Asus RT-AX86U is a souped-up version of the RT-AC86U, but this time with Wi-Fi 6 and increased speed capacity. The wireless performance of the latter was excellent, making it so popular over the years. So, what can you expect from the Asus AX86U gaming router?
The addition of a multi-gig internet port and the new wireless standard is a welcome change. But compared to other gaming routers like Asus GT-AXE11000 and TP-Link Archer C5400X, it lacks features like geo-fencing and latency map of gaming servers.
So, considering this and other aspects, is it worth going for this? Does it deliver good performance for $250? Let’s find out through the detailed review of the Asus RT-AX86U.
Asus RT-AX86U Specs
Rather interested in practical performance? Skip to the Asus AX86U review.
|Wireless Standard||Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)|
|Aggregated Speed||AX5700 (5700 Mbps)|
|2.4GHz Speed||861 Mbps|
|5GHz Speed||4804 Mbps|
|WiFi Range||Up to 2,000 Sq Ft|
|Maximum Device Capacity||Up to 30 devices|
|Ports||4 x Gigabit LAN + 1 x USB 3.1 port|
|Security Standard||WPA3-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise|
|Dimensions||9.53 x 3.94 x 12.8 inches|
|Release Date||July 30, 2020|
Asus RT-AX86U Review: 2 Weeks Later
I put the Asus AX86U gaming router under stress test for over two weeks, pairing it with the CM2050V multi-gig cable modem. And to determine its full potential, I subscribed to the Xfinity 2 Gig plan and used this setup in varied scenarios. Now, find my experiences and thoughts about this device across diverse parameters.
1. Wireless Speeds & Suitability
The router ingrains dual-band WiFi, and the total combined speed capacity is 5700 Mbps. The aggregated speed is further distributed as follows:
|2.4 GHz: 861 Mbps||5 GHz: 4804 Mbps|
In my throughput tests, the device went neck to neck with some big boys regarding speeds and overall signal quality.
I observed the speeds of the Wi-Fi 6 device from 10 feet away. As in the speed test result snapshot below, the 5 GHz band enjoys impressive download and upload speeds of 1919 Mbps and 114 Mbps, respectively, which is excellent.
With such speeds, you can do quite a lot. For instance, Netflix requires around 25 Mbps of internet speed for its 4K streams, so theoretically, you can stream videos on as many as 38 devices simultaneously. Besides, downloading a 10GB file would take as much time as an Olympic runner takes to complete a 100 run.
The gaming router also performed decently well when client devices were placed at a distance. At around 50 feet, speeds did drop by 27%, but it’s still capable of streaming 4K videos on approximately 20 devices. That’s still high for a residential setup.
On the other hand, the Asus RT-AX86U speed in the 2.4 GHz mode was also fairly decent. The download speeds on my Dell laptop clocked at 802 Mbps, while uploads happened at 86 Mbps. I could play games, stream videos, and attend video calls simultaneously.
So, if you need a reliable performance from a router but aren’t willing to delve into elite models, Asus RT-AX86U gives out the goods without eating up your savings.
2. WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity
There’s no point in having lightning-fast speeds if the connection drops two walls away from your router. The range is important, even in a small apartment, and the Asus RT-AX86U antenna position lets the signals travel an area of up to 1,600-1,800 Sq Ft. So, any space equivalent to a two-bedroom apartment setup should be a cakewalk for this gaming router.
Other than that, these antennas boast advanced networking technologies like AiRadar beamforming, OFDMA, and 1024-QAM to boost WiFi signals through concrete walls. Connecting it to multiple devices yields better connections than routers that lack these. Overall, I could connect up to 25 devices without producing any lags or latencies.
Another feature worth mentioning is the game boost, which minimizes latency and lag for mobile gaming with a tap on the Asus router app.
3. Design & Wired Connectivity
Designwise, Asus RT-AX86U isn’t bad-looking. It’s not a droid platoon like its older brother, but with dimensions of 9.53 x 3.94 x 12.8 inches, it sits tall on your shelf. As it sits upright, it acquires less table space than bulky routers in the retail space.
Besides, it’s a bit lighter, weighing around 1.83 inches, so it probably won’t hurt your back when moving it around.
Concerning ports, there aren’t plenty as in RT-AX88U, but with four LAN ports, it offers you a fair amount of options for wired connection. These ports support link aggregation, so you can combine two IPs to double up on your speed output.
