Reviewing ASUS RT-AC86U: High-end performance and great hardware!

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 is the latest wireless router launched by ASUS worldwide. It is a beautiful router, with modern hardware, support for all the latest wireless technologies, and top-notch performance. If you would like to see what you get from this premium router, read this detailed review and comparison with other routers in its niche:

What is the ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 router good at?

ASUS RT-AC86U is a perfect choice if:

  • You want great online gaming experience with the minimum latency possible
  • You desire a fast wireless network, on the 5GHz band, with support for the latest networking standards and features
  • You prefer advanced firmware that is very customizable and offers complete control
  • You want an advanced mobile app from which you can personalize almost everything your router has to offer
  • You desire the best security you can get for your smart home

Pros and cons

There are several great things about the ASUS RT-AC86U:

  • Top-notch performance on the 5GHz wireless frequency
  • Useful features for online gaming that minimize your latency
  • Excellent security features that will secure your smart home on many levels
  • Modern hardware that can handle many clients and simultaneous connections
  • You get an advanced smartphone app for administering your wireless router
  • Great multi-lingual support and easily accessible Help documentation

Cons:

  • You cannot mount it on walls, and it can be used only in one position
  • You cannot use the smartphone app from anywhere on the internet
Product Rated
5/5

Verdict

ASUS is famous for its over-the-top wireless routers, with tons of features, eccentric looks, powerful hardware, and high prices. One such example is the recent ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, which is one of the most sophisticated wireless routers ever created. ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 tones it down a notch. Its looks are less eccentric, and its hardware and features are a bit more down to earth. So is the price. This router will most probably replace the very popular ASUS RT-AC87U and it is a significant upgrade over its predecessor in many ways. If your budget is not limitless, and you want a high-end router, with good performance, excellent security, and useful gaming-friendly features, ASUS RT-AC86U is a well-balanced choice that you should consider. We recommend it to all our readers.

Unboxing the ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 wireless router

The ASUS RT-AC86U wireless router comes in a big black box, made of cardboard, with a big picture of the device on its top. On the back, you can see some information about the unique features of this device, like its dual-core processor and commercial-grade home network security features.

When you open the box, you get to see the router and a big leaflet about the WTFast gamers private network service that is available with this router. This wireless router is aimed both at enthusiasts who require great wireless coverage and top-notch security, and at gamers who want the lowest latency possible when playing online.

When you unbox everything, you find the following items: the wireless router, three detachable antennas, the power adapter, an Ethernet cable, the warranty, the quick start guide, technical support information, and the leaflet about WTFast mentioned earlier.

The unboxing experience offered by the ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 wireless router is a pleasant one. The packaging includes all the accessories you need for setting it up.

Hardware specifications and design

ASUS RT-AC86U is a modern, dual-band router, with a total maximum bandwidth of 2900 Mbps, split as follows: 750 Mbps for the 2.4 GHz frequency and 2167 Mbps for the 5 GHz frequency. Since this is a very new router, it offers support for all the major wireless networking standards, including 802.11ac Wave 2 and 802.11n. It has three external antennas and one internal antenna.

ASUS RT-AC86U has a powerful dual-core Broadcom BCM4906 processor running at 1.8 GHz, 256 MB for storing the firmware and 512MB of RAM. This is powerful hardware for a wireless router.

It is a medium-sized router, with 8.7 inches or 22.09 cm in width, 6.3 inches or 16.02 cm in height, and 3.3 inches or 8.38 cm in depth, without the bezel. It also weighs a total of 1.9 lb or 861 grams.

On the back of the router, you can find the Power button, the DC socket, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.1 port, the WAN port, a button for controlling the LEDs on the front of the router, and four Ethernet ports at 1 Gbps.

On the right side of the router, you will find a button for WPS and one for turning the WiFi on and off. On the front of this router, there are many LEDs: one for showing whether the router is powered on, one for the 2.4 GHz band, another for the 5 GHz band, one indicating the status of your internet connection, and one for each of the four Ethernet ports, showing whether devices are connected to them or not.

If you would like to learn more about the official specifications of this wireless router, you should go to this page: ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 Specifications.

Setting up and using the ASUS RT-AC86U wireless router

ASUS RT-AC86U can be set up just like any other router. When you load the quick setup wizard in a web browser, you are first asked to change the default username and password, which you should. Then, the wizard detects the type of your internet connection and asks for the necessary details. Once that is done, you can set the name and password for the two wireless bands that are broadcast by the router.

When the initial setup is over, you are shown a summary of your settings, and you can then load the administration user interface. As you can see below, the interface of ASUS RT-AC86U wireless router looks the same as on all modern ASUS routers. It is very well organized, and finding your way should be easy both for knowledgeable users and for beginners. If you have a network with many devices, you will appreciate the Status tab, on the Network Map, which shows the resource consumption for the processor and the RAM, as well as the speed of each Ethernet port.

As always with ASUS routers, the help documentation is easily available. One way is to move the mouse over a setting and, when it turns into a question mark, click on it. This displays a tooltip with more information about that setting. You also get links to FAQ documentation in several sections with settings.

The user interface is available in nineteen languages, which you can see below.

When we finished configuring everything on the ASUS RT-AC86U router, we connected all the devices from our network: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart plugs, smart bulbs, consoles and a wireless printer. We had no issues when connecting any of them. Also, the wireless network broadcast by ASUS RT-AC86U was fast and stable in our whole test apartment. The only downside that we identified is the fact that you cannot mount this router on walls. Also, it can be placed only in one position.

Overall, we are pleased with this router’s operation, its speed, ease of use and configuration. We had no stability issues, and the wireless network was fast everywhere in our test apartment.

If you would like to learn more about the real-life performance of this router and our benchmarks, read the next page of this review.