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.