HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

First seen at IFA 2015 in Ber­lin last year, the RTAC5300 router from ASUS looks com­pletely bonkers. And be­cause of its un­usual looks, it has been called an alien, a crab and a spi­der, amongst other things. We think that it’s a very fit­ting de­sign for a high-end flag­ship router and it looks plain awe­some. It has red ac­cents, an­gu­lar sides, sharp sur­faces, and no less than eight ex­ter­nal an­ten­nas! It brings to mind Lam­borgh­ini’s equally wacky Ve­neno hy­per­car, and that’s a good thing.

The only down­side to its out­ra­geous de­sign is that it’s phys­i­cally huge. It is also re­ally heavy at nearly 2kg, so wall­mount­ing is a no-go.

Round the front are LED sta­tus in­di­ca­tors, and one thing that we would have pre­ferred is to have LED sta­tus in­di­ca­tors for each of the in­di­vid­ual Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net ports. As it is, there’s only a sin­gle in­di­ca­tor for all four of them, which isn’t very help­ful if you are try­ing to de­ter­mine which port is faulty.

Speak­ing of LAN ports, there are four Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net LAN ports and a sin­gle Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net WAN port. The first and sec­ond LAN ports sup­port ag­gre­ga­tion, which means that they can be



APRIL 2016 com­bined to form a sin­gle su­per-fast Eth­er­net con­nec­tion. Of course, this re­quires a client that can sup­port this fea­ture, but it’s be­com­ing quite com­mon for high-end con­sumer NAS sys­tems to sup­port ag­gre­ga­tion. The RT-AC5300 router also fea­tures USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, as well as but­tons to in­stantly turn off the WiFi and LED in­di­ca­tors. There’s also an ad­di­tional but­ton for WPS setup.

Pow­er­ing all of this is Broad­com’s new 4x4 5G XStream plat­form, which con­sists of a 1.4GHz dual-core BCM47094 ARM Cor­tex A9 pro­ces­sor and three BCM4366 4x4 ra­dios. These ra­dios are also MU-MIMO ca­pa­ble, so if you have the right client de­vices, you can ex­pect an over­all net­work per­for­mance boost too.

Set­ting up and man­ag­ing the router was easy, thanks to the ASUSWRT setup in­ter­face. It’s not the pret­ti­est, but it’s fairly straight­for­ward to use, loads quickly and gets the job done. We like how it pro­vides a good bal­ance be­tween ease of use and op­tions for more ad­vanced users. It also has com­pan­ion mo­bile apps that al­low users to re­motely man­age the router, sched­ule files for tor­rent clients, and more.

Two of the LAN ports sup­port port ag­gre­ga­tion, al­low­ing users to cre­ate a sin­gle su­per-fast con­nec­tion.

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