Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 MU-MIMO Router Review

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How we Tested and Asus RT-AC88U Performance

How we Tested And Asus RT-AC88U Performance
How we Tested And Synology RT1900ac Performance
When we test most computer hardware we typically use a blend of "real world" and synthetic tests, but that can be difficult to pull off with something as unpredictable as wireless networking. There aren't any established benchmarks per say and it is impossible to remove variables in testing environments anywhere outside a laboratory, so as always your mileage may vary. Here in the real world where we test, performance varies according to a variety of factors, including where the router is placed, the size and construction of your dwelling, interference from neighbors, and more. However, we do our best to illustrate both real world and "best case scenarios" with our testing, and for that we relied on the program NetPerf. This tool allows us to setup one PC as a server, and one as a client, and test the connection speed between the two computers. 

The wireless adapter we used for these tests was a Broadcom BCM4360 which is the onboard NIC inside a Macbook Pro we used for testing (running Windows 10 via Boot Camp). We tested at both 20 feet away with line-of-sight, and 30 feet away with two walls separating the computers. We tested both TCP and UDP packets; TCP represents the "real world" expectation and UDP represents the best case scenario. To make things actually "real world" we also connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the routers and tested a file-copy at 20 feet from the router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. Both of the PCs we used for testing were running Windows 10, and we ran each bandwidth test three times and recorded the average of the three runs. We think these tests provide a fair representation of what one can expect in many environments using these routers at medium range.
How we Tested And Synology RT1900ac Performance
When we test most computer hardware we typically use a blend of "real world" and synthetic tests, but that can be difficult to pull off with something as unpredictable as wireless networking. There aren't any established benchmarks per say and it is impossible to remove variables in testing environments anywhere outside a laboratory, so as always your mileage may vary. Here in the real world where we test, performance varies according to a variety of factors, including where the router is placed, the size and construction of your dwelling, interference from neighbors, and more. However, we do our best to illustrate both real world and "best case scenarios" with our testing, and for that we relied on the program NetPerf. This tool allows us to setup one PC as a server, and one as a client, and test the connection speed between the two computers. 

The wireless adapter we used for these tests was a Broadcom BCM4360 which is the onboard NIC inside a Macbook Pro we used for testing (running Windows 10 via Boot Camp). We tested at both 20 feet away with line-of-sight, and 30 feet away with two walls separating the computers. We tested both TCP and UDP packets; TCP represents the "real world" expectation and UDP represents the best case scenario. To make things actually "real world" we also connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the routers and tested a file-copy at 20 feet from the router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. Both of the PCs we used for testing were running Windows 10, and we ran each bandwidth test three times and recorded the average of the three runs. We think these tests provide a fair representation of what one can expect in many environments using these routers at medium range.
How we Tested And Synology RT1900ac Performance
When we test most computer hardware we typically use a blend of "real world" and synthetic tests, but that can be difficult to pull off with something as unpredictable as wireless networking. There aren't any established benchmarks per say and it is impossible to remove variables in testing environments anywhere outside a laboratory, so as always your mileage may vary. Here in the real world where we test, performance varies according to a variety of factors, including where the router is placed, the size and construction of your dwelling, interference from neighbors, and more. However, we do our best to illustrate both real world and "best case scenarios" with our testing, and for that we relied on the program NetPerf. This tool allows us to setup one PC as a server, and one as a client, and test the connection speed between the two computers. 

The wireless adapter we used for these tests was a Broadcom BCM4360 which is the onboard NIC inside a Macbook Pro we used for testing (running Windows 10 via Boot Camp). We tested at both 20 feet away with line-of-sight, and 30 feet away with two walls separating the computers. We tested both TCP and UDP packets; TCP represents the "real world" expectation and UDP represents the best case scenario. To make things actually "real world" we also connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the routers and tested a file-copy at 20 feet from the router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. Both of the PCs we used for testing were running Windows 10, and we ran each bandwidth test three times and recorded the average of the three runs. We think these tests provide a fair representation of what one can expect in many environments using these routers at medium range.
How we Tested And Synology RT1900ac Performance
When we test most computer hardware we typically use a blend of "real world" and synthetic tests, but that can be difficult to pull off with something as unpredictable as wireless networking. There aren't any established benchmarks per say and it is impossible to remove variables in testing environments anywhere outside a laboratory, so as always your mileage may vary. Here in the real world where we test, performance varies according to a variety of factors, including where the router is placed, the size and construction of your dwelling, interference from neighbors, and more. However, we do our best to illustrate both real world and "best case scenarios" with our testing, and for that we relied on the program NetPerf. This tool allows us to setup one PC as a server, and one as a client, and test the connection speed between the two computers. 

