montage of asus wifi router

ASUS NEW WIFI 6 ROUTER SETS THE STANDARD FOR USABILITY AND POWER

Reviewing and testing out as many devices as I do means that I need a great internet connection and a great router, which makes it kind of unusual that I haven’t reviewed more routers. So when ASUS offered to send me the new RT-AX68U that was unveiled at CES 2021, I jumped at the opportunity.

You might know ASUS as the company that makes great gaming products under their ROG line and for their unusual and sometimes over-the-top laptops with more display real estate than Times Square has billboards, but not many people know that they also make really great routers as well.

First Impressions

Unboxing the router, the first thing I noticed is the design, specifically the chrome accent along the top of the black plastic device. It’s clearly plastic and not exactly my taste, but it fits in with the not subtle or boring design that most routers usually go for. If there’s one thing that ASUS isn’t, it’s demure.

Having said that, the AX68U isn’t an ugly device and, instead it looks like something somewhat alien and futuristic, and I wish that the brand had pushed the design even further.

The router features three external antennas on top of the device with four Ethernet LAN ports and two USB ports for connecting printers and other peripherals, on the back.

Set up

Setting up a router sounds more complicated than it actually is, especially in the case of this ASUS router. The design might make it look somewhat intimidating but it’s arguably one of the easiest routers I’d ever set up in my life and took me just a few minutes.

A companion app exists for both Android and iOS devices and not only does it make setting up the router ridiculously simple, it also gives you an impressive level of control over your internet.

Usability

One of my favourite features is the SmartConnect feature which gives you the option of fusing the 2.4GHz and 5GHz into a single unified network and then intelligently steers you between the two depending on your location in your home and which one has the better signal strength.

WiFi 6 is the real selling point of this router. If you’re wondering how WiFi 6 differs from “normal” WiFi, The Verge has a great explanation here.

As the first WiFi 6 router I’ve tested, I wasn’t sure what to expect but the AX68U definitely exceeded my expectations. While I don’t have a 100Mbps fibre connection, I was nonetheless getting impressively fast speeds that made it seem like I’d upgraded my entire line. Deadspots were nonexistent and I didn’t even have to setup the ASUS AiMesh system.

Asus has a companion app for this router which brings extra features such as Instant Guard, a means of securing your device when connecting via public WiFi.

The companion app for the router also features great security options including the ability to set up a guest connection for visitors, the ability to block unsafe links and spam, and the ability to see which device – and therefore which person – is accessing unsafe sites, and all traffic passes through AIProtection Pro which scans for threats without you having to lift a finger.

The best part about the app is not the myriad of options it provides you with but how easy it is to use and navigate.

Verdict

The AX68U is a fantastic router that prioritises protection and ease of use. I’m currently testing a WiFi 6 router from a different manufacturer and the difference is very evident. Despite also having mesh network capabilities, this router is not as powerful or as capable as the ASUS RT-AX68U.

If you’re looking for a WiFi 6 router that could form part of a mesh network, then you’d be hard pressed to find better than this.