ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 Dual Band Gaming Wireless Router – Good News for Gamers! | Review

OVERVIEW

In general, ASUS AC86 is an upgraded version of its smaller brother, ASUS AC68U. Maybe you can reverse the “68 to 86 or vice versa” for extra understandings. This router, has the similar design of Lamborghini sports cars along with my beloved, ASUS G752VT laptop. I personally like the design compared to its traditional looking small bro, AC68U. Despite for its price, this router suitable for gamers out there due to the built-in WTF feature, a dual core 1.8GHz processor, along with the beast alike 512MiB to handle the connected devices well.

PACKAGING

Disclaimer: This is a Malaysian demo unit. So the actual packaging will be much more “cool” compared to this.

Before un-boxing

After un-boxing

Final view of the router

DSC_0373
Figure 6: The content of the box.

This is a demo unit. So it may differ from the actual unit that comes with the router. The content that comes along with the router are, the AC adapter, three detachable antennas, a cat5e Ethernet cable, a manual and a warranty card.

The built quality of the router is excellent. The high quality casings were used, the fierce look of the front view of the router adds the impression to gamers out there, that, this is the savior of their smooth gaming experience over their existing router. The design of AC86U more like a Lamborghini’s rear view compared to the traditional diamond shape pattern of most of the ASUS routers.

DSC_0393
Figure 9: The branding of the “ASUS” carved on the each antennas.

The quality of the antenna’s is beyond perfect. Don’t mistaken me as, for such pricey router, the antenna’s also plays an important role to transmit the wireless coverage to your home device. When I tried to change the direction of the antennas, I feel that, it’s pretty solid compared to other previous router’s, I tested so far.

DSC_0386
Figure 10: The rear view of the router.

The rear view of the router is similar to its smaller brother, AC68U. The router comes with a single gigabit WAN port, 4 gigabit LAN port, a single USB 2.0 & 3.0 ports, an AC in port, a reset button, an LED on/off button and on/off button.

SPECIFICATIONS

The specifications of the AC86U are as follows:

ac86uspec
Figure 11: The specifications of AC86U.

SETTING UP FOR THE FIRST USE

The process of setting up the router for first use is slightly similar to Blue-Cave, with the dark version of the user interface.

I personally like this setup interface, as it shows how premium the router is. This gives the impression of “rough” of the router not only in terms of the outer design, as well as the firmware design.

INTERFACE WALK-THROUGH

The interface of the web administration is similar to most of the ASUS routers. The attached image below is the a brief walk-through of the router.

WIRELESS PERFORMANCE

My standard wireless settings of both bands are as follows:

Wireless Analysis

download
Figure 27: The result of download speedtest.

Analysis of Download:

The download speed was awesome at upstairs. I able to achieve over 90% of subscribed bandwidth, however, as the distance were increased, the speed bandwidth seems to get fluctuated.

uploads
Figure 28: The result of upload speedtest.

Analysis of Upload:

As for upload result, the same principle was applied. However, I have to redo the wireless test at the Veranda (upstairs) as my phone tends to lose the 5GHz connection (not stable).

Analysis of the wireless for both, download and upload:

The more increase the distance is, the lesser bandwidth your device will receive.

Iperf3 Testing

34534773_349947945528304_1924119458545139712_n
Figure 29: The iperf3 analysis result.

I able to achieve over 90 Mbit/s on my laptop. Sweet.

USB PERFORMANCE

The router does come with two USB ports, each USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 respectively. In order to ease the comparison chart, I’ve renamed the path (folder) to the respective ports, they’re (USB sticks) currently connected to.

10
Figure 30: The attached USB sticks labeled to their respective ports.

USB 2.0

2.00
Figure 31: The write speed of USB 2.0.

USB 3.0

2.00
Figure 32: The write speed of USB 3.0.

Outcome of the analysis

The write speed (from my download folder to the USB stick attached) of USB 2.0 hovers around 7 – 9 MB/s while the write speed of 3.0 hovers around 10 – 11.5 MB/s.

WTFAST

In order to use the WTFast GPN, you need to register and subscribe to their plans. Below, I’ve attached the plans for your concern(s):

You can register to your account here and, you ONLY able to use this feature when you have the subscription.

7
Figure 35: Login to your WTFast account or you can register.

Secondly, you will be directed to the landing page once you’ve clicked to the “create account” link.

The url: WTFast

wtf
Figure 36: The landing page.

Next, let’s have a look at the plans available for the gamers.

The system requirements of your rig are as below:

8
Figure 42: The system requirements.

Finally, the download link.

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Figure 43: The download button.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Advantages

  1. Great design (Cyber looking router – futuristic look).
  2. Best material used for the case of the router (feels solid).
  3. Good quality of antennas.
  4. Good wireless coverage.
  5. Stable and able to handle large amount of clients connected to it.
  6. Comes with both (a) USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 port.
  7. A physical button to turn off the wireless functionality.
  8. A physical button to turn off the LED’s.
  9. ASUS WTF features did an excellent job.
  10. AiProtection.
  11. Router remains cool.
  12. Supports Asus-Merlin firmware.

Disadvantages

  1. Doesn’t come with Captive Portal or Free-WiFi.
  2. You need to register and have an active subscription to fully utilize the WTFast technology (Should provide a trial version to enable user to explore this feature).

FINAL VERDICT

DSC_0374
Figure 44: The router view w/out antenna.

ASUS RT-AC86U are one of the best wireless router ever produced by ASUS currently. The wireless coverage from this router are excellent, the USB read and write speed are good, and, the router seems to handle more than 10 connected devices with ease more devices can be handled well. The feature that comes with this router is great, however, I didn’t try the router with Asus-Merlin firmware as, for most home users, the stock Asuswrt is more than enough. The AiProtection scores well here. Definitely, if in the future, I am planning to get a new router for my house, definitely, Asus AC86U will be in my top list of router replacement.

My Recommendations: 9.5 / 10

Expected FAQ:

Eh boss, where is the AiMesh feature review?

Do not worry. I will make a separate post to explain it. 

Can this router be used in business organizations?

Yes. You can. This router comes with 512MiB of RAM, so handling multiple connected clients will be a piece of cake.

Does this router have Captive Portal despite being one of the high end routers of choice?

No. This router doesn’t come with Captive Portal.

Does this router can be used as an AiMesh to connect to other router’s that having similar feature?

Yes. You can.


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