ASUS has set foot in the networking product market for quite a while now and from what we can see, they’ve been doing surprisingly well despite being a newcomer in the industry during that period of time.
Just today, ASUS announces the availability of its new RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Dual-band Gigabit Router in Malaysia, aimed to provide a better gaming experience for gamers who needs that smooth and low-latency connection for their games.
We’re lucky enough to get our hands on the RT-AC88U before the launch and we’ve already had a pretty good time using it for the past few weeks. With no further adieu, let’s check out what we’ve been experiencing with the RT-AC88U.
(The RT-AC88U will retail at RM1,799 as according to ASUS Malaysia)
The front of the box, you’ll find some highlighted features of the RT-AC88U such as 5400 square feet coverage, AiProtection, Gaming optimized, 8 x Gigabit port, 3-year warranty coverage etc.
At the back of the box, you’ll find some of the prominent features briefly described, as well as a labeled diagram of the I/O at the back of the RT-AC88U.
A brief specification of the RT-AC88U, as well as the package contents, can be found on the side of the box.
Other than the router itself, you’ll find these accessories included in the box – user’s guide, 4 x wireless antenna, driver CD, power cord, power brick, Warranty notice card, Ethernet cable.
A fierce looking beast, the RT-AC88U is. How often do you come across a network product that looks this badass? Any bigger than it could be mistaken for am ROG notebook save for the antennas.
At the front-left of the RT-AC88U, you’ll find a USB 3.0 port that allows you to attach your USB storage devices, which then can be shared throughout the entire network.
The LED button allows you to toggle on/off the indicator LED while the WiFi button allows you to disable WiFi feature if you don’t feel like having this feature at your place – take that you WiFi thief!
Each indicator LED represents the features of each icon label so that you know which feature isn’t functioning so you can perform a quick recovery from disaster in the shortest mean time.
A powerful network device is always associated with heat dissipation issue, something that doesn’t apply to the RT-AC88U. The meshed base allows plenty amount of air to flow through the internal of the RT-AC88U so it’s very unlikely for you to experience an overheating issue with it.
The back of the RT-AC88U is straightforward and functional.
Starting from the left is the reset button that restores everything to factory default, WPS button makes connections between a router and wireless devices faster and easier, another USB 2.0 port in case if you need just another one to share data on your USB storage device.
The mainstream router with 4 Ethernet port isn’t enough to satisfy your needs? How about 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports?
Last but not least, the Ethernet port that connects to your modem or optical network terminal, the DC-in port to power up the RT-AC88U and the power switch.
ASUSWRT GUI Overview
The enhanced ASUSWRT graphical user interface gives you easy access to the 30-second, 3-step web-based installation process. It’s also where you can configure AiCloud 2.0 and all advanced options. ASUSWRT is web-based, so it doesn’t need a separate app, or restrict what you can change via mobile devices — you get full access to everything, from any device that can run a web browser.
A setup wizard is an essential tool for network devices nowadays to make setup experience as easy as possible for the end users.
The network map allows you to manage the basic necessity, monitor resource usage with ease.
On a mainstream WiFi router, sharing your network with guest poses a security threat to your local network. That can be eliminated on the RT-AC88U as it allows you to configure limited access to your network for guests so they can access to the internet but not your local network.
An additional security feature from ASUS’ partnering company, Trend Micro that further enhances the security of your local network with features such as security assessment, malicious sites blocking, vulnerability protection and infected device prevention and blocking.
Adaptive QoS optimizes inbound and outbound bandwidth on both wired and wireless connections. Applications and tasks can be prioritized easily using drag-and-drop presets for gaming, media streaming, VoIP, web browsing and file transfers.
Prioritizing the traffic for your games, connect to gamer private network (GPN) powered by WTFast to the best route for your game packets to minimize that latency which makes you goes crazy. Everything for your needs, as a gamer.
