Both Netgear and Asus are multinational companies that make networking products. This article will look into two of their most renowned Wi-Fi routers. Both of the products have top-notch features that provide a fast and reliable internet connection.
People are often confused between modems and routers. The ASUS RT-AC86U and Netgear R7000 are both routers. A router’s main function is to send data packets to their correct destination. A huge network of routers connected together sends and receives data from each other constantly. When one router gets a data packet, it analyzes and reads the header in order to determine which point to send it to next.
Without a good quality router, your data is most likely to lose its way or reach its required destination slower. It also lets you connect multiple devices to one internet connection simultaneously. Modems, on the other hand, convert digital and analog signals into each other before transmitting or receiving.
Our Top Pick
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?
Buying a router can be intimidating and confusing because of the many technical specifications that are labeled on the packaging. Beginners or first-time buyers often do not know the insights of these details. Let's look at some of those things so you can make an informed decision.
The speed of the router is advertised as actual real-life speed, but in reality, the numbers are theoretical. The real rate, more often than not, matches the theoretical one. You should look at the specs and read some online reviews to compare both actual and hypothetical speeds.
If you are going to be using the internet for HD and 4K video streaming, then you should go for a speed no lower than 25 or 30 Mbps. Otherwise, you will experience buffering. You also should take into account that there will be other people using the same router, and that can cause your speed to slow down.
Memory space within a router is just as valuable as on a computer or mobile phone. These days, our entire homes with all the various devices are connected through Wi-Fi or wireless connectivity. Whether it’s our phones, laptops, TVs, or security systems. And there are also multiple users connected to the same router, so it should be able to handle all the load that you might need to put on it.
The router processors are classified as single or dual-core. A dual-core will, of course, be the better choice, but it will come with an increased price tag. 256MB is considered a good enough RAM memory space.
Routers run on a specific frequency, and you are not the only one using that frequency. The more people that use it, the more congested it becomes, and that affects your speed no matter how fast your internet is. This is why many modern routers have dual or more frequency bands.
This means that you get two (or more) internet signals. The most commonly used is the 2.4GHz signal. Because it is common, it has more traffic, especially if you live in a crowded area.
So, for extra speed, you use other higher frequencies, such as the 5GHz. This band has less traffic since it covers less area. The 5GHz frequency is compatible with the newest internet standard as well i.e., 802.11ac.
Setting up the router used to be considered a technical task, but these days many companies have launched user-friendly applications that let you set up the router and password quickly. They can also be used from anywhere instead of having to connect directly to the router first. These apps also have firmware update options and security scans. So, you should look for routers that are compatible with such apps to make things easier for you.
Rt-AC68U vs. R7000 Comparison
The following two routers are made by well-known, trusted companies, and both have a bunch of incredible features. Let’s compare both to determine which one will suit your needs better.
In today’s internet-dependent world, hacking has become much easier than you would think. If encryption is not reliable enough, anyone can easily hack into your network and even make use of your data. They can also read and use information that is being sent back and forth from all your devices. Another thing a hacker can do is that they can get access to, and even activate your webcam. This also gives them a way to install viruses in your network systems and devices. These can further create vulnerabilities in your system.
There are three most common types of encryption on routers.
WEP was introduced as a security algorithm in 1997 with IEEE 802.11 wireless standard. It has 40 to 104 bits encryption key and, at the time of its release, was the most used encryption in routers. But it has since then become obsolete.
After several vulnerabilities in the WEP standard started to emerge in 2003, WPA was announced. It was a precursor to the more complex WPA 2 and came with the IEEE 802.11i standard. It uses TKIP to encrypt and authenticate the key.
This is the most recent version. It uses AES encryption and is the most secure up to now. AES is considered the best encryption, but it, too, is becoming vulnerable.
The ASUS RT-AC86U has the MPPE encryption for secure remote access. This encryption is used for VPN. Other than that, it uses WPA2-AES encryption.
The Netgear R7000 has both WPA and WPA2 with PSK, VPN connection, and 802.11i standard compliance, so it is clearly the winner in terms of encryption.
WPS or Wireless Speed Rating
The speed labels on the box are not exactly the actual speed you’ll get on your actual connection. The real-time speed depends hugely on several factors. Your router’s maximum speed should be able to handle the speed offered by your internet provider.
ASUS RT-AC8U is a dual-band router with a total speed of 1900Mbps with 600Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps for 5GHz. It has five Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 3.1 port as well.
The Netgear R7000 has similar options for Wi-Fi speed, as it is a dual-band router as well. Both of them have a 1GB dual-core processor, which makes them better for gaming and streaming. However, the R7000 has a better range and throughput. It has multiple antennas to improve its range and performance. Therefore, the Netgear router wins this round.
