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Review: ASUS RT-AC68U: A new kind of router

Introduction

Wi-Fi-AC has been established as a solution for high-speed wireless connections that can take full advantage of fast internet services, flawlessly stream HD video or simply browse the internet as reliably as a wired connection. With the development of new technologies, we’re also seeing new routers that take full advantage of this protocol and offer features to the average user that until some years ago were exclusive to business owners and professional users. The ASUS RT-RT-AC68U is a good example of this and we’ll tell you why.

ASUS RT-AC68U

Hardware

Think about everything you need from a router, and the ASUS RT-AC68U does all that and much more. Hardware-wise, it is flawless; its design is beautiful and has many great features. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best routers anyone can get, as well as one of the most complete.

ASUS’ RT-AC68U features a dual-core processor (ARM) that makes it a very fast and powerful router. It also has 128MB of Flash memory, offering an excellent ROM, and 256MB of RAM so it multitasks commendably. Its hardware is comparable to a high-end modern NAS.

In regards to connectivity, it has two USB ports, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0. There’s also a Gigabit switch with four ports as well as a Gigabit WAN port.

ASUS RT-AC68U

Wireless connectivity is taken care of by a Wi-Fi-AC chipset. It is dual channel, 2.4 y 5GHz, capable of offering speeds of up to 1300mbps in the 5GHz band and up to 600mbps in the 2.4GHz one. Both bands are independent, so you can diversify the bandwidth use, and it features a set of very powerful MIMO antennas (3×3).

Its processor is capable of handling up to 300000 simultaneous sessions, so any kind of trouble with P2P services will be a thing of the past. It is also capable of managing downloads by itself and it offers many additional useful features like printer management, network storage, streaming, global connectivity, IPTV and more. Let’s take a closer look to it.

ASUS RT-AC68U

Neutral Router

The RT-AC68U is a very complete router both hardware and software-wise, so it’s a very versatile device. You can use it with ADSL, FTTH, fiber + coaxial and other kinds of connections. You’ll need a second router for some connections, though. This is what happens if you a have a neutral router. This model also allows the use of multiple WAN simultaneously with balancing functions. You can use the WAN connector and an additional LAN connector to use 3G/4G connections through adapters connected via USB. It can also be used as a VPN server and it offers more traditional features like DHCP, NAT, Firewall, etc.

ASUS RT-AC68U

Among its new features, thanks to its new processor, is its capability of working as a download manager, a multimedia streaming center and a network storage device. Thanks to its USB 3.0 port, it offers very fast speeds in both Wi-Fi-N and Wi-Fi-AC connections. In fact, in performed commendably in all of our tests, taking full advantage of the USB 3.0 interface.

ASUS RT-AC68U

The RT-AC68U has a vertical design to maximize its wireless range. The 2.4 mode, because of its nature, offers a longer range thanks to the antennas, and the 5GHz one is faster. The AC modes only work in the 5GHz band. There are various frontal LEDs that indicate the status of the physical ports, including the USB ports, as well as the 2.4 and 5 GHz WI-Fi modes. On the sides, there are quick access buttons for WPS connectivity as well a button to activate and deactivate the Wi-Fi network. A button on the back can deactivate the LEDs. It may seem unnecessary, but it’s actually pretty useful.

Cloud and other features

Most modern routers feature Cloud storage, and this one is no different. You can access the router, and therefore your files and connected devices, no matter where you are, thanks to ASUS AICloud technology, a system capable of accessing any USB device connected to our router, downloading and uploading files and streaming. There are also versions for mobile devices (iOS and Android) and it’s totally free. Through a bandwidth connection, you can watch movies, play music and much more.

ASUS RT-AC68U

ASUS RT-AC68U

This new generation takes full advantage of Broadcom’s new advancements in regards to the Wi-Fi-N standard, offering speeds of up to 600mbps in the 5GHz band. This doesn’t mean you can use the 1900mpbs through a single connection, since the maximum speed of the Wi-Fi-AC connection is 1300mbps, but what you can do is enjoy both at the same time.

The web interface and configuration utilities of this router are one of its best features, since they make it very easy to use and configure. Anyone can set it up in minutes thanks to the many wizards, though we felt it also needed advanced options and modes for experienced users.

ASUS RT-AC68U

The interface is vivid and very good-looking, similar to the UEFI interfaces of the manufacturer, with lot of information and lots of shortcuts to the most important features and functions. It has an excellent log and monitoring system and every option you need to monitor and manage even the smallest detail about your network.

One of these features is the guest manager for your network. You can limit the guests of your network allowing them to only browse the web, without being able to see or connect other devices in the network. You can also set up a VPN server with MPPE encryption to securely access your network, no matter where you are.

These top-notch features are combined with a powerful QOS that gives priority to the most important tasks, but without leaving other functions aside.

Wi-Fi-AC performance

The storage managing features of these routers makes it tempting to use them as storage devices and thus not having to buy an expensive NAS. You can connect a USB 3.0 disk and it can even be powered by the router. The processor of this router is powerful enough to manage any high-speed network, protect your devices and moving big files via USB 3.0. Here you can see a performance chart comparing the performance in Wi-Fi-N, Wi-Fi-AC and Gigabit Ethernet of this router when used as a storage device. We’ve also added a second chart by transferring the same amount of files a high-end NAS with an Intel Atom processor, always using a wireless connection.

Recording Speed. USB 3.0 hard drive connected to the USB 3.0 port of the RT-AC68U

ASUS RT-AC68U

Recording Speed. RAID 5 connected to Synology DS1511 using the RT-AC68U as router.

ASUS RT-AC68U

With these speeds, you can take full advantage of your 100-200mb internet connection with a Wi-Fi network or streaming HD content to any device, for example. Wi-Fi AC is undoubtedly the future and the standard for any upcoming device.

Analysis and Conclusion

There are three or four high-end routers with the latest Broadcom chipsets that have been released these days. There’s this ASUS one, one from Netgear and another one from Linksys; all of them feature this chip and an ARM processor with frequencies between 300-600MHz, capable of offering much more than the average router.

It’s still son to decide the winner, but ASUS undoubtedly has the upper hand thanks to its well-known devices. This router is powerful and affordable and features a comprehensive firmware full of features from both beginners and advanced users alike, allowing you to even increase the speed of the processor. It also offers very interesting and uncommon storage options, which make it a powerful rival to any NAS.

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2 Thoughts on “Review: ASUS RT-AC68U: A new kind of router

  1. Theirr recen ‘Fusion’ chipsets, aimed at low-end PCs, integrated CPU and GPU into
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