Whether you’re into competitive gaming, 4K video streaming, or just a typical internet user, the Asus RT-AC86U will keep your network safe and running smooth like butter. The RT-AC86U is a high-end dual-band router powered by a speedy 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and has an AC2900 speed rating.
Asus has built on the AiMesh firmware platform allowing you to pair multiple routers together to create a customized “Mesh” Network. The RT-AC86U supports this newly developed AiMesh technology, but it also features some of Asus’s latest technologies that it has implemented into some of its most powerful routers, such as the MU-MIMO, the WTFast game accelerator (useful for online gaming), the AiProtection (by Trend Micro) and the Adaptive QoS.
Futuristic look, But Not Versatile
There’s something inherently fearsome about the RT-AC86U’s red-eyed angular angry bee look. It features a rectangular case covered with a black matte finish with a diamond pattern on top. The RT-AC86U’s matte black and red color scheme and design offer a refreshing change from the typical uninspired black box design that you see with most routers.
As compared to the AC1200G or the typical router, the Asus RT-AC86U is very sleek as it stands upright with three antennas, a few status lights with an overall compact design. It consists of four Gigabit (LAN) ethernet ports and a WAN input on the rear along with a USB 2.0 and a super-fast USB 3.1 port. However, the only trade-off is that you can’t lay it down flat or mount it on a wall which some of the routers in the market can.
Top-notch Performance on the 5GHz Wireless Frequency
The performance of the Asus RT-AC86U is very impressive, especially on 5GHz. With NitroQAM™ technology, maximum data transfer rates on the RT-AC86U’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks are 750Mbps and 2,167Mbps respectively, giving RT-AC86U combined total speed of 2,917Mbps. Whether you’re playing an online game in a heated competition or streaming a live video at 4K UHD, buffering and lag are simply not an option.
Reliable Long-range Performance for Singapore’s HDB
RT-AC86U features a innovative antenna design and the new Range Boost technology. It also has an extra internal 5GHz antenna to provide the ultimate 5GHz quad-stream performance. Both Wi-Fi range and signal stability improve dramatically. AiRadar further focuses Wi-Fi signal on your devices, making your Wi-Fi faster, clearer and stronger. RangeBoost also significantly improves mid- to long-distance Wi-Fi coverage.
From tests, it shows that the ASUS RT-AC86U is able to provide a stable signal throughout a typical Singapore’s 4-room HDB apartment. With the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) near the main door, and the modem/router being setup at the same position, the ASUS RT-AC86U is able to cover from the living room all the way to the common bedrooms. The only issue is that none of the routers (AC1200G or RT-AC86U) are able to cover the far-most main bedroom.
Features: MU-MIMO, WTFast and Adaptive QoS for Better Online-gaming
MU-MIMO technology allows the Asus RT-AC86U to connect to multiple devices and simultaneously provide Wi-Fi to each at their top speed. The only thing is that your device needs to have MU-MIMO-capable hardware to make use of this feature, which is only made available on the 5GHz band.
The Gamers Private Network® (GPN®) from WTFast® performs route optimization automatically, choosing the most efficient route for game packets. This will result in consistently-lower ping time and minimal packet loss. This optimization is good for accelerating one selectable device at a time, so you can enjoy the best results on supported competitive multi-player online games.
QoS features on the Asus RT-AC86U give you easy access to prioritize your network traffic. You can use the adaptive QoS’s automatic settings to prioritize selected types of traffic like games or streaming. You can also manually set which traffic and devices get priority.
Asus also included a commercial grade security, AiProtection, together with Trend Micro. This feature will provide your connected devices with extra protection from malicious attacks and viruses. The feature monitors your entire network to prevent attacks as well as neutralize any devices that may get infected. You also have easy access to parental controls to restrict access to certain sites on your devices.
The Verdict: ASUS RT-AC86U
The ASUS RT-AC86U is a router that cooks up decent wireless performance from a gamer-friendly recipe. Its performance puts some of its competitors to shame, while keeping the price point to a lower budget. However, as compared to the basic Asus AC1200G, the RT-AC86U does not outperform much in terms of signal coverage.
The addition of high-end features like MU-MIMO, advanced traffic prioritization with extras like GameBoost and AiProtection, makes Asus RT-AC86U a perfect router for gamers looking to improve their HDB home’s network. It’s powerful enough for all your current devices and ones you get in future. If you are looking for a boost in signal coverage, then you might want to look somewhere like using a WiFi Mesh (TP-Link Deco, Asus Lyra System, Netgear Orbi, Google Wifi or Linksys Velop) or simply adding another WiFi Extender to your home.