Asus RT-AC88U (AC3100) Review
The Asus RT AC88U router is a powerful router for gamers as it gets its power from a 1.4GHz processor, handling all the features like MU-MIMO, beamforming, Adaptive QoS feels so easier for it. On top of that, the super-easy setup process and mobile application support with a free AiProtection security plan, the Asus rt-ac88u seems worth every penny
We all know how Asus has marked its presence every now and then in the gaming industry, and it always leaves other brands stunned. Online gaming and eSports are a big thing now and are only going to get bigger in the coming time. Even if we keep the competitive scenario aside, you can not enjoy the online multiplayer games at your home unless you have a good internet connection. It basically involves several steps such as finding a good ISP, then choosing an appropriate plan, and lastly, a capable and powerful router. Well, we assume you have already nailed it at finding the best ISP and choosing an ideal internet plan. We would like to help you out with the last step.
Thus, this article is solely going to be meant for gamers and other people who demand their internet connection to be fast. Asus has introduced a pretty good gaming router in the name of Asus RT-AC88U. To be honest, we had a pretty good experience with this one while testing. Asus has taken a great step by including a powerful 1.4 GHz dual-core processor in this extremely aesthetic looking Asus RT AC88U router. Moreover, this 802.11ac router has plenty of advanced features that will provide you with the advantage of staying a step ahead of your opponents. You will find detailed information about all those features in this Asus RT-AC88U review ahead. So, make sure to read the article until the very end to see if the Asus rt-ac88u is worth your money or not.
Asus RT-AC88U Review
|Wi-Fi Technology||Beamforming Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
|Number of Bands||Dual-band (1000Mbps at 2.4GHz and 2167Mbps at 5GHz)|
|Coverage||Up to 5000 sq. ft.|
|Speed||Up to 3167 Mbps|
|Wireless Encryption||WPA2 wireless security protocols|
|USB Ports||1 x USB 3.0 Port, 1 x USB 2.0 Port|
|Ethernet Ports||8 Gigabit Ethernet ports|
- Low latency online gaming
- Negligible Packet loss
- Reliable build quality with a modern design
- Unrivalled coverage
- Ample amount of Ethernet ports
- 4×4 Antennas with AiRadar Beamforming technology
- No additional fee for Asus AiProtection plan
- A little expensive
- Takes a lot of space on the desk
Coming over to the features of the Asus RT AC88U router, Asus has shown a brilliant piece of craft on this dedicated gaming router. Specifically, if you want to have a gaming experience that is not ruined by ping spikes, packet loss, or anything of that sort, this one can help you achieve that. Of course, it has good Wi-Fi speeds and other features, but there is also some additional stuff that you will not find on any ordinary router in the market. So, let’s discuss those features one by one and see if it suits your gaming demands.
Starting with the design of this Asus RT AC88U router, it is massive in size and quite bulky for our likings as the dimensions are 11.8 x 7.4 x 3.3 inches. But, from a gamer’s point of view, its looks are quite appealing, and it showcases its powerful nature pretty well. If you compare the design to any other ordinary router, you will definitely say that it comes from the transformers family. On the very top, you can see aggressively placed Asus branding with a vent for maintaining the airflow. A similar vent is given at the front as well. There are a total of 4 antennas that look great because of those red accents.
One major thing about the antennas is that they are detachable, which helps a lot at the time of shifting places. In fact, once you remove the antennas, it looks more like an Asus Predator laptop instead of a router. Moving to the backside, Asus knows gaming is done better on wired connections. Thus, you get to see 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports that will be bliss for LAN parties. Apart from that, if you wish to connect any USB device such as a printer or a hard drive. There is one USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port on the Asus rt-ac88u router for all such purposes.
2. Powerful Processor
As we just mentioned about those air vents, it seems much required for this router as it boasts a powerful 1.4 GigaHertz Dual-core processor inside the beautiful outer shell. Since all the functioning of the Asus RT AC88U router is on the processor’s shoulders, we tried to crank it up to its full potential to see how good it can perform. According to the results, it hit speeds of almost up to 90-100 Mbps while reading USB devices. As for the WAN LAN throughput, it is marked to reach up to 1.8 Gbps speed which is more than sufficient for a smooth gaming session.
If we keep the gaming aspect aside and think of it as a normal home router, it is definitely an overkill. It works wonderfully with any device you connect it to such as computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles, etc. The Adaptive QoS is there to make sure each device’s bandwidth demands get fulfilled without causing any interference. In a nutshell, it is a great competition to TP-Link AX11000 and Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC4000 as it is equipped with 512 MB DDR3 memory and 128MB of flash storage as well. Thus, handling your daily connection needs is just a piece of cake for the Asus RT AC88U router.
3. MU-MIMO technology
The 802.11ac routers are not actually a new thing, but the enhancements seen after the implication of MU-MIMO technology has changed the scene entirely. Something similar can be seen with the Asus AC88U as well. Usually, with ordinary routers, most of the bandwidth is allocated to the devices according to their order of connection. This way, a huge portion of a router’s total potential remains unused. However, the Asus-RT AC88U works on a Broadcom chip that allows it to take advantage of features like MU-MIMO to use the Wi-Fi bandwidth efficiently.
