Introduction and hardware
Wifi-AC has established itself as a true solution for high-speed wireless communications that finally make it possible to take advantage of the fastest internet connections or high-definition video streaming or simply connection speeds that already have much less connectivity to envy. by cable. With the maturity of this technology, new generations of routers are also arriving that are once again taking center stage in our network, doing many more functions and introducing professional solutions in the home environment. The ASUS RT-RT-AC68U is a good example of what I say and now you will know why.
Think of everything you would ask of a router, to have at home, and surely no matter how ambitious your wishes are, you will find in the ASUS RT-AC68U that router that you are looking for or simply wanting. It is a marvel of hardware, it has a careful design, quality details and is solvent in the main features. One of the best routers that we can find in the market and also one of the most complete.
In the ASUS RT-AC68U everything is outstanding and especially its hardware. Count with one dual core processor (ARM) that manages to give life to a router where everything is power and speed. It is accompanied by 128MB Flash memory, for a very elaborate ROM, and of 256MB RAM for quality multitasking. It has the hardware of a modern high-performance NAS.
It is accompanied by first-rate physical connectivity with two USB ports where one of them is of the type USB 3.0 and the other of type USB 2.0. We will also find a four-port gigabit switch and a WAN port also of type Gigabit.
Wireless connectivity is provided by a latest generation Wifi-AC chipset with dual channel, 2.4 and 5GHz, with a capacity of up to 1300mbps for AC in 5GHz mode and up to 600mbps in 2.4GHz mode. The bands are independent, so we can diversify the use of bandwidth, and it has a system of high power (3×3) directional antennas with MIMO functionality.
Your processor has a processing capacity of up to 300,000 simultaneous sessions, no more crashes or problems in P2P or with a large number of users, in fact it can manage downloads by itself, in addition to many other functions that range from controlling printers, network storage, streaming, global connectivity, IPTV, etc. . Let’s go into a bit of detail.
The RT-AC68U is a complete router at the hardware level and also mounts a complete software system that makes it a very versatile neutral router. We can therefore use it in ADSL, FTTH, fiber + coaxial connections, etc. But in some of the cases we will depend on an intermediate modem. This happens with all neutral routers. This model also allows the use of multiple WANs simultaneously with balancing functions. We can use the WAN connector and an additional LAN connector in addition to being able to use 3G / 4G connections through adapters connected by USB port. We can also use it as a VPN server in addition to other more common features such as DHCP, NAT, Firewall, etc.
Another of its renewed features, thanks to the greater power of its processor, is to be able to act as a download center and also as a streaming multimedia center as well as global storage for our network. Through its USB 3.0 connector we can have very high speeds in both Wifi-N and Wifi-AC connections. In fact our performance tests over Wifi are exceptional and its hardware has allowed any USB 3.0 drive that we have connected to develop its full power of read and write speed.
The RT-AC68U has a vertical design to maximize its wireless coverage. The 2.4 mode, by its very nature, will give us more coverage thanks also to the new antenna system, and the 5GHz one will offer us more speed. AC mode only works at 5GHz. On the front we will find various LEDs that will indicate the operation of each physical connector, including the USB, as well as the 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi modes. On the side we have buttons for quick access to WPS pairing and also for activating and deactivating Wifi. We will also find a button on the back with which we can deactivate the router’s LEDs. It seems silly but without a doubt more than one user will appreciate it.
Cloud and other features
Cloud and other features
Any modern router worth its salt must have its own cloud technology that allows us, thanks to the manufacturer’s location services, to access the functionality of our router from anywhere and from multiple devices. In the case of ASUS, we will have ASUS AICloud technology. A Cloud system that will allow us to access the data from the USB drives connected to our router, stream and also upload and download files. It has clients for the main mobile platforms (iOS and Android) and it is completely free. If we have a broadband connection we can watch movies, play music, etc.
This new generation benefits from Broadcom’s advancements in the veteran Wifi-N standard to achieve speeds of up to 600mbps on the 5GHz band. This does not mean that we can use the 1900mpbs through a single connection, the maximum speed of the Wifi-AC is 1300mbps, but it does mean that we can take advantage of part of that total flow using the two bands simultaneously.
One of the best calling cards of this router is its web interface and its configuration utilities that make starting up this router a true child’s play. Anyone can put it to work in a few minutes with one of its “wizards” although the option of an advanced configuration is missed from the first moment, giving options is never a bad thing.
The interface is very visual, similar to that of the UEFI bios of this same brand, very attractive and accessible with a good amount of information and direct links to the most important related functions in each section. It has a good monitoring and logging system and a lot of options to have an almost professional management of our network.
Within this extensive functionality I like the easy and direct way to manage guests on our network. We can quickly limit these guests to only access the internet, without the ability to view or visit our private devices. We can also set up a VPN server with MPPE encryption to access our network directly with confidentiality and as if we were located within it from anywhere in the world.
First-rate performance, as well as a powerful QOS with sensitivity of use, with which to keep the essential services with priority but without leaving the rest in the background when they really have bandwidth and availability.
The storage management capacity of this generation of routers makes it increasingly tempting to use them as a storage medium and save other expensive devices such as NAS with modern features. We can connect a USB 3.0 disk, it can even be self-powered by the router and we will save a device in our network. This router’s processor has the power to manage our high-speed network, our internet connectivity, protect our devices, and at the same time move large amounts of data at USB 3.0 speeds. Here are some of our performance tables in both Wifi-N, Wifi-AC and Gigabit Ethernet using this router as a means of storage management. We have also added another table by moving this same amount of data to a high-performance Intel Atom processor-based NAS. Always using the physical or wireless connectivity of this router.
Recording speed. USB 3.0 hard drive connected to the RT-AC68U USB 3.0 port
Recording speed. RAID 5 connected to Synology DS1511 using the RT-AC68U as a router
With these speeds you can, for example, take advantage of your 100-200mb broadband connection with Wifi, or play high definition content, several at the same time, to any wireless device. Wifi AC is the already real future of this technology and an important qualitative leap that will be adopted by all kinds of devices over the next few months.
Analysis and conclusion
Analysis and conclusion
There are three or four latest generation Broadcom chipset routers that have hit the market in recent days. We have this ASUS, Netgear, Linksys … all brands align with this chipset and introduce modern ARM processors, with frequencies between 300-600MHz capable of taking a qualitative leap in what we know as a home router.
It is too early to see which will be the winner of this generation of routers but without a doubt ASUS is positioned as it has not been in other generations. This router is powerful and accessible at the same time with a fairly well worked firmware and constant development that even allows, even the most experienced users, to make frequency changes (more) in the integrated processor. Details that undoubtedly appeal to the target audience of a high-performance router that in turn wants to detract from home NAS with quite elaborate storage management features for a router.