Besides, a 2.5G dedicated gaming port lets you pair a multi-gig internet plan and get a lightning-fast gaming experience. In my wired speed test, it gets maximum speeds of 1.98 Gbps for download and 267 Mbps for upload, which lets you enable five more 4K streams than in a wireless connection.
Other than that, there are two USB 3.1 ports for faster file transfers. You can connect your peripheral devices like printers and flash drives, besides even charging your smartphones on low power input.
4. Security Features
Those who have used Asus routers before must know that their security features are the best on offer, and that too for free. You get a lifetime free AiProtection suite that includes routine security checks, WPA3 password protocol, ad blocker, malicious website detection, and elimination.
Asus has got your home network and client devices locked down from external threats. Regarding parental controls, Asus has fully covered you with features like blocking network access for specific devices, applying the age-based filter to prevent kids from watching explicit content and pausing WiFi.
These are meant especially for parents to ensure their kids are safe online. But you can choose to be creative with your approach if you wish.
5. Asus RT-AX86U Setup
Like most routers in the market, setting up the Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 is easy as it gets. Over the Asus app, there’s a manual with simple instructions which you must follow to get it done.
Start plugging the power and Ethernet cable into the power wall socket and modem. Then use your smartphone or laptop to access the Asus router app, and connect to the router using Bluetooth. Once done, sit back and tap through the on-screen instructions to get the process done and dusted.
Besides, the router is Alexa voice control supported, so you can use voice controls to get the setup done.
6. Hardware & Other Features
Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 dual band WiFi 6 gaming router scored almost ten pointers in this department. With a 1.8GHz Quad-Core processor, the router breezes through nearly anything. Over my two weeks testing period, I haven’t noticed any lags or network throttles.
Besides, there is 1GB RAM and 256MB flash memory, providing ample space to store data and firmware updates.
Asus RT-AX86U: Pros and Cons
- Supports multi-gig internet plans
- Easy installation and management
- Lifetime free network security
- Excellent wireless & wired speeds
- Lag-free gaming experience
- Excellent port setup
- WiFi range could be longer
- Vertical mount only
Frequently Asked Questions
The first Asus RT-AX86U arrived on the market on July 30, 2020.
Like other standalone routers, AX86U must connect to a separate modem if you have DSL or cable internet. Or else you won’t manage to connect to the internet and run your internet-bound devices.
As per the manufacturer, RT-AX86U is among the best wireless routers for a 2000 Sq Ft house. But as far as real-life tests go, your client devices will receive stable and lag-free connection if placed in an area of 1,800 Sq Ft, which is close to the claim made by ASUS.
Considering the throughput capacity and features Asus RT-AX86U AX5700 WiFi 6 router boasts, you can connect 25 devices.
The RT-AX86U is a superior choice over its sibling model Asus RT-AX86S by boasting additional features like a 2.5G WAN port, more RAM, and better throughput capacity. But the latter costs a few dollars less, so if you need an integrated gaming port and better RAM, I would suggest going for RT-AX86U.
As for a mid-range Wi-Fi 6 router, RT-AX86U costs less than elite routers like TP-Link AX1500, Asus GT-AXE11000, TP-Link Archer C5400X, and others. But, the throughput capacity is not very far away from these, comes with some advanced gaming features, and ingrains an integrated 2.5G WAN port for better gaming performance. This makes it a worthy purchase for gamers and heavy network users.
With great performance and great value, RT-AX86U certainly ticks a lot of boxes, qualifying as the best mid-range gaming router. It has some unique gaming-oriented features that let you game with peace of mind. If it suits your needs concerning the area to cover and internet plan, purchase this one without giving it much thought. I recommend it.
Asus RT-AX86U is one of the top mid-range gaming routers with the latest Wi-Fi 6, dual-band frequency, and a 2.5 Gbps WAN port to support multi-gigabit internet plans. An easy setup and app-based management make it worth buying in 2023.
Below are my overall ratings:
- Speeds & Throughput: 4.5 / 5
- Ports & Connectivity: 4.2 / 5
- WiFi Coverage & Devices Capacity: 3.8 / 5
- Ease of Setup & Use: 4.5 / 5
- Security Features: 4.3 / 5
- Hardware & Performance: 4.5 / 5