A Top Gaming and More Router: Asus RT-AX86U

A Top Gaming and More Router: Asus RT-AX86U

Written by Mark Williams, In Gadgets, Published On
February 25, 2024
, 70 Views

In Shorts: 

  • The Asus RT-AX86U is a top Wi-Fi 6 router value because of its quick wireless performance, great features, and futuristic security.
  • It offers high bandwidth for gaming and 4K streaming, lag-reducing game optimisations, and free network security updates for around $250.
  • The RT-AX86U is valuable unless you require enterprise-level software or complex gaming controllers.

The Asus RT-AX86U is a high-performance Wi-Fi 6 router built for speed, range, and versatility. With its gaming optimisation features, Multi-Gig WAN port, and lifetime security updates, this router aims to be a top contender for gaming and everyday use. This in-depth review examines the RT-AX86U’s design, performance, setup process, configuration, and overall value to help you determine if it’s the right router for your needs.

Asus RT-AX86U Specs

Asus RT-AX86U

Wireless Specification 802.11ax
Total Rated Throughput AX5700
Number of Wired LAN Ports (Excluding WAN Port) 4
Number of USB ports 2
Number of Antennas 3
Number of Bands 2
Wireless Networking Security WPS, WPA2, WPA3

Design – A Unique Origami-Inspired Look

Sporting an angular, origami-inspired design, the RT-AX86U distinguishes itself from more conventional, rounded routers. The router measures 9.0 x 6.7 x 3.1 inches and stands vertically on its base. Three external antennas can rotate and angle to optimise signal strength.

Despite having only three antennas compared to some routers’ 4-8 antennas, the RT-AX86U incorporates internal antennas for robust wireless coverage. Its ample ventilation prevents overheating during heavy loads. The router has a two-year warranty and uses Broadcom chipsets.

Highlights:

  • Angled origami aesthetic
  • 3 external + internal antennas
  • Good ventilation for cooling
  • 2-year warranty
  • Broadcom chipset

With its unique look and solid engineering, the RT-AX86U delivers on aesthetics and functionality. The antennas provide flexibility without looking like a porcupine.

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Performance – Fast Speeds, Good Range

Asus RT-AX86U

In our testing, the RT-AX86U had excellent wireless throughput numbers and a good overall range. At 15 feet, it achieved 929 Mbps – faster than Netgear, TP-Link, and Linksys competitors. At 50 feet, speeds dropped to 285 Mbps but improved again farther out.

The router effectively penetrated walls and ceilings, too. It maintained steady connections during saturation testing with multiple 4K video streams, demonstrating its ability to handle heavy loads.

Key Performance Stats:

  • Top speed: 929 Mbps (at 15 feet)
  • Range: Up to 95 feet
  • Wall penetration: 698 Mbps (at 25 feet)
  • Ceiling penetration: 615 Mbps
  • No lag with 4K video streaming, gaming, downloads

For the price, you’d need help finding a router with a better blend of throughput and range. The RT-AX86U delivers plenty of bandwidth for gaming, 4K streaming, large downloads, and busy networks.

Setup – Quick and Easy with the Mobile App

The setup process for the RT-AX86U takes under 10 minutes, thanks to the intuitive mobile app for iOS and Android. Simply plug in the router and connect it to its wireless signal, and the app will walk you through the steps to configure your new network name and password.

The process involves creating an Asus account, installing settings, and updating firmware. No complicated menu configuration is required. Asus’ app makes setup a breeze compared to routers lacking mobile apps.

Setup Highlights:

  • Asus Router app for iOS and Android
  • Intuitive step-by-step process
  • Takes under 10 minutes
  • Requires Asus account creation
  • Auto-updates firmware

With such an easy, quick setup via mobile app, even networking novices can have the RT-AX86U up and running in less than 10 minutes. It’s one of the most user-friendly router setup experiences available.

Configuration – Robust Controls via App or Browser

Asus RT-AX86U

You can manage the RT-AX86U’s settings via the mobile app or a web browser interface. The app provides an intuitive and visual way to monitor your network status, configure basic settings, and more. For maximal configuration options, the browser interface is ideal. It grants access to advanced wireless settings like channel widths, transmission power, and more. You can tweak almost every setting imaginable to optimise your network’s performance.