In case you have to deal with multiple devices, the MU-MIMO technology makes sure that an equal amount of bandwidth is allocated to all the devices. In this way, if you connect 5 devices at once, all the devices will use the connection the same way without any kind of interruptions from other devices. Apart from that, it is not always the case that all the connected devices demand the same bandwidth. For instance, a mobile device requires quite less bandwidth than a smart tv on which some 4K content is running online. In that case, each device will be allotted the bandwidth according to their usage and demands, so that users can use every device without facing any buffer issues later.
4. Smooth Experience with NitroQAM Technology
Since it uses the latest 1024 QAM technology aka NitroQAM, the wireless speeds from the Asus RT AC88U router show results that are much better than any other product. The effect of using 1024 QAM is seen on both the bands of this dual-band channel, in a good way obviously.
For the 2.5GHz band, the speeds can go as high as 1000Mbps which is 66% better than average whereas the 5GHz band can deliver speeds up to 2167Mbps that is almost 80% better. These are not the kind of speeds that you can experience with any ordinary router or from the famous third-party ones as well. With that said, hats off to Asus for showing such great efforts and doing their part to provide us with a better product loaded with technology. Well, the speeds are not limited according to the bands, the NitroQAM technology helps the router to deliver a combined Wi-Fi speed of 3167Mbps that is more than sufficient even for streaming 4K on multiple devices.
Also Read: Best Router for 4K Streaming
5. WTFast Gamers Private Network
Since the Asus RT AC88U router is solely meant for gamers, there are plenty of features that you can access from the dedicated router software, apart from all the basic yet necessary features like Parental controls and other security stuff. We are keener to discuss the WTFast Gamers Private Network in this Asus AC3100 review. If you have a dedicated place or club where you usually practice with your team, or simply plan to have LAN parties with your friends on the weekends. This feature of the Asus RT-AC88U will definitely entertain you well. It is totally what you interpret from the name.
You might have experienced it most of the time whenever other devices start to use a Wi-Fi connection, there is a sudden ping spike, and the game starts to lag a little bit. Well, creating a private network dedicated to your gaming setup can eventually solve this issue. Henceforth, no other device will be able to access until you want it to which simply means all the bandwidth of that private network will be used by your PC only.
6. Adaptive Quality of Service (QoS)
As we discussed a little above, it comes with an Adaptive QoS feature that makes it suitable to work as a home router where multiple devices have variable demands. In such cases, Adaptive QoS comes in very handy since it adapts to a device’s usage and helps to manage the bandwidth efficiently.
Meanwhile, for your gaming session, the router automatically detects that it requires low packet loss and lowest possible ping. So, what it does is that it prioritizes bandwidth allocation for your PC rather than just distributing it across all the devices which are not using the internet at that moment. Moreover, since the Asus RT AC88U router can be controlled from a dedicated mobile application, you can add devices to the priority list manually as well using the app.
Although the router is well capable of delivering signals across a vast coverage area, the AiMesh system is worth mentioning in this RT AC88U review. The AiMesh system increases the coverage of the router to 5000 sq. ft. That is massive for a router of this kind, and you would barely find any other router in this price range with such good coverage capabilities. All this is possible because of its four-receive (4T4R) antenna design. On top of that, there is AiRadar technology working as well that focuses the Wi-Fi signals, particularly on the connected devices via Beamforming.
However, many crucial factors can affect a router’s coverage and signal strength. All factors such as hard walls, wall material, area layout, etc. can affect the overall signal strength. However, we didn’t face any such issues with the Asus RT AC88U router because the wall penetration from the antennas is quite remarkable. But, in case you want to install it in a large area like an office or some other place, Asus has included the AiMesh features as well. Like we have seen in Arris SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh and Netgear Nighthawk Mesh, using multiple Asus routers, you can simply select one router as the main hub and other routers as nodes. In this way, the nodes will work as a signal repeater in order to extend the overall coverage and eliminate all the Wireless dead zones.
7. AiProtection Pro
Unlike other router security plans, Asus is providing the AiProtection Pro plan for absolutely free. So, that counts as a plus point and is a very strong reason for most people to get it. Since the Asus RT AC88U router is fully operable from a mobile application, you can always keep an eye on your connection and easily block some websites that you don’t want kids to visit. In fact, the AiProtection system is intelligent enough to block access to malicious websites and keep your connection safe from all the internet scams and other threats. Moreover, there are other smart features for the parents that allow them to block or limit the internet speeds on particular devices. This way, you can simply keep children from over-using it.
The RT-AC88U comes with a total of 8 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port. Pretty decent right? Yes, it is. Especially for a router meant for gaming, the LAN ports are quite essential, and having plenty of them is good. The USB ports can fetch you transfer speeds up to 100Mbps as mentioned, but in real-time, the results may differ depending on your storage devices as well. However, with the Ethernet ports, you can try out the Link Aggregation by connecting Ethernet to two consecutive ports. With the help of it, the transmissions speeds can drastically improve, and you can reach speeds up to 2Gbps quite easily.
Wrapping up the Asus AC88U review here, the Asus RT AC88U router is definitely a powerful router for gamers. As it gets its power from a 1.4GHz processor, handling all the features like MU-MIMO, beamforming, Adaptive QoS feels so easier for it. On top of that, the super-easy setup process and mobile application support with a free AiProtection security plan, this router seems worth every penny.
Although the pricing might seem a little too high, but when you compare it to other routers with similar features, you will find it somewhere in the bottom of the price list. This router has amazed us in every other aspect, and we hope you are feeling the same as well. So, which of the router’s features did you like the most? Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.