Performance Summary: It is time to crown a new king in the world of wireless routers. The ASUS Rapture GT-AX11000 dominated the category in 5GHz testing, outpacing Netgear's Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) and Linksys' Max-Stream AC5400 across the board. When testing right next to the router or across the room, we saw UDP throughput comfortably exceed 900Mbps, and even encroach on 1Gbps territory. Performance took a predictable hit when moving our client PC outside and further away from the router, but the GT-AX11000 still posted the best throughput of the bunch. And in our dead zone area, where wireless signals sometimes have a tough time reaching, it topped 250Mbps in UDP testing, which is around 16.5 percent faster than the also-impressive Nighthawk mustered at that spot. Testing on the 2.4GHz band was not quite as impressive, particularly at 50 feet away. But overall, the GT-AX1100 is all the all-around fastest router we have tested to date.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router - Find It At Amazon
routers are not exactly plentiful at this early stage, but even so, the bar has been set. For now, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the router to beat in our opinion, all things considered. It is the fastest router we have tested, usurping Netgear's Nighthawk AX8 for the throne, and boasts one of the best dashboards that is equal parts polished and robust. It can also be a bit overwhelming for inexperienced users, but to our eyeballs, there is not a better looking or more well appointed dashboard (among routers) out there.
The physical design of the router itself is another story. Some may love the aggressive design while others might hate it. Given that the target audience is gamers, the ROG design language fits the bill, right down to the ROG logo with RGB lighting that sits on top. It's also large and somewhat unwieldy, thanks to no less than eight external antennas that surround the router. Big designs have become the norm in the high-end router space, and ASUS does nothing to buck the trend.
Given that ASUS is pitching this as a gaming router, related amenities abound. There is the 2.5G 'Gaming' LAN port, for one. It's a nice inclusion, though we feel like there is a missed opportunity for bragging rights by otherwise sticking with the usual assortment of four Gigabit LAN ports rather than baking in an eight-port switch, especially since gamers are more apt to flood a router with wired devices.
Beyond the extra multi-gig LAN port, the GT-AX11000 serves up a handful of software-side optimizations, primarily through its Game Boost technology. That is a fancy way of referring to Adaptive QoS, which in turn prioritizes gaming packets (it can also be configured to prioritize other types of Internet traffic, such as streaming media). There is also a value-add in terms of the WTFast integration. WTFast is a standalone service that anyone can subscribe to, but buyers of the GT-AX11000
(and certain other routers) can use it for free.
These are thoughtful amenities that potentially give the GT-AX11000 an advantage over competing routers, though not every gamer is interested in using QoS controls or the WTFast service. Fortunately, these things are more like add-ons to an already fleshed out router. There are plenty of knobs and dials to play with, and for now, the inclusion of three bands makes this router a rarity among an already rare category (Wi-Fi 6 routers).
All that said, the same caveat applies to the GT-AX1100 as it does for other Wi-Fi 6 routers. There are very few Wi-Fi 6 devices and adapters at the moment, so the big advantage of a Wi-Fi 6 router—being able to better communicate with multiple gadgets simultaneously—goes untapped for the time being. Samsung's Galaxy S10
family is a rare exception, but even having just one Wi-Fi 6 device is not really taking advantage of the technology. On the flipside, this router is built around a powerful platform, so even if you don't take full advantage of its wireless capabilities at first, its processing power is top notch and will afford more reliable support for multiple devices.
Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 routers are backwards compatible. Buying one now is a future-proofing move, as far as that is possible, though the cost is steep. The GT-AX11000 streets for around $37
0, and the ASUS RT-AX88U (AX6000) model is not a whole lot cheaper, at $334.99 (street)
What it boils down to is this—if you already own a high-end Wi-Fi 5 router, by all means, keep on trucking and upgrade another day, when there are more options to choose from and presumably cheaper models as well. However, if you are in the market for a new router and plan on going with a performance model, then by all means, hop into Wi-Fi 6 territory. Since they are now available, it makes far more sense to spend several hundred dollars on a Wi-Fi 6 router than it does to buy a Wi-Fi 5 model, if that is the pricing tier you are looking at regardless. Maybe it will last until your devices catch up, maybe not. Either way, the first couple of Wi-Fi 6 routers we have tested are exceptionally fast and full-featured, none more so than this one.
Fastest router we have tested to date
Supports Wi-Fi 6 features
- 2.5G 'Gaming' LAN port
Polished and robust dashboard
Fast USB file transfer performance
- Geared towards gaming via QoS controls and WTFast integration
- Big and unwieldy
- Not many devices fully support Wi-Fi 6 features yet (though it's backwards compatible with prior Wi-Fi standards)