Configuration Highlights:

  • App for essential monitoring and settings
  • Browser interface for advanced controls
  • Tailor wireless settings like channels, encryption, and BSSID
  • Optimise bandwidth for gaming with Quality of Service
  • Enable link aggregation for faster LAN speeds
  • Configure guest networks and parental controls
  • Adjust firewall, port forwarding, and security options
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Whether you just want to set up a guest network or finely tune your Wi-Fi performance, the RT-AX86U provides every tool you need via app or browser.

Gaming Features – Lag-Busting Optimizations

Gamers will appreciate the gaming-centric features built into the RT-AX86U. A dedicated gaming dashboard enables optimisations like speeding up game data with QoS prioritisation, boosting mobile game performance, and opening NAT for reduced latency.

The Advanced section allows configuring Signal Strength Threshold to ensure you connect to the most vital bands. Port Forwarding is available, but the router lacks geo-fencing and a server latency heat map.

Gaming Features:

  • Gaming Dashboard to toggle gaming features
  • QoS Prioritization to accelerate game data
  • Mobile Gaming Mode to improve mobile latency
  • Open NAT for reduced lag
  • Ability to adjust Signal strength Threshold
  • Port Forwarding but no geo-filtering tools

With its gaming tools and class-leading wireless performance, competitive players will gain an edge with the RT-AX86U to stay a step ahead online.

Security – Free Lifetime Protection

The RT-AX86U’s built-in AIProtection Pro shields your network against malicious threats using Trend Micro security. This software blocks dangerous sites, prevents intrusions, and thwarts malware without installing anything on your devices. Best of all, AIProtection Pro has unlimited free security updates to protect you from emerging threats. Costly subscriptions aren’t required to stay protected.

Security Highlights:

  • AIProtection Pro network security powered by Trend Micro
  • Blocks viruses, malware, bots, ransomware
  • Prevents network intrusions
  • Filters out dangerous websites
  • Lifetime free security updates

With robust all-in-one security and a value-added system of unlimited free updates, users can rest easy knowing the RT-AX86U safeguards their network 24/7.

Value – Excellent Bang for Your Buck

Asus RT-AX86U

Offering top-tier wireless performance, a gamer-friendly toolkit, and future-proofed security, the RT-AX86U packs tremendous value at just $249 MSRP. Considering the class-leading throughput, range, warranty length, and unlimited security updates, it’s a bargain compared to more expensive competitors.

Value Propositions:

  • Fast Wi-Fi 6 speeds and range
  • Packed gaming feature set
  • Lengthy 2-year warranty
  • Lifetime security updates
  • $249 MSRP (often discounted lower)
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You’d be challenged to find a router delivering this speed, features, and future-proof protection at the RT-AX86U’s affordable price point.

PROS CONS
Simple setup and administration Only fit for vertical mounting
Wide area network Average performance in both long-range and file transfer
Amassing links
Strong anti-malware and parental controls

Why You Should Buy It?

  • Fast speeds up to 929 Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Good wireless range of 95 feet in testing
  • Easy setup in under 10 minutes with mobile app
  • Mobile app and browser dashboard for intuitive controls
  • Gaming features like QoS prioritisation to reduce lag
  • Lifetime free security updates with AIProtection Pro
  • A two-year warranty provides peace of mind
  • Origami aesthetic stands out from typical routers
  • Packed with value at just $249 MSRP

FAQ

Does the RT-AX86U work with all internet providers?

Yes, the router is compatible with any cable, DSL, fibre, and satellite internet provider. It auto-detects your connection type.

Do I need special skills to set up this router?

Thanks to the mobile app walkthrough, anyone can get the RT-AX86U operational in under 10 minutes without any network expertise.

Can I manage the router remotely when I am away from home?

You can access the router dashboard from anywhere via the mobile app or by logging into your router account. This allows remote monitoring and configuration.

Does this router support Wi-Fi 6 devices?

Absolutely. With support for OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 160MHz channels, and other AX features, the RT-AX86U fully leverages Wi-Fi 6 clients.

How many devices can connect wirelessly at once?

The router can handle over 100 devices connected simultaneously thanks to its 802.11ax technology. Normal household usage poses no problem.

Conclusion

With a blazing throughput of up to 929 Mbps, robust QoS and gaming features, and unlimited security updates, the Asus RT-AX86U represents one of the best overall values for a high-performance Wi-Fi 6 router. It may lack some advanced gaming tools but makes up for it with a polished user experience, great range, a lengthy warranty, and excellent bang for your buck. For most users seeking fast, future-proofed Wi-Fi, the RT-AX86U is a top recommendation.

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