ASUS RT-AC59U Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Router – Review

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ASUS RT-AC59U

RM 339.00
8.5

Built Quality

8.0/10

Design

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

User Experience

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Decent hardware specs
  • Good features bundled
  • VPN support
  • Good wireless strength
  • Stable
  • Value for money

Disadvantages

  • No AiMesh & AiProtection
  • Incompatible with Asus-Merlin
  • Non-detachable antennas
  • No USB 3.0

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ASUS had recently introduced a new entry level dual-band wireless router that uses the latest wireless standard protocol, 802.11ac Wave 2. The RT-AC59U is a new AC1500 router that comes with a better processor compared to its predecessor, the RT-AC58U. ASUS claims, the AC59U has a better wireless signal strength compared to AC58U and serves to eliminate dead spots in your residence via its four external powerful antennas.

At a glance, this router doesn’t differ much in terms of feature offerings compared to other ASUS’s entry level tier router apart from ASUS’s signature feature;- Traffic Analyzer, Traditional QoS, Parental Control, AiDisk and Dual-WAN support. Besides that, the AC59U bundled with a VPN server and client feature that adds a key enter the hall-of-fame.




Specifications

Below are the general specifications of the AC59U:

Wireless Class AC1500
Wireless Protocol 902.11ac Wave 2
Processors Qualcomm QCN5502
Flash Memory 16 MB
RAM 128 MB
I/O Ports 1 x WAN Gigabit
4 x LAN Gigabit Port
1 x USB 2.0
Wireless Data Rate 802.11n : up to 600 Mbps
802.11ac : up to 867 Mbps
Operation Mode Wireless Router
Access Point
Media Bridge

For a detailed hardware specification, the information is available here.

Design

The AC59U design is very much similar with AC58U, with the same four visible non-detachable antennas, four gigabit capable LAN ports, a single gigabit capable WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, a physical WPS button, a DC in port, a power switch and a reset button. However, comparing the both, AC58U and AC59U models, the AC58U comes with a single USB 3.0 port located at the front while the AC59U comes with USB 2.0 port located at the rear which wonders us, WHY? The AC59U is MU-MIMO and Beamforming capable router. The AC59U expected to receive firmware updates roughly 5 to 8 years, depends on the demand of this model on the market.

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At the top-front of the router, apart from appearing as diamond-crafted design, the AC59U actually offers individual LED indicator for each hardware from the power to the LAN then to the wireless band indicator, talking about crystal clear indicator to allow the user to conduct a basic troubleshooting or allow the user to know if there is any failing hardwares within.

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At the bottom of the router, a general information on the router, including user credentials was given. If you happen to mount the router to the wall, then, the AC59U is wall-mountable. Bear in mind that, by doing so, you’re sacrificing the ventilation holes to allow the emission of hot airs from the components of the router.

Setting up for the first use

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If you get used to a newer modern flat user interface that can be found over the AC68U and above, well be prepared because the setup process of AC59U uses ASUS’s standard old interface setup. However, it is understandable for most users as long as the procedure done in a right way. Upon finish setting up the router, you can directly log-in into your web admin interface of the router proceed customizing your preferred settings.

Firmware Features Walkthrough

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Being an ASUS router, it comes with a standard ASUSWRT user-interface with an exception, few unavailable features will be noticeable such as AiProtection panel and AiMesh feature on the Network Map panel. Although the outer appearance of this router seems basic, but, it does offers a few good features inside it. The only downside of this router is, it won’t be supported by Asus-Merlin (a reliable third-party alternative firmware of ASUSWRT) thanks to its Qualcomm chip.

Before beginning our testing, we’ve customized few features to fit our needs for about two weeks. Do bear in mind that, we put ourself in the shoe of the novice consumer by not altering the wireless settings and leave the settings as stock as possible. We’ve bundled the router with Surfshark ovpn file to allow our device to remain protected while testing the router out.

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We begin our testing by jotting down the CPU usage stats by monitoring the router in its most idle state. To further clarify our analysis, we’ve SSH’ed the router by running <“top“> command to get a detailed analysis of the application (feature) that uses most CPU resources when it is in idle state.

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Next, we’ve carried a simple yet legit test the IPv6 feature of the AC59U. According to ipleak, our IPv6 address is detectable along with the standard IPv4 public IP address. We also further carried out our IPv6 test by visiting to an IPv6 enabled website to conclude the IPv6 support on this router. The result turns out, passed with flying colors.

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We don’t lay our hands over the Parental Control features as it only serves to limit the internet access, however, we did test the URL filter function since it is one of the important feature that should be recognized by the users. The URL Filter is an extra secure feature to block the devices;- at-least a specific device from accessing to a malicious website. This will be a good feature, especially for those who are having children’s at home.

