Gaming routers are the rage, especially among professional gamers. Unless you want to give up your thousands worth of signing contract, get a high-performing gaming router. The ASUS RT-AC86U is one of these routers with killer features, starting with the monster 1.8GHz processor.
With more than 30 years on its belt in designing and making high-quality computers, smartphones, motherboards, and routers, ASUS proves its mettle again with the RT-AC86U gaming router. Since the release of Republic of Gamers (ROG) in 2006, ASUS dominated the gaming world with its gaming laptops, motherboards, graphic cards, monitors, even ROG phones! Everything you ever need for relentless action when gaming, ASUS provides it.
HARDWARE & SPECS
Main Features & Benefits
Better Wireless Throughput
The ASUS RT-AC86U has a theoretical throughput of 2900Mbps. It runs at 750Mbps for the 2.4GHz band and 2167Mbps for the 5GHz band.
NitroQAM boosts wireless internet up to 25% by widening the streams so that bandwidth-hungry 4K streaming and online gaming gets the best output. Low bandwidth budget programs like web browsing and social media use the slower bands. However, those connected on the lower band will not detect any changes in the speed, but the 25% faster throughput makes all the difference in streaming and gaming.
Beamforming and MU-MIMO technology
The ASUS RT-AC86U uses explicit beamforming. Compared to implicit beamforming, explicit beamforming improves the quality of connection by establishing locations and channels where the wireless device connects with the router. Beamforming ensures stable communication by actively seeking out devices connected to it, even if you are in the attic or the basement.
Beamforming serves as the foundation for MU-MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology. This technology allows up to 30 devices simultaneously without affecting bandwidth. The ASUS RT-AC86U has as much as 120% more coverage than non-AiRadar beamforming routers.
1.8GHz Dual-Core Processor
The processor is the brain of the router. With 512MB RAM backing it up, the router’s 1.8GHz dual-core processor ensures high-performance action for gaming and 4K streaming.
Optimized for Gaming
Latency kills any gamer, and ASUS RT-AC86U eliminates that by adding the double gaming boost with an exclusive built-in game accelerator. By establishing an exclusive GPN (Gamers Private Network) from WTFast, you can connect directly to your gaming network using the most efficient route. This technique lowers the ping and latency. This additional feature comes free with the ASUS RT-AC86U. Please note WTFast does not support all games, but it supports most PC games, a few Xbox One games, and a few PS4 games.
The Adaptive QoS also allows you to prioritize gaming bandwidth. Using the ASUS router app or the web user interface, you can easily drag-and-drop the activities you want to prioritize. This QoS works for most gaming consoles, like PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, and Xbox One.
Advanced Security Features
ASUS RT-AC86U also got you covered in security features. Teaming up with Trend Micro to give you a free lifetime ASUS AiProtection Pro, all devices in your network remain protected. In any case, if one device gets infected, ASUS AiProtection protects your data with the Infected Device Detection and Blocking.
It also comes with a firewall to keep out all data packets from an unknown source. Avoid embarrassing moments with kids accidentally opening adult-content sites by blocking them from your network. Additionally, let guests in without jeopardizing your network by giving them temporary access to the Guest Network. The virus database for the AiProtection gets regular updates, so you’re confident of your network protection.
Another great of the AiProtection is the parental controls, schedule block time, filter content, kid-safe presets, and an internet activity dashboard.
Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
It has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to add wired devices such as desktop computers, gaming consoles, and additional Ethernet switches. It also has a separate WAN port to connect to your modem.
Detachable and Adjustable External Antennas
Unlike other routers, this device has detachable and adjustable external antennas. The adjustable antennas improve stability and range within your house. You can point the antennas to areas where more devices usually converge. It also has an internal 5GHz antenna to optimize the 5GHz band.
Further, Range Boost improves mid- to long-distance Wi-Fi coverage so that even if you move away from the router, you stay connected within the 2500 sq ft range.
Turn On/Off LED Indicator Lights
The ASUS RT-AC86U has a switch for the LED lights. These lights can be annoying at night but are very helpful in diagnosing router issues. You can turn these lights off, so even if the router is in your bedroom, it will not annoy you when you go to sleep.
Even the best-designed routers have their cons. Here are some of the most annoying things you need to know about the ASUS RT-AC86U.
