ASUS RT AC68U Review 2017
Isn’t exactly a budget option, but all things considered, it’s one of the best routers on the market today.
Let’s introduce it on that note; yes, this is a very, very good router.
High performance, good build quality, lots of features – excellent all around, really.
The question is whether or not it’s good enough to justify selling for north of $200.
There aren’t many routers out there that cost more than this, and there are plenty of excellent choices that are substantially less.
We’ll find, though, that ASUS provides a product that’s well worth its price tag
as long as you can afford it.
The RT-AC68U has a lot going for it by virtue of simple brute force.
The router’s SoC includes a powerful 800MHz dual-core Broadcom BCM4708A0 by way of the CPU, and two Broadcom BCM4360 802.11ac WiFi transceivers provide the groundwork for top-notch wireless networking performance.
The router features 256 MB of RAM, 128 MB of on board Flash memory, one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port, and four gigabit Ethernet ports; there’s plenty of power and plenty of connectivity options to exploit.
The heat sink assembly that keeps all this hardware cool makes for a slightly bulky router, but it provides excellent uptime.
The only real downside is an annoying proprietary power brick.
Wireless performance is about what you’d expect from what you’ve read up to here
You can easily expect 400 Mbps download speeds under real-world conditions, with a bit of optimization.
Range isn’t a problem either; you can get a strong signal from outside of the building or from another story.
This makes the RT-AC68U very well-suited to use in large homes, or for home automation tasks that require a stable connection to devices that aren’t actually inside your home.
Wired performance is standard for high-end routers – in other words, the actual figures are usually pretty close to that theoretical 1 Gbps limit.
ASUS RT-AC68U Review – Software
The hardware is only half the story, though.
Sure, you could definitely get good results from running DD-WRT on the router described above, but that’s not a step everyone wants to take; it’s important that a router is actually good for something out of the box.
As it would happen, the ASUS RT-AC68U’s stock firmware is excellent; it’s rock-stable and has a massive list of features.
The standard things…
– USB file and printer sharing, guest networking, etc. – are all in place and well-implemented, but it’s more interesting to discuss some of the things that the RT-AC68U does that are unique in its segment.
For instance, there’s the ability to configure the router with multiple WAN ports out of the box.
This isn’t exactly a mass-market feature – you need to have two separate broadband lines coming in to make any use of it – but it’s great for small business users.
Dual WAN allows you to distribute traffic between two separate Internet connections; it’s useful for load balancing in order to keep performance for all your users equally smooth, and it provides a great deal of redundancy in itself.
Home users are going to be more interested in ASUS’s AiCloud, though. AiCloud is a four-part software suite; Cloud Disk allows you to access a hard drive connected to your router over the Internet…
…and to stream media to compatible devices like smartphones.
Smart Access allows you to connect to your home network from a remote PC. Router-to-Router Sync lets you sync files and folders between the hard drives connected to two AiCloud routers.
While Smart Sync allows the router to sync files and folders between its hard drive and an Asus WebStorage account.
This last feature is the weakest part of the system, since you can’t use a service like Google Drive or Dropbox – but you get 5GB of storage for free, so it’s still useful for keeping important documents and other files accessible.
The ASUS RT-AC68U is powerful and versatile, if rather expensive.
It’s indisputably a premium product, providing premium quality for a premium price.
By any metric, though, it’s either the best router on the market or one of the front-runners; it’s excellent across the board.
The biggest downside, for what it’s worth, is that legacy 2.4GHz performance is somewhat mediocre, but even there the RT-AC68U offers far more usable range than most of the competition.
In short, it’s a great pick.