WiFi 6, AX. It’s the next generational leap in WiFi technology. But even though it’s the new standard of WiFi there really aren’t a whole lot of router options available yet for WiFi AX. Well, ASUS has you covered with their RT-AX88U WiFi Six Gaming Router.
Big thanks to ASUS for sending this out for review!
What’s in the Box?
Do note that this is a review unit so it may be missing a few things compared to a brand new retail unit. Thus, you may find a few extra things if you buy one.
But included in the box is the RT-AX88U Router itself, 4 Antennas, the AC power adapter with international plugs included. You also get some documentation which includes a quick start guide to help you get started.
Design and Features
Design wise this is a very nice looking router. It’s sleek and very minimalist design will fit in with most decor. On the top of the router is the ASUS logo with some ventilation behind to help keep the processor cool. Looking down you will find all the indicator lights for power, internet, WiFi etc.
Going around to the front of the router you will find a USB 3.0 port, more details about this further in the review as well as two buttons one to turn off the LED indicator lights and one to turn WiFi on and off.
Moving around the backend or the business end as I like to call it. Here you will find the 8, yes 8, Gigabit LAN ports to connect all the things in your house with Ethernet. As well as the WAN port, another USB 3.0 port, DC barrel jack and the main power button, WPS button and a reset button.
The overall design of the ASUS RT-AX88U is quite nice, it’s sleek and modern as well as having that gamery touch to it which I think all of us gamers can appreciate.
Time for the features, and boy is this router packed full of them.
The first one I want to mention is link aggregation on LAN 1 and 2. This is a great feature to have if you have a managed switch like I do. Being able to have more throughput to your devices is essential these days as we become more and more connected. One thing I would have liked to have seen is at least one 10gig port on the router as it is a really powerful router and having a 10g port would just make it all that bit better.
WiFi Six 802.11ax standard
This is the main selling point for the RT-AX88U, the fact that it uses the new standard of WiFi. AX WiFi for those who don’t know is the next generation of WiFi technology offering better efficiency and higher throughput for compatible devices as well as giving stronger WiFi signals and faster speeds.
Ultrafast WiFi speeds
The ASUS RT-AX88U is capable of up to 6000Mbps over WiFi! Which means even in the busiest of areas where there are a lot of intercepting signals you should still be able to get good speeds over WiFi
Wider Coverage and abundance of ports!
With 4 antennas and 8 Gigabit ethernet ports you’ll be able to have good WiFi in every part of your home. Or you can choose to run all your devices hardwired by taking advantage of the 8 LAN ports available on the RT-AX88U.
With ASUS’ AiProtection Pro, which is powered by Trend Micro, you can block all internet security threats on connected devices to keep a safe and secure home network
Compatible with ASUS’ AiMesh technology
The ASUS RT-AX88U is compatible with ASUS’ AiMesh technology to connect multiple compatible devices around your home to make a mesh network for great seamless connectivity all over your home. Believe me, having a mesh network really makes a difference!
Smart Home Ready
Smart home ready. Yep, that’s right. The ASUS RT-AX88U can be linked to Amazon Alexa or IFTTT for smart home connectivity. You can ask Alexa to do things like turn Guest WiFI on and off, turn on game mode or turn the internet off if you want to have some family time.
Powerful Quad Core Processor
The ASUS RT-AX88U features a top-of-the-line 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU. They claim it is more powerful than many desktop CPUs but I don’t remember the last time I saw a 1.8GHz desktop CPU.
Now for the nitty gritty for those who are interested in it.
Setting up the RT-AX88U is really easy, once you have all the connections done all you gotta do is turn it on, connect it to your PC and go to the router configuration page. Here you will go through the steps to setup the SSIDs and security as well as config the admin info ect. Yours may also need a firmware update like mine but it didn’t take too long.
Having a good router is one thing but having a good backend management system is absolutely essential. The ASUS RT-AX88U’s web management is quite intuitive and easy to use with all the configuration menus off to the side. I will note that the web management system does look quite outdated, kinda looks like something from a 2012 router but effective nonetheless.
What can you do from the web management you may ask? Well, let me inform you.
From the main landing page you can do things like change the SSID and passkey on the fly with the panel on the left. Having it so accessible is really nice compared to some routers that have this hidden away in advanced settings. Here you can also see how many clients are connected, see your WAN IP, config DDNS and see what USB devices are connected to the router.
Next up we have the guest WiFI management to turn guest WiFi on and off and to be able to set passwords for the guest WiFi. If you’re unsure what the difference is between your main WiFi and guest is. Guest WiFi limits the networks access of devices connected to that network meaning if you have things like servers or devices you don’t want your guests accessing, that can’t do so when on guest WiFi.
Now for ASUS’ AiProtection feature powered by Trend Micro. This keeps all your connected devices safe by scanning your network for any vulnerabilities and doing things like blocking malicious sites on the router end so that they can’t be accessed by any devices connected to the network.
Another one here is parental controls for all the parents out there. Here you can set up schedules for devices that you don’t want to access the internet after a particular time. As well as app and website filters so that your children can’t access adult only sites.
Having a place to monitor what is sucking up all that precious bandwidth is great to have. I’ve seen a lot of routers where this isn’t a factory feature and I have always wondered why brands aren’t doing this. I really like being able to see who is taking all my precious bandwidth. Another thing you can do from this page is setup QoS (Quality of Service) which helps reduce things like latency and packet loss. This is really important while playing a game as high pings and packet loss can really affect your gaming experience.
There are a few cool things on this page, one of them being the 3G/4G dongle. Having an LTE backup is great when your main internet connection goes down. And if you live in Australia you would know that this happens more often than most may think! You can also set up things like AiDisk to share files over the internet. Or a print server to share your printer over the network to allow multiple devices to send prints to one printer.
Now for the smart home settings. On this page is where you will find all the information to help you link your router to Amazon Alexa to control it via voice commands. I have multiple Echo and Alexa devices around my house and being able to control things by my voice is awesome! It would be awesome to see Google Assistant integration but Alexa is still great nonetheless.
Performance, this is probably what most of you are here for. The ASUS RT-AX88U is a super powerful router. It really does offer superior performance over most other routers I have tested. The range of WiFi is great and I was able to reach my WiFi from about 20 or so metres from the router. Speed wise the router also does a great job of giving a consistent speed all over my house. I don’t have a very fast internet connection as the max I can really get here is about 40Mbps.
Testing file transfers over LAN worked flawlessly as well. Giving me around about 960Mbps for local file transfer over Gigabit connection between my main PC and my QNAP NAS.
Pricing, this is where there is a bit of a downfall for this router. It’s quite pricey coming in at $570 AUD on Amazon Australia. And $350 USD on Amazon.Com. Though at the time of writing it is on sale on both Amazons
The ASUS RT-AX88U is a superior router made for gamers. It offers great WiFi coverage, excellent low latency WiFi and a whopping 8 Gigabit LAN ports. I would like to see a new version with a 10gig port. This coupled with an updated interface would me amazing. But apart from that I can’t really complain about anything! And for that reason, I have picked this as my number one choice for a router!
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Disclosure: The above Amazon link(s) is an affiliate link, meaning i get a small percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you.
Disclosure: The ASUS RT-AX88U review sample was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are of my own and not paid.