Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router review: A cutting-edge Wi-Fi router that has it all

Cisco Linksys EA6500

105.7124.6

D-Link DGL-5500

97.6156

Amp Wireless RTA15

64.8141

On the 2.4GHz, where generally the speed suffers the most from signal saturation, the Asus RT-AC68U offered a huge improvement, with 225Mbps at close range and 211Mbps at long range. This proved that the TurboQAM technology really works. I tried the router with some with existing non-TurboQAM clients, and I saw some improvement there, too.

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in megabits per second)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Range

Throughput

Asus RT-AC68U
211.4225

Apple AirPort Time Capsule

27.683.8

Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

38.479.4

Amp Wireless RTA15

35.274.6

D-Link DIR-868L

55.663.3

Motorola Surfboard eXtreme SBG6782-AC

18.863.1

D-Link DGL-5500

4158.6

WD My Net N900 HD

1658.1

Trendnet TEW-812DRU

3752.8

Netgear R6300

41.651.2

Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H

7.240

Asus RT-AC66U

15.236.8

The router also offered exceptional range in my testing, with the effective range of about 200 feet. In my trial I could even connect to it from more than 300 feet away. Note that I tested the router at CNET's offices, where there are walls and many Wi-Fi devices that are out of my control. Generally, walls shorten the reach of a Wi-Fi signal, and other Wi-Fi devices create interference. As with all Wi-Fi routers, your results may vary depending on where you live.

The RT-AC68U also passed my 48-hour stress test easily on both bands. It didn't disconnect once during this time.

For the router's network storage feature, I used a fast portable drive with its USB 3.0 port and the router was also very impressive. Via a Gigabit Ethernet connection, it offered a write speed of 41MBps and a read speed of 53.86MBps, the fastest I've seen among routers that support this feature. In fact, it was faster than even some dedicated NAS servers. At these speeds, all you need is a sizable external hard drive and your home network storage is set.

NAS performance via wired Gigabit Ethernet (in megabytes per second)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Read

Write

Buffalo CloudStor
78.644

Asus RT-AC68U

53.8641.2

Seagate Central

74.439.5

Apple AirPort Time Capsule (summer 2013)

28.6725.8

Corsair Voyager Air

50.419.7

Asus RT-AC66U

9.616.7

Asus RT-N66U

1116.5

D-Link DIR-868L

12.8112.5

Asus RT-56U

1311.9

Belkin N900 DB

17.69.1

D-Link DIR-827

15.88.5

Netgear WNDR4500

8.27.9

Netgear WNDR4000

7.26.5

Cisco Linksys E3200

4.54

Belkin N750 DB

6.92.7

Belkin Play N600 HD Router

31.4

Conclusion

The new Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router marks a new milestone in what you can expect from a home router. In addition to excellent Wi-Fi coverage, the router offers fast wired speed and has enough power to work as home server for media streaming, data sharing, and even personal cloud services.

The unique features, such as built-in VPN, Dual-WAN, and the advanced network tools also means that the router will also serve well as gateway for a small business. So far, of all the routers I've reviewed, this is the most impressive.

Note, however, that this is just the beginning; soon there will be more routers supporting the Broadcom BCM4709 chipset as well as more and more Wi-Fi clients that share the same TurboQAM technology. It will be interesting how the RT-AC68U will stack up against them. For now, if you're looking for a router that has it all, and can afford the $220 price-tag, this is it.