Developed by ASUS, the dual-band RT-AC88U is equipped with countless features and delivers an excellent performance. It’s a bit expensive, but with 4x4 MU-MIMO and four Gigabit LAN ports, it boasts cutting edge technology, enabling you to future-proof your investment.
The model truly takes wireless networks to new heights. NitroQAM technology boosts and enhances Wi-Fi speeds for everything and everyone connected to the network, while the lightning-fast and wide range WAN/LAN speed undoubtedly makes the RT-AC3100 amazingly well-rounded.
To help you decide whether the ASUS RT-AC3100 is a worthwhile investment, this guide covers its features, pros, cons, and its ideal uses. So, make sure you stick through till the end before finalizing your purchase!
This model has numerous amazing features, and listing them all would take an extremely long time. However, its main features include Adaptive QoS, VPN server, AiProtection, versatile USB ports, and multiple guest networks.
Backed by Trend Micro, AiProtection protects your home network from malware and viruses. Moreover, if a device becomes infected, it stops it from sending or transferring any personal data. Once this feature is turned on, certain settings – particularly those with high-security risks, like post-forwarding, remote access, and UPnP – will stop functioning.
Advanced Parental Controls
Equipped with advanced parental controls, this unit helps users monitor and prevent children from visiting inappropriate websites, keeping them safe from viewing any adult content. It also enables users to apply scheduled time limits, restricting the number of hours that each guest account or device can access and use the Internet.
Adaptive Quality of Service allows users to prioritize their bandwidth according to the traffic: gaming, VoIP/instant messaging, video and audio streaming, file transferring, web surfing, and others. Users just need to arrange the types of traffic by priority and leave everything else to the router. A function named ‘apps analysis’ further enables users to monitor the Internet activity and the total upload and download bandwidth being used by any connected device in real-time. This is especially helpful for identifying the application or device that’s abusing your Internet connection.
Furthermore, the RT-AC3100 is designed with MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) technologies, ensuring efficient handling and monitoring of Wi-Fi bandwidth. This model is equipped with the first Broadcom Wi-Fi chip that’s compatible with this technology. MU-MIMO sends multiple transmissions of several different Wi-Fi tiers to multiple devices simultaneously, enabling clients to connect to the speed they need. In simpler words, this technology allows multiple devices to connect at the same time without slowing each other down.
Two USB Ports
Lastly, the unit is equipped with two USB ports. They can be used to connect cellular modems, USB printers, or external hard drives. Connecting a hard drive enables users to set up syncing, PC-less downloads, and to share the drive’s stored data with remote or local clients over the Internet.
The ASUS RT-AC3100 is undoubtedly one of the best modems available today. Some of the advantages of this incredible product include:
4x4 MIMO and Dual-Band Antenna Design Delivers Excellent Wi-Fi Performance
Offering unparalleled wireless signal coverage, it maintained speeds of approximately 850 Mbps at a range shorter than 10ft. on the 5GHz. At a distance of 40 feet, the speed averaged to more than 600 Mbps. While the unit wasn’t as impressive on the 2.4GHz, it was still incredibly fast with more than 110 Mbps for longer distances, and almost 200 Mbps for shorter distances. The unit is further able to cover 2000 ft² on its own if it’s placed near the center.
Extremely Easy to Install
Asus’ innovative Setup Wizard makes installation an incredibly fast and easy process. Once the unit is connected to the Internet and to your PC, the web-based console will launch automatically and will give you the option of manually configuring your router or using the wizard. The wizard will then check the Internet connection, and will set up the unit as a Static IP, DHCP, Dynamic IP, or PPPoE router, according to your selected connection type. Lastly, it will ask you to name every SSID and select a network encryption key for both bands, and then you’re good to go!
Excellent Web Interface
Displaying all connected devices in real-time, the included interactive network map identifies each device by its name and vendor. Users can interact with connected devices, see more information about them, and even rename them. The network map further enables users to access the unit’s other settings, including Wi-Fi settings, WAN settings, and Dynamic DNS. All in all, everything is clearly explained and self-explanatory.
Built-in Access to WTFast GPN’s (Gamers Private Network) Route-Optimized Servers
The RT-AC3100 is the first router that has built-in access to WTFast GPN (Gamer Private Network), a global data network that’s specifically designed for MMO gamers. This network guarantees the optimal transmission of game data between the game server and your computer. The network’s private route-optimized servers are able to lower ping by approximately 60%, ensuring lag-free gaming.
