Which Asus router is best?
As one of the top manufacturers in the world, Asus makes some of the best-performing and most reliable wireless routers. They come in a variety of flavors, including relatively straightforward models for general use and high-end options that should satisfy the most demanding users. There are even a few wireless mesh systems to consider. Many great Asus Wi-Fi routers are also compatible with the company’s AIMesh standard, so you can design your own mesh network if you end up with any dead spots.
The best Asus router for most people is the RT-AX55, due to its high performance, advanced feature set and reasonable cost.
What to know before you buy an Asus router
There’s a variety of performance levels and prices
You can get a powerful Asus router that’s perfectly suitable for a mid-size house without spending a fortune. At the other end of the spectrum, people who play competitive games or download huge amounts of data can find one that exceeds their needs (at a price).
You don’t need the most expensive one
With the variety of performance levels in mind, don’t rush to buy the most high-end option you can find. Few home internet connections can take advantage of a $500 router. If you’re having trouble making the most of the service you pay for, there might be a firmware or wireless signal congestion issue. In both of those cases, updating the router and adjusting wireless networking settings can help.
They’re available with the latest Wi-Fi technology
Asus makes a great deal of routers that support the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocol. A few of its top-performing models have also been refined and re-released with updated model numbers. In most cases, it should be easy to tell from retailer listings that there’s an updated version available.
What to look for in a quality Asus router
Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 5 connectivity
If you like to be on the cutting edge of technology and have a bunch of recently released smartphones and laptops, it’s worth buying a Wi-Fi 6 router. There’s a huge range to choose from at both affordable and premium prices, and opting for a recently released model ensures you’re getting the latest in hardware and firmware optimizations.
Alternatively, if you just need something that works and aren’t worried about downloading files at breakneck speed, you can save a decent amount of cash by opting for a Wi-Fi 5 model. If you usually lag behind the market a year or two when buying a new smartphone, you might not even notice the speed difference.
A router or a mesh Wi-Fi system?
A single router can pump out a strong enough signal for most small homes without difficulty. However, if you have stone or brick walls, a ton of square footage or a large basement to work with, you might find dead spots in the corners of rooms or the farthest points from the router.
In those cases, a mesh Wi-Fi system might be in order. Some mesh networks consist of a base router and two Wi-Fi extenders. Most of today’s best, however, use two or more identical routers that are engineered to connect seamlessly and streamline both the setup and use of your internet connection, no matter where in the house you are.
Premium connectivity features
If you don’t play fast-paced online games, you should be able to get by with an entry-level or mid-range Wi-Fi router. If your hobbies depend on split-second reaction times and ultra-low latency, though, consider a gaming-focused router.
One example of an advanced feature is Quality of Service (QoS )optimization that automatically detects what each connected client is doing on the network. QoS then dynamically adjusts settings behind the scenes to ensure that the most demanding clients (for example, connected PCs busy with competitive first-person shooters) can send and receive necessary data at the highest speeds and with the lowest latency.
Power users will also appreciate features such as integrated virtual private network support, which allows network administrators to manage a VPN directly on the router to encrypt all network traffic and hide clients’ IP addresses. Using a VPN is one of many steps you can take to ensure you’re safe from hackers and other cybercrime.
How much you can expect to spend on an Asus router
The most affordable options in the current Asus lineup run about $100. You can drop as much as $500 on a single premium router or entire high-end mesh network setup, but even most enthusiasts will be satisfied by a model in the $200-$250 range.
Asus router FAQ
Do Asus routers offer subscriptions for security services?
A. Some router manufacturers offer ongoing security management services that operate on a subscription basis. There are some worthwhile applications for such services, but Asus doesn’t offer them and most home networks won’t benefit from them, anyway.
What Asus does promise is continued security updates in the event a major flaw or backdoor is ever discovered within a router’s firmware.
What’s the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks?
A. Wireless networks that operate at the 2.4 GHz wavelength penetrate walls decently, resulting in decently long ranges indoors. However, they can’t handle real-world speeds of more than 50-70 Mbps. In contrast, 5 GHz networks lose a good deal of signal strength if they pass through too many walls, but can deliver enough bandwidth to accommodate gigabit-class internet.
What is tri-band Wi-Fi?
A. All Wi-Fi routers offer at least dual-band connectivity, which uses both 2.4 and 5GHz networks to ensure peak performance throughout the network’s range. Some advanced models feature a single 2.4 GHz network and a pair of 5 GHz bands.
Most commonly, dedicated gamers prefer to use one of the 5 GHz bands exclusively for their gaming rigs, while devices that normally just browse the web or stream videos are left to compete for the bandwidth of the remaining 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
What’s the best Asus router to buy?
Top Asus router
What you need to know: It’s one of its most cost-effective Wi-Fi 6 routers, and should satisfy all but the pickiest users.
What you’ll love: It’s fast enough to accommodate the most high-end internet services, and even most dedicated gamers will appreciate its performance. It supports all the advanced features of Wi-Fi 6 including MU-MIMO and multi-channel capabilities that keep bandwidth high and latency low, even when multiple users are active at once.
What you should consider: There are a few premium high-tech features, such as 160 MHz channel transmission, that it doesn’t support.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Asus router for the money
What you need to know: It’s the most affordable option from Asus to hit the market in the last couple of years.
What you’ll love: While affordable, it offers plenty of bandwidth for the majority of home internet connections. It uses the Wi-Fi 5 standard and supports VPN installation as well as beamforming technology that helps eliminate dead spots around corners.
What you should consider: It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 or most advanced features, including QoS optimization.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This one is engineered to maximize speed and minimize latency, without costing a fortune.
What you’ll love: Compatible with a host of high-end features and protocols, it’s proof that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for premium performance. It can accommodate the fastest residential internet plans without breaking a sweat, and it’s optimized to deliver the best possible performance when gaming.
What you should consider: While it’s cheap for a gaming-focused wireless access point, it’s more expensive than most common home routers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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