Problematic 2.4GHz Band
The 2.4GHz band remains the problem for newer ASUS routers. Fortunately, there are some hacks you can do to improve its performance. The first hack every ASUS router user should try before contacting customer support is the firmware upgrade. Visit ASUS Support to download the latest firmware updates.
Another hack is channel control. Go to your ASUS user interface, go to Wireless, then General Setting. Choose the 2.4GHz band and connect to a different control channel. Tweaking the antennas is a trial and error method that you should try. It works like magic if you hit the right positions.
Placement is the key to your router performance. It is best to locate your router in the house’s central-most part, away from barriers and interference. Physical barriers such as walls and cabinets and interference from electronic devices affect performance.
Troublesome Graphical User Interface
The web graphical user interface for the ASUS RT-AC86U can be confusing to use for newbies. To get it going for the first time, though, forget the browsers you usually use and try the Internet Explorer to log in. You can use Chrome and Firefox later as soon as you have configured your ASUS account.
Lacks Tri-band Frequency
While the 5GHz band runs well on a 2167Mbps theoretical throughput, we would have preferred it if it ran on a tri-band frequency. Splitting this massive throughput in a single 5GHz band to two 5GHz bands would have been more impressive.
What is the ASUS RT-AC86U Best For?
Best for Gaming
After raving on the router’s gaming optimization, would you ask for more? With a built-in gaming accelerator, your gaming experience gets better with less latency and ping variation. The Gamer’s Private Network (GPN) works by creating a direct connection with your gaming network and directing you to the best stream. To distinguish it with the Virtual Private Network (VPN) that keeps your identity protected when using public networks, GPN focuses on in-game connection traffic and prevents overloading your stream.
Best for Mesh Systems
Not all ASUS routers work with the AiMesh system, but this one does. So if you are in an overly-large house or building, you can still connect to your network by adding access points in strategic places.
Best for Editing and Design Programs
Faster and more stable internet makes design and editing programs like AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator work better. If you love working on drawing pads, this router gives you the same excellent performance, too.
Best for File Sharing
The USB 3.1 Gen 1 port is best for faster file sharing, thanks to the 256MB flash memory, with 110Mbps USB data transfer. You can also add a 3G/4G Wi-Fi dongle if you use your mobile hotspot as a backup internet. You can also share your laptop’s hotspot with your friends. It also has a USB 2.0 port for remote printing.
What Buyers Say About the ASUS RT-AC86U Router
Here are some verified reviews from satisfied customers who recently bought the ASUS RT-AC86U router.
We had constant issues with our Wi-Fi, so I decided to upgrade my Motorola 2in1 modem-router to something strong in terms of speed and signal quality. The apartment is 1300sqfeet and has 15+ devices, kids on remote learning, and adults working/studying throughout the day.
Setup was pretty easy, Cox had to do something on their end, which they did, and since then, the Wi-Fi speed equals the nominal speed of the internet provider, no matter what. The app is great, super easy to set up security - Mac Filter - from the web and mobile as well. Parental control was also intuitive so now kids have a daily downtime on their devices. It has even more bells and whistles that still wait to be explored, 2 year warranty gives a piece of mind.
We purchased this in 2017, it works great in our multilevel house, has a great interface with security controls easily explained and configured, and has been reliable. Compared to our previous models it has been fast for TV, phone, internet, etc. And did I say reliable? Still going strong in 2021, would purchase again.
We purchased this for our home primarily because our 6-year-old Linksys Wi-Fi router did not send a strong consistent signal to an upstairs TV. We tried a remote extender, which was an improvement, but we were still annoyed by lots of buffering. The Asus solved that problem wonderfully. Our internet service is 100 Mbps, and that upstairs TV now gets 38Mbps consistently, which is plenty to watch shows (before it varied from 2-14Mbps). Our yard goes back about 200 feet, and I have been building a shed in the far corner and listening to podcasts while working. The router, with a 2.4 GHz connection, sends a good signal and my iPhone is able to maintain a two-bars Wi-Fi signal.
The ASUS RT-AC86U router’s game-optimized features, such as the built-in game accelerator and Adaptive QoS are worth raving about.
The 1.8GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, and 256MB flash memory ensure faster data processing, less buffering, and faster file transfer. The 2900Mbps total maximum throughput also contributes to its winner features.
Lastly, a lifetime free AiProtection keeps your network secure from all malicious websites, viruses, infected device detection and blocking, firewall, and guest network access.