Wireless network performance
First, 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 weak in rooms like the Kitchen and the Medium balcony.
Our testing was done using a fast 1 Gigabit Internet connection that's capable of uploads on the internet of up to 500 Mbps. We used a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for all our measurements and several software tools. To get a better perspective of the performance offered by ASUS BRT-AC828, we compared it with TP-LINK Archer AC2600 (a competing router with a similar total bandwidth) and ASUS RT-AC88U (a retail router made by the same company with many similar specs and features).
We started by evaluating the 2.4 GHz wireless network and measured the signal strength offered in each room, using a tool named inSSIDer. As you can see in the graph below, BRT-AC828 offers a signal strength which is close but slightly better than what you get from ASUS RT-AC88U.
For the next set of measurements, we used SpeedTest to measure how fast the internet connection offered by this router is when using 2.4 GHz wireless network. At first, we used an ASUS PCE-AC88 PCI-Express network card, to see the maximum speed we can achieve with high-end networking hardware. As you can see below, we achieved an impressive maximum download speed of 422.30 Mbps. That is very fast for a 2.4 GHz wireless network.
Then, we took our Surface Pro 3 and moved from room to room to make our measurements. The results are shown in the table below. While ASUS BRT-AC828 is not the fastest router in this test, it is very clear that it offers good coverage, including in the rooms that are furthest from the router.
When it comes to uploads, ASUS BRT-AC828 was faster than the other routers.
Continuing our measurements on the 2.4 GHz wireless network, we used LAN Speed Test Lite to measure downloads and uploads when transferring a 350MB file between two computers connected to the network. Here, ASUS BRT-AC828 was the best router of the bunch in several rooms.
The same trend was noticed when measuring the upload speed. Here, ASUS BRT-AC828 has proved to be very reliable, including in the rooms furthest from the router.
ASUS BRT-AC828 offers fast and stable wireless network connections on the 2.4 GHz frequency. We especially appreciate how fast the uploads are, and the quality of the coverage that we received even in the rooms farther from the router.
For the next set of measurements, we analyzed the performance offered by the 5GHz wireless network and we looked at the evolution of the signal strength, from room to room. As you can see below, BRT-AC828 offers a signal strength that doesn't vary so much between rooms, like it is the case with other routers.
Then, we used SpeedTest to measure the speed of the Internet connection on the 5GHz wireless network. At first, we used an ASUS PCE-AC88 PCI-Express network card, to see the maximum speed we can achieve with high-end networking hardware. As you can see below, we achieved a maximum download speed of 612.12 Mbps, which is fantastic. However, the upload speed was limited by our internet provider which caps it at 500 Mbps. We cannot tell what this router is capable of when measuring uploads on the internet.
Then, we took our Surface Pro 3 and moved from room to room to make our measurements. The results are shown in the table below. As you can see, ASUS BRT-AC828 can deliver very fast downloads.
When looking at the upload speed, its performance was spectacular. However, there's one thing to note here: at the time we performed the measurements for TP-LINK Archer AC2600, we had an internet connection which couldn't deliver more than 200 Mbps for uploads. When making this review, our connection has been upgraded to 500 Mpbs.
Continuing our measurements on the 5 GHz wireless network, we used LAN Speed Test Lite to measure downloads and uploads when transferring a 350MB file between two computers connected to the network. Here, ASUS BRT-AC828 was a solid performer.
When looking at the upload speed, ASUS BRT-AC828 was again the uncontested leader. We were pleasantly surprised to see it perform great, especially in the rooms where the wireless signal is not that good.
ASUS BRT-AC828 offers solid coverage on the 5 GHz wireless frequency. Its strengths are the very fast uploads and the wireless coverage it offers in rooms where other routers cannot offer good signal strength and connection speeds.
Wired network performance
For testing 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 drive. We measured the download and upload speeds using SpeedTest. Regarding the download speed, we reached an average speed of 920.2 Mbps. The upload was limited by the maximum allowed by our internet connection - 507.37 Mbps.
As you can see in the graph above, ASUS BRT-AC828 is capable of delivering Ethernet connections that are very close to the promised 1Gbps.
ASUS BRT-AC828 offers an incredible amount of features. Some of them are present also in wireless ASUS routers that are designed for the consumer market, while others are clearly aimed at businesses. The list includes the following:
Permission management - you can create great user groups, each with a specific list of devices so that you can assign different rules and permissions for each.
Access control - you can assign different access rules for different user groups which you have created using Permission management.
VPN - you can set the ASUS BRT-AC828 to work as a VPN server, using the following protocols: PPTP, OpenVPN, and IPSec VPN.
Guest network - this router can broadcast up to six guest networks, three for each wireless frequency.
Brand Name Splash Page - when setting up a guest network for the customers of your business, you can set a landing page, like the Facebook page for your business.
AiProtection - this feature helps keep your network safe, using Trend Micro's cloud protection against security vulnerabilities, malicious sites, infected devices. Another protection layer that's added for business users is a Two-Way Intrusion Prevention System.
Firewall - an advanced firewall that offers the possibility to block different types of commercial applications (not only traditional consumer apps or P2P transfers, like on consumer routers from ASUS), web content filters, as well as a filter for network services.
Traffic Analyzer - it offers statistics on a client or app basis so that you know how your network is used and how much data it is being transferred.
3G/4G dongle - you can plug in a USB dongle from your mobile provider into a USB port on the router and use it as a backup internet connection.
VLAN (Virtual LAN) - Virtual Local Area Networks divide a single physical network into multiple logical networks. Each VLAN forms its broadcast domain and communication between different VLANs is only possible through a router that has been connected to all VLANs. In larger networks, this feature is useful to network administrators.
File Sharing - You can connect one or more storage devices to the router, using its USB ports and then enable file sharing on those devices. Access can be set based on very specific rules.
Dual WAN - ASUS BRT-AC828 promotes the use of two internet connections. The router is cable of doing load balancing to optimize bandwidth, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and prevent data overload for both WAN connections. It can also be set to use one internet connection as a backup for the main connection.
DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) - a service that allows network clients to connect to the wireless router, even with a dynamic public IP address, through its registered domain name.
QoS - a very advanced Quality of Service feature that can be used to ensure bandwidth for prioritized tasks and applications.
Network Tools - a set of tools that you can use to troubleshoot problems on your network.
ASUS BRT-AC828 includes many advanced features that are very useful to both network clients and network administrators.
Pros and cons
ASUS BRT-AC828 has many good things going for it:
- A wealth of functions that are helpful in a business environment
- Network administrators will appreciate the very advanced firmware that is highly customizable
- This router includes many Ethernet ports, as well as support for 250 simultaneous client connections
- ASUS BRT-AC828 was incredibly fast in all the uploads that we have measured
- Top-notch hardware that can offer excellent coverage and reliable wireless network connections
- This router does not focus on being the fastest in the branch, but on providing reliable wireless connections with speeds that don't drop dramatically towards the edges of its area of coverage
- Great multi-lingual support
There are also some minor negatives to consider:
- Because of its many features, the firmware is also slower to respond to commands than on consumer routers from the same brand
- Many of the business-oriented features require a reboot when turned on, which involves waiting for a minute or more until they are applied.
ASUS BRT-AC828 is a wireless router with a very clear audience in mind: business customers. It offers many features that are enjoyed in this environment, and it focuses on critical aspects like a large number of simultaneous client connections, reliability and stability. It is fast, but it is not the fastest router on the market. However, it beats consumer routers in the quality of the coverage that it offers. Also, some of its advanced features are designed to increase the security of the network that is maintained by the router. Overall, we are very pleased with this router, and we highly recommend it to its intended audience.