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Hands-on review: Why the ASUS Dual Band RT-AX88U Wi-Fi Router is like a Formula 1 racing car

24 Mar 2020

The average home router that you get with your broadband connection doesn’t do a good job.

What ASUS has produced in the RT-AX88U is like a formula one racing car in comparison, featuring the latest and hottest WiFi 6 technology.

Not only does it look amazing, but it has incredible performance.

It has a total of four antennas to distribute 8 high gain stream across 5GHz as well as 2.4GHz band to compliant devices. Thanks to support of the new UL/DL MU-MIMO technology, the RT-AX88U can communicate with four 2x2 client stations simultaneously, with fast and reliable transmission across the network.

Not to mention the bandwidth available can also be put to greater use with the introduction of OFDMA, where each antenna can deliver packets from four different client stations at the same time. Torrenting will no longer kill your gameplay. How cool is that?

To compare the previous generation of routers on the 5GHz band alone, it can already pump out close to a massive 2.8X the throughput of existing WiFi 5 solutions per stream. If that's not enough, each packet is also colour tagged with BSS colouring and more extensive checks, meaning there is much less need for resending, which essentially means much faster actual transmission speed.

If wireless connectivity speeds are important to you and you want to future proof your purchase, or if you already own compliant devices, then WiFi is definitely the way to go.

Don’t worry, it supports all the previous standards too, so old devices will have no issues with connecting - perhaps even faster.

On the back of the unit are nine Ethernet ports, one for connecting to your broadband modem and the rest for your network. These ports support up to Gigabit speeds. The RT-AX88U also supports both WAN Aggregation and LAN Aggregation, meaning you can painlessly move to 2Gbps fibre network or double the speed of your wired devices when desirable.

If you need an ultra-reliable internet connection, you can even plug a USB 3G/4G modem into the USB port; this would then take over if your broadband is down for any reason.

The encryption included is top-notch also with support for all the most common and enterprise standards, including the latest WPA3,  replacing the dated WPA2. It also offers a hybrid WPA3/WPA2 mode, making sure no older devices is to be left behind after providing the extra protection to your newer devices.

It also includes a lifetime AiProtection Pro subscription, powered by Trend Micro with automatic, regularly updated security signatures to protect your devices and personal data from internet threats. This robust security offers advanced parental controls, including the ability to block specific types of websites and mobile apps with a few clicks on the ASUS router. 

When it comes to gaming or live video situations, you will be super happy as the RT-AX88U supports what ASUS calls Adapterive QoS. It essentially allows you to prioritise certain types of internet traffic, so someone else downloading a massive movie doesn’t impact the quality of your live multiplayer gaming. Even in business uses could find this important, especially when live streaming.

Also, wtfast support means 45-70% lower ping times going to their GPN network, as it seeks out and secures the shortest possible path between your gaming device and the game server, minimising game ping and lag.

This is a high-quality Wi-Fi router, for those that want the best performance on their Wi-Fi network either in a home or small business setting. It’s technically brilliant and looks stunningly beautiful too. Well done, ASUS!