ASUS Blue Cave review: Different looks, great performer! - Page 2
Wireless network performance
Before sharing the data from our measurements, let's take a look at the apartment that was used in our testing and how it is set up. You can see that the router is placed in the living room. With most wireless routers, the signal strength is not that high in places like the Kitchen and the Medium balcony.
Our testing was done using a fast 1 Gigabit Internet connection that is capable of uploads on the internet of up to 500 Mbps. We used an HP Spectre 13 laptop for all our measurements and several software tools.
To get a better perspective of the performance offered by ASUS Blue Cave, we compared it to TP-Link Archer C2600, and the older ASUS RT-AC3200. We analyzed the 2.4 GHz band first and measured the signal strength with inSSIDer. You can see below how the signal strength evolved from room to room. ASUS Blue Cave was not the best at this metric, but it performed well in most rooms.
Next, we used SpeedTest to measure how fast the internet connection offered by this router is when using 2.4 GHz wireless network. ASUS Blue Cave impressed us with excellent download speeds across all rooms.
The upload speeds were just as impressive, which is something you do not often see when testing a wireless router.
Continuing our measurements on the 2.4 GHz wireless network, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network. ASUS Blue Cave surprised us once again with excellent performance.
The same story was repeated when measuring the upload speed.
Our testing has shown that ASUS Blue Cave delivers excellent speed on the 2.4 GHz wireless band.
For the next set of measurements, we analyzed the performance of the 5GHz wireless band. First, we looked at the evolution of the signal strength, from room to room. This time, ASUS Blue Cave was the best performer of the bunch.
Then, we ran SpeedTest to see how fast the internet connection is when using the 5GHz band. To view the maximum potential of this router, we used the world's only PCI-Express network card with support for 4x4 MU-MIMO: ASUS PCE-AC88. When we used this network card, we obtained a maximum speed of 741.54 Mbps for the download and 491.10 Mbps for the upload. Impressive by any standards.
To get back to earth, and everyday devices people use, we took our HP Spectre 13 laptop and measured the download speed with SpeedTest, in every room of our test apartment. ASUS Blue Cave was not the fastest in all rooms, but it delivered excellent download speed in all rooms.
When measuring the upload speed, the speeds achieved were even higher.
For the last measurements on the 5GHz wireless network, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network. ASUS Blue Cave was excellent in all rooms, except the one furthest from the router.
When measuring the upload speed, we had great results one more time, with the same room being the exception.
ASUS Blue Cave is capable of delivering high-speed wireless network connections, on the 5 GHz band, especially if you have modern devices with support for the latest WiFi standards.
Wired network performance
To test the quality of the wired Ethernet connection, we used a desktop PC, equipped with an Intel Core i5 4460 processor, running at 3.20GHz, 16GB of RAM and a very fast Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD, and a Lenovo IdeaCentre 610s mini PC.
We measured the speed of the internet connection when using a 1 Gbps Ethernet cable, using SpeedTest. ASUS Blue Cave had no problems in achieving the maximum potential of our internet connection.
NOTE: The TP-LINK Archer C2600 router delivers only 140.47 Mbps for the upload speed because, when we tested this router, our internet connection was capped at 200 Mbps for the upload speed. The same cap was valid when we tested the ASUS RT-AC3200.
Then, we ran a network transfer between the two computers, using the PassMark Performance test. ASUS Blue Cave delivered speeds that were close to 1 Gbps both for the download and the upload.
The Ethernet ports on the ASUS Blue Cave truly work at 1 Gbps, both for the download and the upload.
We connected a portable SSD drive to the ASUS Blue Cave, through the USB 3.0 port and then we used LAN SpeedTest Lite to transfer data to and from it and measure the speed. As you can see below, the USB 3.0 port on the ASUS Blue Cave is amazingly fast, reaching 437.28 Mbps for the download speed.
Users will be delighted with the speed potential of the USB 3.0 port on the ASUS Blue Cave. It is just excellent.
ASUS Blue Cave AC2600 is part of a new wave of wireless routers that are integrated with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and IFTT (If This, Then That) - a service that automates tasks that might otherwise be repetitive or unable to talk to each other. With the help of these services, you can do things like "Alexa, ask ASUS ROUTER to upgrade the firmware" or get an email when your child gets home and connects his or her smartphone to the home WiFi.
Security is a significant feature in ASUS Blue Cave, and it is all provided by the AiProtection module, which includes several tools and options:
- A comprehensive Router Security Assessment tool which verifies whether your router's settings are secure. When it finds problems, it proactively informs you and takes you where you need to fix things.
- Malicious Sites Blocking - an efficient cloud-based module that blocks malicious websites on all the devices that are connected to your network.
- Two-Way IPS - an improved two-way intrusion prevention system that protects all your network from spam, DDoS attacks, network attacks and more. Additionally, it also scans the packets that are sent from your network to the internet.
- Infected Device Prevention and Blocking - if your network devices get infected, and they become zombies in malware networks, they are automatically blocked by your router, and you are informed about this problem so that you can fix things.
- Parental Controls - some of the best you will find on wireless routers, with cloud-based filters for internet content, that do not need manual maintenance based on user-created block lists. You can also use them to schedule how much time your child's devices are allowed online every day.
The ASUS Blue Cave wireless router also includes many other features that you can find on other ASUS routers too:
- Guest Network - you can enable up to three wireless networks for each band, with individual security and access settings.
- Adaptive QoS - an intelligent QoS (Quality of Service) tool that you can use to analyze and prioritize network traffic efficiently.
- Traffic Analyzer - offers visual traffic statistics which give you a clear picture of how your network is used and by which devices.
- USB Applications - apps that are designed to work with all kinds of devices that you can connect to the router using USB: external hard disks, printers, and 3G or 4G dongles or modems.
- AiCloud 2.0 - a mobile app that keeps you connected to your data wherever and whenever you have an Internet connection. With it, you can access the folders shared in your home network from your Android or iOS smartphone or via a personalized URL
- IPv6 - modern support for IPv6 addresses that will soon become the norm, replacing IPv4.
- VPN - you can set the router to work as a VPN server, and you can also use it to turn your network-connected devices into VPN-enabled clients, without additional VPN software required.
- Network Tools - for analyzing the network and identifying what's wrong. They are useful when you need to troubleshoot problems.
- Dual WAN - excellent for both small businesses and professionals who require always-on Internet connections. You can also use a dual WAN to improve the quality of your internet connection and get the best possible performance.
- DDNS - a service that allows you to connect to the router from the internet, even if your internet provider gives you a dynamic public IP address.
The ASUS Router mobile app for Android and iOS is another useful feature. With it, you can configure most of the features found on this router, straight from your smartphone or tablet. Through recent updates, ASUS has added the possibility of using it from anywhere on the internet, to remotely manage your home network.
The ASUS Blue Cave wireless router packs many premium features and tools that will be useful to its users. Some of them are aimed at families, others at professionals, and many of them are useful to any user who wants security in their smart home.
What is your opinion about ASUS Blue Cave AC2600?
You have arrived at the end of our review, and you know our opinion about the ASUS Blue Cave AC2600 wireless router and how it performed in our testing. Did our review convince you to purchase it? If you already have it, please share your experience in a comment below.