Traffic Analyzer gives you an at-a-glance view of what’s happening on your network on a daily, weekly or monthly time scale. It lets you see immediately how much bandwidth each user, device or application has used, helping you to reduce bottlenecks in your internet connection. It’s also great for parents who want to keep an eye on their children’s internet usage, or for small businesses who need to monitor employees’ internet activity.
Need to manage your USB devices connected to the RT-AC88U? Be it USB storage devices, network printer server, 3G/4G USB dongle, ASUS got it covered with the USB Applications.
ASUS AiCloud keeps you connected to your data wherever and whenever you have an internet connection. It links your home network and online web storage services, giving you access to your files using the AiCloud mobile app on your iOS, Android smartphones or via a personalized browser URL. You can share photos instantly with services like Facebook, Flickr and Dropbox directly from the AiCloud app. It’s your expandable and unlimited personal cloud — and it’s completely free!
Everything related to the wireless configuration can be done right here – the wireless band, WPS configuration, wireless MAC filter, RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service) Setting which provides an extra layer of security when you choose WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, or Radius with 802.1x as your Authentication Mode can be configured here.
LAN (Local Area Network) settings such as the IP of the RT-AC88U, DHCP server configuration, network route configuration, IPTV and switch control can be done here.
There are a few awesome features which you can configure here at the WAN settings; Dual WAN for backup network access that allows you to switch to the secondary connection if your primary connection went down, Virtual Server / Port Forwarding for routing the traffic to the correct machine if you’re hosting a dedicated server for your games, NAT passthrough for Virtual Private Network (VPN) to pass through the router.
IPV6 isn’t that commonly used just yet, but here’s where you can configure for it if you’re already into the cult of IPV6.
Already a parent yourself? You want to keep your children away from all the harmful content on the internet! Url filter, keyword filter network services filter, IPV6 firewall, pretty much all the security filters you need is available here on the RT-AC88U.
Configure the operation mode – wireless router mode, AP mode, media bridge, perform the firmware upgrade, backup/restore/save your desired configuration all here at the administration settings.
Need more information to troubleshoot network connection issues but the current router you own isn’t capable of capturing the details you need? The RT-AC88U comes with advanced log features that keep details of general event, DHCP leases, wireless connection event, routing table, connection and port forwarding
Last but not least, the network tools. Network analysis feature such as the commonly used ping command can be executed here, net stat to display active connection and ports, as well as activating your machine over LAN can be performed via the network tools.
Connection Speed Test
We’ve executed numbers of internet connection speed test via www.speedtest.net and glad to report that we have no problem in hitting the promised connection speed that we’ve subscribed from TM Unifi.
We did a ping test on both TM modem and the RT-AC88U and here’s the result. The minor fluctuation between 4ms to 9ms is observed on the TM modem, whilst the RT-AC88U stays low at 3ms to 4ms.
Signal Strength Test
Signal strength comparison (left: on PC, right: on a mobile phone).
Copying Files From / To NAS
We’ve done a quick test on copying movie files from our PC to our Network Attached Storage (NAS) and the other way round, both yields a result of a constant transfer speed of 11 MB/s.
There’s nothing much we can complain on the RT-AC88U except for the price itself and in fact, the RT-AC88U did a pretty good job in overall. No compromise in terms of the internet connection speed, excellent wireless signal strength as well as coverage, Significant improvement in latency during ping test, decent file transfer speed over the network.The ASUS RT-AC88U is one heck of a router that packs a lot of powerful features that you’ll normally find on an expensive enthusiast grade router. It’s not necessary for one to be a networking enthusiast to use these features, as ASUS have already made easier with its simplified GUI ASUWRT. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a gamer or a networking guru, you can grab yourself one of these if you really need the features for your personal use / business – would totally recommend this router for who have a large Home/Business networking as with this router you can control your network with ease. Well, given that you have that extra RM1,799 to spend of course.
- Easy to setup
- Dual band support
- Excellent wireless signal strength
- Excellent features
- Looks great
- Able to support more devices connected via wireless connection
- USB storage sharing that act like a NAS for quick and easy file sharing
- Hefty price tag