If you asked me “Dong, tell me da best router to get, money is not an issue!”, which many of you actually did over the years, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 would be it.
Aside from the bulky design and the big hurdle that is the hefty $699 suggested retail price, Asus’s first Quad-band Wi-Fi machine is the pinnacle of today’s home networking.
Its street price can even be higher considering the anticipation.
Though designed and marketed as part of the ROG family, which includes a long list of existing gaming routers, Asus’s latest Wi-Fi 6E router is excellent for any situation. It will satisfy and impress even the most demanding users. You might not need it — it’s overkill for most homes — but you sure want it.
While still imperfect, the Asus GT-AXE16000 is my first recommendation (almost) without reservation. Get one — or start saving up — today!
You can get a few units to form the ultimate AiMesh system with 10Gbps Multi-Gig wired backhauling. However, there are more affordable wired satellite options with lower speed grades.
Dong’s note: I first published this piece on January 6, 2022, as a news piece when Asus first announced the GT-AXE16000 and updated it on June 16, 2022, as a first impression of the actual hardware. As promised, on June 22, 2022, I upgraded this post to an in-depth review after week-long hands-on testing.
Asus GT-AXE16000: Asus’s most potent (gaming) router
The biggest thing you might have heard about the GT-AXE16000 is that it’s a Quad-band router. But I’m not too crazy about this — Quad-band is not a novelty. If you’re new to this concept, this post on Dual-band vs Tri-band vs Quadband explains it in detail.
But as a flagship Quad-band gaming router, the GT-AXE16000 is the first. And at the core, like most Asus routers, it has much more than just Wi-Fi galore.
Earlier this year, Netgear announced a new “Game Booster” feature to select Orbi sets via a $50/year add-on subscription, which seems more a gimmick than a real thing. That’s if gaming features in a router can be a real thing.
The point is, taking the Quad-band notion aside, the GT-AXE16000 still gives you a lot to brag about.
Asus GT-AXE16000 vs GT-AXE11000: A familiar yet improved design
Out of the box, the GT-AXE16000 shares a similar boxy and bulky shape to the GT-AXE11000. This mundane design hasn’t changed much over time. It was the case with the previous Wi-Fi 6 GT-AX11000 and even the Wi-Fi 5 GT-AC5300.
So it’s not harsh to say Asus has been stagnant on the creative front. But the GT-AXE16000 manages to have some novelty in the look department.
A beautiful light show
Specifically, its top is now a mirror.
Initially, I found this shiny area annoying. For one, it made taking photos of the router super hard because of the reflections. The surface itself is a fingerprint magnet — avoid touching it!
However, once turned on, the router’s look changed completely. Asus strategically designs the ROG Aura light to create layers of light through the glass when lit up.
There are also additional LEDs at the edges of the mirror. Altogether, they become quite a show, enough to make you want to place the router out in the open.
Like all hardware with ROG Aura light, the GT-AXE16000’s lighting is programmable — you can change the colors and do all sorts of patterns with it, or turn it off completely via the web interface or the Asus mobile app.
All that is to say, among Asus’s routers with fancy lights, the GT-AXE16000 is the best. I liked it much more than the case of the Blue Cave or RT-AX82U. And that’s something since, generally, I’m not a fan of bling.
Better antennas design
The GT-AXE16000 shares the same non-detachable antenna design as the GT-AXE11000, but the antennas now have bigger and stronger joints — they feel much less flimsy than those of the predecessor.
In return, these antennas have narrower outward angles. You can only open them to a maximum of about 30 degrees instead of 90 degrees in the case of the GT-AX11000.
Considering the design, you can swivel each antenna almost a complete circle, though only 180 degrees are applicable. Generally, all you need to do is keep those little poles up anyway.
Asus GT-AXE16000 vs GT-AXE11000: All-new powerful hardware
On the inside, the GT-AXE16000 is much more powerful than its older GT-AXE11000 cousin. For one, it’s the first Wi-Fi router with three Multi-Gig ports, including one 2.5Gbps and two 10Gbps BASE-T ports.
Note on 10Gbps Ethernet and home routers
To deliver (close to) true 10Gbps, a router needs more than just a couple of 10Gbps Ethernet network ports. It also requires high processing power and applicable firmware to handle this bandwidth.
