Speed De­mon

ASUS RT-AC68U

HWM (Singapore) - - Lab Test -

ASUS is one of the top brands for high-end routers, but it was not al­ways this way. In fact, the Tai­wanese hard­ware gi­ants only made sig­nif­i­cant in­roads in the net­work­ing mar­ket a few years ago when they launched the awe­some RT-N56U in 2010. With its stun­ning com­bi­na­tion of good looks and blis­ter­ing per­for­mance, it was one of the best routers of its time.

Fast for­ward three years and we have yet another flag­ship router from ASUS, this time the RT-AC68U. The RT-AC68U is a dual-band router that supports the lat­est Wire­less-AC stan­dard. At the heart of this router is Broad­com’s sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion BCM4708A SoC, which fea­tures a dual-core ARM Cor­tex-A9 pro­ces­sor, com­ple­mented by 256MB of RAM. This helps the router ef­fi­ciently han­dle mul­ti­ple trans­mis­sions and ses­sions.

In ad­di­tion, this Broad­com SoC also fea­tures Tur­boQAM tech­nol­ogy, which boosts Wire­less-N 2.4GHz through­put from 450Mbps to 600Mbps when used with de­vices fea­tur­ing com­pat­i­ble Broad­com re­ceivers.

In terms of de­sign, the RTAC68U is not all that dif­fer­ent from its pre­de­ces­sors. It fea­tures the dis­tinc­tive check­ered pat­tern that has be­come a mark of ASUS routers. All in all, it is a hand­some and fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing router. How­ever, un­like its pre­de­ces­sors, the RT-AC68U can only be po­si­tioned up­right and can­not be mounted on walls. This can make it tricky to po­si­tion, es­pe­cially when you fac­tor in its mas­sive three ex­ter­nal an­ten­nae.

The rea­son it can­not be wall mounted is be­cause all of its ports are lo­cated on the back panel. There’s a sin­gle WAN port and four LAN ports. There are also two USB ports, one USB 3.0 and the other USB 2.0, which can be used with prin­ters to en­able wire­less printer or ex­ter­nal USB hard drives for easy shar­ing of con­tent or wire­less back­ups.

Set­ting up the RT-AC68U was a breeze thanks to the ASUSWRT in­ter­face. Not only was it user-friendly, it also loads fast. Fur­ther­more, the RT-AC68U of­fers a wealth of fea­tures and op­tions such as me­dia pri­or­i­ti­za­tion, parental con­trol, range port for­ward­ing and the abil­ity to cre­ate and main­tain mul­ti­ple wire­less SSIDs and more.

As is the case with mod­ern routers, the RT-AC68U also of­fers cloud func­tion­al­ity via the ASUS AiCloud util­ity. With it en­abled, you can ac­cess con­tent stored on stor­age de­vices which are con­nected to the router any­time and any­where, us­ing ASUS’ AiCloud app on your An­droid or iOS de­vice.

Per­for­mance was a bit of a mixed bag. On the 2.4GHz band, we man­aged av­er­age up­link and down­link through­puts of 59.331Mbps and 60.543Mbps re­spec­tively at a range of two me­ters. This dipped to 30.123Mbps and 36.531Mbps at 25 me­ters. And at 10 me­ters it took us 121 sec­onds to trans­fer a 1GB zip file.

For­tu­nately, on the 5GHz band and in Wire­less-AC mode, the RT-AC68U ab­so­lutely blitzed the com­pe­ti­tion, record­ing av­er­age up­link and down­link through­puts of 167.892Mbps and 170.544Mbps re­spec­tively at two me­ters. Even at 25 me­ters, per­for­mance re­mained rel­a­tively un­changed at 166.243Mbps and 154.338Mbps. In ad­di­tion, it took just 30 sec­onds to trans­fer a 1GB zip file at a range of 10 me­ters.

All in all, the RT-AC68U is an ac­com­plished router that comes highly rec­om­mended, if you have the right equip­ment to take ad­van­tage of its wickedly fast Wire­less-AC speeds.

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