AiMesh Supported Unit Creates a Flexible and Powerful Home Wi-Fi Network
AiMesh creates a single, home-wide network name, eliminating the need for constantly switching between networks as you move around the house. It monitors your device’s signal strength and automatically switches it to another source if the need arises. If the network experiences any disruption, its self-healing capability replaces the failed router with the remaining connections almost instantly. So, even if the network is disrupted, you won’t notice a thing!
However, no router is perfect. Some disadvantages of the RT-AC3100 include:
Comes With a Heavier Price Tag
To put it simply, this unit doesn’t provide great value for money. Although it is an incredible router, it’s a bit too expensive and is designed with plenty of functions and features that you won’t need if you’re on a budget. For example, the 4x4 MU-MIMO is an impressive feature, but it only future-proofs your system and isn’t something you’ll be using instantly.
NAS Performance is Only Average
When connected to a portable drive, the unit’s NAS performance was a bit unimpressive as compared to its Wi-Fi numbers. Through a Gigabit connection, it only maintained speeds of 34 Mbps for reading and 30 Mbps for writing. While this isn’t slow by any means, it’s still not as fast as other models equipped with the same feature.
What is the ASUS RT-AC3100 Best For?
With countless amazing features, this unit can be used for several different purposes. Some of these uses include:
Streaming 4K Multimedia Content
With a 4T4R (four-transmit, four-receive) antenna design, both signal stability and Wi-Fi range are enhanced, making the unit capable of reaching distances of up to 5400 ft. AiRadar beam forming further makes your Wi-Fi clearer, stronger, and faster by focusing the signals on the connected devices. This makes the router perfect for seamlessly streaming 4K multimedia content.
Connecting Multiple Peripherals
Designed with two USB ports and four LAN ports, this model is ideal for individuals who want to connect several wired clients, including NAS devices, home-automation hubs, gaming consoles, and printers.
Low Latency Gaming
Innovative NitroQAM technology delivers a combined Wi-Fi speed of 3167 Mbps, ensuring every person on your network enjoys low-latency online gaming and smooth streaming. As mentioned above, the WTFast GPN performs route optimization automatically, chooses the quickest path for game packets, and ensures minimal packet loss and consistently-lower ping time. The RT-AC3100 offers this optimization for free, enabling users to play the supported multi-player online games without any lag!
Furthermore, you can prioritize gaming and assign the full dedicated bandwidth, using Adaptive Quality of Service. Moreover, with AiProtection, you can confidently disable 3rd party applications and anti-virus programs, and use every available resource to enhance your gaming experience.
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?
A Wi-Fi network is the backbone of our digital lives. Hence, it’s essential that you choose a router that meets your requirements and lasts you a few years. To ensure you make the right decision, here are some features you should consider before you finalize your purchase:
Number of Physical Ports
Although you’ll be buying a router for wireless connectivity, it’s still advisable to consider the number of ports on the unit’s back. Along with providing a stable wired connection to certain devices, it can also be used for flashing the firmware on the unit, and for extra storage.
Wi-Fi Security That Protects Your Network From Malware and Viruses
With the threat of data leaks and hacking increasing day by day, online security has become more crucial than ever. However, quality routers protect your data by scanning all incoming traffic for malware and viruses, preventing them from reaching your phone or computer, and ensuring you stay secure online.
In short, purchasing a unit with even basic security features can be the difference between keeping your data and identity safe, and having it stolen.
Quality of Service
As mentioned above, QoS enables users to prioritize traffic to specific services or devices, making it an essential feature for individuals who have numerous devices connected to the unit at any one time.
All in all, the RT-AC3100 has an impressive feature set, delivers extremely fast throughput performance, and enables multi-client simultaneous MU-MIMO data streaming. While it performed exceptionally in 5GHz and 2.4GHz throughput tests, it was a bit unimpressive when it came to read/write file transfers.
Nevertheless, it boasts a user-friendly interface and extensive management features, including parental controls, mobile cloud services, advanced file sharing, and gamer-friendly QoS settings. However, it’s a bit expensive and not ideal for those on a budget. But, if you’re looking for the best of the best, then the ASUS RT-AC3100 simply cannot be beaten.