Asus ROG RT-AC88U router designed with gamers in mind features features an 8-port gigabit switch. It is a dual-band model that Asus claims will deliver up to 2.1Gbps of throughput on the 5GHz band and 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz band.
There’s one USB 3.0 port for sharing storage over your network, and one USB 2.0 port for sharing a printer or scanner. Asus says the USB 3.0 port will be 20 percent faster than what’s been available in previous-generation routers “to achieve read speeds in excess of 100MB/s.” The RT-AC88U can be configured as an 802.11ac bridge, so you can put a second one in your home-theater equipment rack and wire up to eight network clients to it. One feature that continues to be unique to Asus is the ability to connect a USB 3G/4G/LTE network adapter into the RT-AC88U’s USB port.
Once plugged in, the adapter can be configured for either load balancing (distributing your bandwidth across wired and wireless Internet connections) or automatic failover protection (if either Internet connection fails, the router will automatically switch over to the other). With mobile data plans being so expensive—especially if you exceed your cap—I suspect the real-world appeal of this feature will be limited.
- Ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi router with a combined dual-band data rate of 3167 Mbps for low latency online gaming, smooth 4K streaming and extremely fast file-sharing
- Broadcom NitroQAMTM technology boosts 5 GHz data rates up to 2167 Mbps and 2.4 GHz up to 1000 Mbps
- 4x4 antenna design with AiRadar universal beamforming for wireless signal coverage exceeding 500 m² (around 5400 square feet)
- 1.4 GHz dual-core processor improves USB and WAN/LAN speed
- Link aggregation supports close to 2 Gbps wired transmission for more devices to enjoy faster access speed
- Up to 4X capacity Wi-Fi with revolutionary MU-MIMO technology
- AiProtection for total security and privacy
- 8 Gigabit LAN ports for 2x the number of wired ports typically provided
- Parental Controls let you manage your family’s web activity and ensure a safe environment for younger users
While having a fast router can help improve local network performance, online gaming depends heavily on WAN performance and efficient connections. Online games often execute an excessive number of hops to transmit and receive game data by default. To address this, the RT-AC88U features a built-in client and free subscription to the WTFast Gamer Private Network (GPN™), which optimizes WAN network routes via dedicated GPN™ servers to ensure consistently low ping times and reduced packet loss. By incorporating this client into the RT-AC88U’s firmware, gamers can access this functionality on any OS without needing to run the client on local machines.
Asus also included its proprietary AiProtection feature, an antivirus, anti-malware service that makes the RT-AC88U the first line of defense from malicious attacks on your network and computers. Asus has yet to provide prices for the new RT-AC88U, but the company did say that the router will be shipping later this quarter.