We made the Asus RT-AC68U our A-List router when we first reviewed it at the end of 2013, but despite a six-month gap, it remains superior to most of its rivals when it comes to all-round performance. Its vital statistics still stack up well, too. As far as wireless is concerned, its top link speeds of 1,300Mbits/ sec over 802.11ac connections and 600Mbits/sec over 802.11n are as good as any on test. Don’t forget, though, that you won’t experience the 600Mbits/sec link speed unless you have an adapter that supports 256-QAM (TurboQAM) over 2.4GHz; currently, few support the standard.
Nevertheless, there’s plenty else here to get excited about. At the rear of the router are four Gigabit LAN ports, accompanied by a single Gigabit WAN socket. You get one USB 3 port and one USB 2, a switch to toggle the LEDs on the front on and off, and the three removable antennas can be positioned to help you fine-tune the direction and spread of your network’s coverage. Software-wise, the RT-AC68U is extremely simple. Its web interface is sensibly laid out and easy to get to grips with, and it makes advanced features (such as remote access to router settings, and enabling media streaming and cloud storage via the iOS and Android apps) embarrassingly pain-free to get running.
There’s little to complain about when it comes to performance. Over 802.11ac, the RT-AC68U is no longer king when it comes to raw throughput. In our testing with the latest firmware version, transfer speeds hit a top speed of 64.8MB/ sec, which is fast, but trails the best we’ve seen. The RT-AC68U’s real strength is its consistency across all connection types. At long distance, its 802.11ac speed moves up the table, and gets much closer to challenging for top honours. Only three other routers are quicker. At close range to our 3×3 stream, TurboQAM-enabled PCI Express card, 2.4GHz 802.11n speeds hit a table-topping 33.3MB/sec.
Even without a full-speed adapter, however, this excellent router gives a stunningly consistent performance. Targeting our 2×2 stream iPad Air at close range, transfers over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n connections outstripped every other router on test. At long range over 802.11n, only the Netgear Nighthawk was faster.
When we plugged in our USB 3 drive and tested it across a Gigabit link, the performance was second to none, hitting a top speed of 63.6MB/sec. If you’re looking for your router to double as a NAS, this speed - coupled with DLNA, iTunes and FTP servers, a torrent downloader, Time Machine support and cloud sync tools - makes the RT-AC68U a prime candidate.
The Asus is a cracking wireless router, and one that we recommend to anyone looking to move into the world of 802.11ac. Its all-round speed is what impressed us most, performing just as well with slower 802.11n devices as with superfast 802.11ac units. It misses out on the Labs Winner award this month by a hair’s breadth, only because the Netgear Nighthawk is slightly quicker. If you buy the Asus RT-AC68U, however, you won’t be disappointed. Price £144 (£173 inc VAT) Supplier www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk
You may also like New huawei ascend Y320 check out ShoppeLinks.com for more information and pricing.