The wireless adapter we used for these tests was a Broadcom BCM4360 which is the onboard NIC inside a Macbook Pro we used for testing (running Windows 10 via Boot Camp). We tested at both 20 feet away with line-of-sight, and 30 feet away with two walls separating the computers. We tested both TCP and UDP packets; TCP represents the "real world" expectation and UDP represents the best case scenario. To make things actually "real world" we also connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the routers and tested a file-copy at 20 feet from the router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. Both of the PCs we used for testing were running Windows 10, and we ran each bandwidth test three times and recorded the average of the three runs. We think these tests provide a fair representation of what one can expect in many environments using these routers at medium range.
When we test most computer hardware we typically use a blend of "real world" and synthetic tests, but that can be difficult to pull off with something as unpredictable as wireless networking. There aren't any established benchmarks per say and it is impossible to remove variables in testing environments anywhere outside of a laboratory, so as always your mileage may vary. Here in the real world where we test, performance varies according to a variety of factors, including where the router is placed, the size and construction of your dwelling, interference from neighbors, and more. However, we do our best to illustrate both real world and "best case scenarios" with our testing, and for that we relied on the program NetPerf. This tool allows us to setup one PC as a server, and one as a client, and test the connection speed between the two computers. 

The wireless adapter we used for these tests was a Broadcom BCM4360 which is the onboard NIC inside a Macbook Pro we used for testing (running Windows 10 via Boot Camp). We tested at both 20 feet away with line-of-sight, and 30+ feet away with two walls separating the computers. We tested both TCP and UDP packets and also connected a USB 3.0 hard drive to the routers and tested a file-copy at 20 feet from the router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. Both of the PCs we used for testing were running Windows 10, and we ran each bandwidth test three times and recorded the average of the three runs. We think these tests provide a fair representation of what one can expect in many environments using these routers at medium range.

5GHz Wireless Tests

5ghz 30 2

5ghz 20 2

As we stated in the intro, even though this is a dual band router it still includes Smart Connect technology, which combines both bands into one visible SSID and then lets the router decide which band a device will connect to. Before you begin to think this feature is lame or not something an advanced user like yourself would use, check out the benchmarks below. 


5ghzsmart 30

5ghzsmart 20

5ghz filetransfer

Looking at the results of our 5GHz testing we see the Asus RT-AC88U is one of the fastest routers available. At 30 feet it posted the fastest transfer rates we've seen thus far by a decent margin, for both TCP and UDP. At 20 feet it again posted the highest TCP transfer rate we've ever seen, and the second-fastest UDP score. At this distance it was outpaced by the Linksys EA7500, and matched the Synology RT1900AC. 

The next test we ran was in Smart Connect mode, which we weren't even going to test since we figured most people would prefer to keep these bands separate instead of "intelligently" joined. However, as you can see in the benchmark chart the router's performance was about the same more or less, so using this feature doesn't impose a performance penalty at all. At 30 feet the TCP transmission rate improved by 26Mb/s, and UDP rates went up slightly too by 6Mb/s. At 20 feet we did see a decline in TCP rate of 31Mb/s, but a modest improvement in UDP speed. 

In our file transfer test the RT-AC88U finished mid-pack, taking fifth spot out of all the previous AC routers we've tested. We certainly expected it to perform a little better in this test, but it's not too far off from the pack. 

2.4GHz Wireless Tests

24ghz 30 2
24ghz 20 2
24ghz filetransfer

At 2.4GHz the Asus RT-AC88U once again performed extremely well. At 30 feet it is the fastest router we have ever tested, taking the top spot in both TCP and UDP testing, by a sizable margin too compared to its MU-MIMO competition. At 20 feet it took the silver medal, unable to trump the Linksys EA9200, though it was a close-fought battle. In both tests the RT-AC88U performed extremely well.

In the 2GB file transfer test the router took a respectable third place, which is better than it did at 5GHz, but transferring files on this band is painfully slow regardless of router. Don't do it unless you have to, in other words. 

power
To provide an additional data point, we measured power consumption at the outlet as well. The Asus router pulled down the second highest amount of power we've seen thus far, and the absolute highest for a consumer router. However, this figure isn't insanely high, sucking just a few watts more at idle and about 5w more under load. 

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