Routers run on two frequencies or channels, i.e., 2.4 GHz, and 5GHz. The 5GHz band has less interference and is faster too. There are some routers and even router-modem combinations that are specifically designed to provide faster streaming for a better user experience. These are known as dual-band or tri-band. As the name suggests, they use two or three frequencies simultaneously. This lets them increase the number of devices that can be connected at a time without chances of lagging.
Both of the products under review have Dual Band and Dual-Core processors. The RT-AC86U has a 256MB RAM, but the R7000 has an extra 128MB flash memory. R7000 also has GIGABIT Wired specifically designed for gaming and video. So, it will be our pick for streaming and 4k gaming purposes.
Price is an important consideration when buying any product. Normal routers are generally not too expensive. You can expect to pay as little as $50 for a router. But if you need more features and better security, the price range can go up to $200 as well.
The R7000 has a relatively lower price than the RT-AC68U. The difference is not hugely significant, but still, it is there. But you have to consider that the RT-AC68U does have a USB 3.1 connection, which can be considered a plus point and a value-adding feature for the extra money.
Our internet connections are mostly connected to our cable. DOCSIS is an interface that lets you receive cable and internet from the same connection or send internet data over an already existing cable network. You usually have a combined package of Wi-Fi and cable and sometimes also telephone. The latest version of this is DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1, which offers higher speed than the older versions.
The ASUS router has a 3.0 compatibility, whereas the Netgear product has DOCSIS 3.1 compatibility, so it is the clear winner.
Rt-AC68U and R7000 Differences
Both of these routers have many similar features, as we saw above, but there are a few differences as well.
Other than the basic speed and frequency aspects, there are several other features that modern routers have, to improve user experience and convenience.
The R7000 has a mobile app named Circle. This app is for time and content management, sort of like parental controls. You can set the number of hours of daily use along with a bedtime setting for family devices. You can also set protections for every family member according to their age.
Netgear also has a cloud service called Netgear readyCLOUD. It lets you connect your USB device to the router and upload files on the internet free of charge. There is also Netgear armor for data protection.
The ASUS R7000 uses AiMesh to connect several routers to create a stronger network. It also has a TrendMicro powered protection system. There is the feature of adaptive QoS that lets the user determine the bandwidth allocation to each app and device.
Both of these routers follow similar standards of connectivity, but where the price seems to be one of the very few differences between the two. The ASUS router has a slightly higher price than the Netgear one.
Overview of Our Winner
Choosing a winner among two very similar products is difficult, but the Netgear R7000 outperforms the ASUS router in major terms. Such as range and reliability. This router falls in the AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi category, which means its overall speed is 1900Mbps. It has a 1 GHz dual-core processor, which gives it a better range than single-core routers. The Smart feature automatically selects the right frequency for you, depending on your speed requirements.
Because this router is Dual Band, you get a smoother experience and don't get as much lag. This is perfect for HD video streaming and gaming. The R7000 has three external antennas to amplify the connection and provide more stable mobile access. This lets you enjoy the same speed internet throughout the house. It makes both wireless and wired connections. Gamers often prefer a dedicated wired connection.
This router also has a USB 3.0 port for fast data transfer and ReadySare Printer that connects wirelessly. To improve speed, reliability, and range, this router uses BEAMFORMING + and simultaneous dual-band. Which means everyone can enjoy their separate connection and speed.
There is also a Nighthawk app and ALEXA compatibility to make settings and updates easier. It has an OpenVPN for secure internet surfing and parental controls. The encryption standards meet the latest requirements like 802.11i, 128-bit AES with PSK. You can also create a separate guest account to secure your network from outside access. Also, the router has a double firewall and denial of service attack prevention.
The Netgear Armor protects antivirus and ransomware. You can also run complete scans to identify flaws and possible threats. With this app, it is made remotely accessible, so your network remains safe always. The Nighthawk app also has speed checks and easy setup options.
It uses Dynamic QoS for a better streaming and gaming experience. What QoS does is check your internet usage and determine how much bandwidth you need. If you need more and there is traffic on your network, it will resolve the issue for you. This is done by allocating more bandwidth to applications that need it and reducing speed for less demanding ones.
When choosing a router, it is important to check online reviews and articles because many of the specifications listed on the package are theoretical and don’t give quantitative results. You should do your research before buying the router. The Netgear nighthawk router series is considered a reliable and high range series. The R7000 router is one of the most outstanding routers ever made by Netgear and is a go-to choice for all types of users.