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When you’re buying a router, you’re buying the hardware bundled with the router. We’ve proceeded to test the actual amount of bandwidth supported by the router via a simple speedtest result to the closest server to us. Well, ASUS claims that the AC59U supports up to 500Mbps, but based on our testing, the router able to deliver 800Mbps solid via a wired speedtest.

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Here is the tricky part, we can’t solely believe the router’s real-time performance just by testing the speedtest result, we’ve to actually download one. To prove ASUS’s claims, we’ve picked a test-file hosted in Germany and download it. To our surprise, the router can actually hit up to 48 MiB/s closed to 50 MiB/s ( 500 Mbps).

When it comes to wireless connection, a greater result comes from a nearer distance in between the client device and the router itself. We’ve used stock wireless settings for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. We have used these settings for the wireless test:

2.4 GHz

  • Wireless Mode: Auto
  • Channel Width: Auto
  • Control Channel: Auto (Channel 11 was picked automatically

5GHz

  • Wireless Mode: Auto
  • Channel Width: Auto
  • Control Channel: Auto (Channel 100 was picked automatically ft. DFS channels)

For the wireless client, we’ve used ASUS’s G752VT gaming laptop equipped with a 2×2 AC1200 wireless card as standard since most household devices used the same wireless class adapter as well.

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We begin our test with 2.4GHz wireless testing where the distance in between the wireless client to the router is 6 meters away. Living in a residential area, it will be a hard task for us since the 2.4GHz is the congested bands especially at night. So, it gave us some ideas to actually conduct this test at night. Seems legit right? Well, based on the testing, the analysis did surprise us. We able to achieve 94.57 Mbps for download and 94.02 Mbps for upload. Well, we can say, it is a good speed result enough.

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Next, we did the same method of keeping the same distance in between the client device and the router to conduct the test. Our client device, able to reach nearly 500 Mbps for download and 211 Mbps for the upload. Based on the both speedtest, we can conclude that, the wireless strength of AC59U is better than the AC58U tested previously. As per claim by ASUS, the AC59U definitely supports solid 500Mbps internet bandwidth.

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These days, browsing the internet without a reliable VPN service is same like living inside a home without locking a door. Well, you got that right, the VPN support of the AC59U consists VPN server and VPN clients. It is easily configurable (if your VPN provider provides a tutorial for their service to be installed with ASUSWRT firmware) and understandable even for a novice user. For this test, we’ve bundled up Surfshark ovpn file to the AC59U to give a ride of the performance of the router when almost all the currently connected devices routed through the VPN tunnel.

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The CPU usage spiked to 100% when the VPN client feature is currently turned on. Do note that, during this test conducted, only a few downloading process and streaming process were going on, and it is not surprising either to get such result. However, we firmly believe ASUS will solve this bug soon in their upcoming fixes.

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Now, let’s see the speedtest of the AC59U via a wired connection with VPN client turned on. We’ve picked Singapore as the nearest server location in our country, Malaysia to get the best out of it. Looking at the speed analysis result, the speed we obtained is quite decent. We find this speed is quite acceptable, especially during downloading a test-file hosted server in Germany.

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What’s next? Since the AC59U comes with a single USB 2.0 port, it will be useful if you wish to share the files through AiDisk feature to the internet, or installing an external HDD as a NAS or a media server.

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Installing a router, especially in a bedroom can cause much headache due to the wireless signal emission that tends to disrupt our sleep. Well, ASUS’s had taken a precaution by allowing the user to actually configure the wireless signal emission by setting up the time that suits your needs.

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One of the favorite feature we loved the most is the reboot scheduler. This is a very important feature for every router regardless any brand. A reboot scheduler will help a router to reboot automatically according to the time programmed by the user. It is advisable to allow a router to reboot once in a week to avoid kernel panic that may reduce the router’s performance.

ASUS Router Application

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The ASUS Router application can be directly downloaded from both Apps Store and Google PlayStore. The application was recently undergoing serious user-interface change with addition of feature bundled in. The advantages of this application are, it supports all ASUS routers and offers the feature available for that particular model similar to the web admin interface. It seems ASUS’s engineer fixed a critical bug that enables the Web Access from WAN feature to be automatically turned on when the ASUS Router apps launched. Good job ASUS for fixing this bug.

Conclusion

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The RT-AC59U is the best, if not one of the best entry level 802.11ac Wave 2 dual band wireless router that currently available in the market. The features offered via this router is surprisingly good, the wireless performance is good and most important, the router is stable and can handle heavy tasks at one time. If you happen to be a budget user, yet wishing to own a router that offers feature as much as the mid-end tier routers out there, then the RT-AC59U is one of the routers that deserves our vouch.



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