Maximum port forwarding rule : 64
  • Port triggering : Yes
  • Maximum port triggering rule : 32
  • DMZ : Yes
  • DDNS : Yes
  • NAT Passthrough : PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, RTSP, H.323, SIP Passthrough,PPPoE relay

LAN

  • DHCP Server : Yes
  • IPTV : Yes
  • LAN Link Aggregation : Yes
  • Manually assign IP address : Yes
  • Maximum manually assign IP address rule : 64

VPN

  • VPN Client L2PT : Yes
  • VPN Client OVPN : Yes
  • VPN Client PPTP : Yes
  • VPN Server IPSec : Yes
  • VPN Server OVPN : Yes
  • VPN Server PPTP : Yes

USB application

  • File System : HFS+, NTFS, vFAT, ext2, ext3, ext4
  • 3G/4G LTE dongle : Yes
  • HDD hibernation : Yes
  • Safely Remove disk : Yes
  • AiCloud : Yes
  • Download master : Yes
  • AiDisk : Yes
  • Media Server : Yes
  • Time Machine : Yes
  • Samba Server : Yes
  • FTP Server : Yes
  • Shared Folder privileges : Yes

Conclusion

This Dual-Band Router from Asus provides extremely high throughput performance as well as multi-client MIMO data streaming and a comprehensive range of features. It performed admirably in our 2.4GHz and 5GHz performance tests, but its read/write file transfer scores were on the lower end of the spectrum.

Additionally, it provides extensive administration tools in a user-friendly interface, including gamer-friendly quality of service settings, parental controls, sophisticated file sharing, and mobile cloud services, among others.

This router, which has eight LAN ports and two USB ports, is a good choice for customers who wish to connect a large number of peripherals and wired clients, such as game consoles, NAS devices, printers, and home-automation hubs, to a single network. All of these contribute to it being named our Editors’ Choice for high-end routers.

Aside from the fact that it is a wireless mesh system, which has its own set of issues, this router provides some of the finest performance you could ever ask for. If you want to get the most out of your broadband connection, this is a fantastic option for you.

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