I like this new Asus WiFi router. I just don’t like its price. I’m one of those people that like the newest, latest, and greatest of something, especially when it’s a tech toy. I’m also someone who preferred Asus products for quite a while. They usually have some of the best, if not the best features available. I’ve also considered them to be some of the best products at their price range. This new router is packed with advanced features. Let’s pop it open and see if it’s something you need to run out and get.
Introducing the New Asus Wifi Router: RT-AC68U
When I read the “official” name of this new Asus WiFi router, I was immediately reminded of some of my English friends with what seems like seven or eight names. The full product name of this router is the Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless AC1900 Gigabit Router, more than a mouthful. Asus introduced a couple of truly excellent routers last year, and this one builds on and expands their excellence.
The second benefit is that the higher frequency that it operates on means that it can deliver a much faster connection between device and router, with the five GHz frequency delivering a connection speed more than twice that of the lower frequency’s 600 Mbps at 1.3 Gbps. No, you won’t need that capability yet, but you probably will soon as I outlined last year. The unit also has two USB 3.0 ports to connect it directly to a computer.
This New Asus WiFi Router Tests as the Fastest Currently Available
Some of my colleagues and Asus put the RT-AC68U through its paces recently and it has repeatedly proven itself to be the fastest WiFi currently on the market. Honestly, it’s probably too much router for most of us at this time, as most of our equipment won’t support the speed it’s capable of — yet.
I need to clarify that statement. First and foremost is the fact that very few broadband providers are ready to offer Gigabit speeds yet, with Google being one of the most notable exceptions to that rule. Also, most of the devices you use regularly, unless they were bought very recently, can’t use the full speed because they don’t support Wireless AC. Most of them, at best, support 802.11n wireless, which is only capable of about 600Mbps throughput. However, I have been hearing news in the industry that equipment suppliers are going to start delivering products to the broadband providers which will make all of them capable of offering Gigabit Internet service. I see most providers being able to offer an affordable Gigabit package most likely by the end of 2015.
The Problems Start with Case Design
This new Asus WiFi router is an overall excellent product. My personal biggest issue with it is the design shortcomings of the case. Sure, the three antennas are detachable, which is great. However, I have a small and cluttered desk, with no room to put my external drives, let alone anything else. The RT-AC68U has to sit on something, though. Something like my desk, or a shelf that I don’t have. There is no provision for easily mounting it to a wall.
While not a deal-breaker for me, not being able to easily affix it to my wall does add extra hassle to installing it. I’d have to figure out where I need it installed for the best overall reception throughout and then find or make space for it, or fashion some sort of bracket or shelf. I’ve already got holes in my wall for router mounting, though.
Fast and Easy Setup with Many Advanced Features
The new Asus WiFi router RT-AC68U is also one of the quickest and easiest routers to configure and set up. One the router’s side you’ll find a button for Wireless Protected Setup (WPS) an almost automatic way to connect your devices to the router easily. Press the button, or enable it in the web interface and you’ve got two minutes during which other WPS-enabled clients can accept configuration settings from the router instead of having to configure them by hand.
The router also comes with a setup/configuration CD, which to me has been added so they can charge a few extra dollars. I say this because the CD isn’t needed. You can simply plug the router into a computer by cable, launch a browser, and the setup interface will come up, same as it would if you used the CD. You are then walked through the configuration process including setting network and router security options.
Too Many Advanced Features to Mention
For parents of kids that are allowed online without supervision, this router is awesome. It’s got built-in parental controls that allow you fairly granular control over the sites your kids can see. There’s also an option within the interface to select individual devices on the network and interact with them.
I mentioned earlier that there are two USB 3.0 ports. You can use these to connect computers physically if you run out of network ports (it’s got four Gigabit ports). I’ve got an old computer that I’m turning into a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. I’m going to connect it to the router so I can share it across the network without having to open my network up.
Check out the features and specs and let me know in the comments below what you think.