Generally, Multi-Gig home and SMB routers, including top-tier ones, do not have enough to deliver true 10Gbps (10,000Mbps) throughputs. After “overhead”, they sustain at around 6,500Mbps, give or take. (A similar thing can be said about most 10Gbps switches though they tend to have better-sustained rates than routers.)
That’s partially why more home Wi-Fi routers support the lowest tier of Multi-Gig, 2.5Gbps, than those with 10Gbps ports. In this case, you can expect them to deliver close to 2,500Mbps in real-world speeds.
Like previous home routers with 10GbE ports, the GT-AXE16000 won’t sustain at “true” 10Gbps, but it’s definitely faster than 2.5Gbps.
As the world is moving towards faster-than-Gigabit, these ports are the feature that makes the GT-AXE16000 the ultimate home router. In fact, it’s one of the must-haves for those with 10Gbps broadband. However, there’s no SFP+ port, which might make current owners of the RT-AX89X unimpressed, even disappointed.
Among Asus’s Multi-Gig hardware, the RT-AX89X has two 10Gbps ports, but one is an SFP+. Additionally, the GT-AX6000 and the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (as well as the XT12) each have two 2.5Gbps ports. Others only come with a single Multi-Gig port.
On top of that, the GT-AXE16000 also has a powerful quad-core 2.0GHz CPU and now comes with 2GB of RAM, the most among the majority of home routers.
In short, the new router is much more than the GT-AX11000 plus an additional 5GHz-2 band. The specs table below will give you a better idea.
Hardware specifications: Asus GT-AXE16000 vs GT-AXE11000
|Wi-Fi Technology||Quad-band AX16000||Tri-Band AXE11000|
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6 |
Up to 1148Mbps
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6 |
Up to 1148Mbps
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6|
Up to 4804Mbps
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6|
Up to 4804Mbps
| 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E|
Up to 4804Mbps
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6E|
Up to 4804Mbps
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6|
Up to 4804Mbps
|Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz) Support||Yes||Yes|
|160MHz Channel Support||Yes||Yes|
|Number of 160MHz |
|7x on one 6GHz band|
2x on two 5GHz bands
| 7x on one 6GHz band|
2x on one 5GHz band
|Gigabit Network Port||4x LAN||4x LAN, 1x WAN/LAN|
|Multi-Gig Network Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN|
2x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
|1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN|
|LAN Link Aggregation||Yes |
(LAN ports 1 and 2)
(LAN ports 1 and 2)
|WAN Link Aggregation||Yes (WAN + LAN4)||Yes (WAN + LAN4)|
|Dual-WAN||Yes (WAN + USB |
or any other LAN port)
|Yes (WAN + USB |
or LAN4 or 2.5Gbps)
|USB||1x USB 3.0|
1x USB 2.0
|2x USB 3.0|
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router|
|Processing Power||2.0 GHz quad-core CPU, |
256MB Flash, 2GB RAM
|1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, |
256MB Flash, 1GB RAM
|Power Specs||Input: 100-240V, 1.7A, 50-60Hz|
Output: 19.5V, 3.33A, 65W
|Input: 100-240V, 1.7A, 50-60Hz|
Output: 19.5V, 3.33A, 65W
(over 24 hours)
|≈ 475 Wh||Not tested|
|Antennas||8x External||8x External|
|Dimensions (no antennas)||10.4 x 10.4 x 2.9 in |
(26.4 x 26.4x 7.4 cm)
|10.4 x 10.4 x 2.9 in |
(26.4 x 26.4x 7.4 cm)
|Weight||5.3 lbs (2.4kg)||3.94 lbs (1.79 kg)|
|Release Date||June 2022||April 2021|
Considering the Quad-band support, you can’t look at the GT-AXE16000 without thinking of the other elephant in the room, namely the Netgear Orbi RBRE 960, the router unit of the RBKE 960 series. But that will be the topic of a separate post.
Asus GT-AXE16000: Extra detailed photos
Asus GT-AXE16000: Familiar features plus some extra
The new GT-AXE16000 will share the bulk of core features found in most Asus routers. If you have used an Asus router, you’re already familiar with them.
In any case, below are the highlights of what the new router has. If you’re already in the know, hit the button to skip it.
Asus GT-AXE16000’s feature highlights
Robust firmware with a responsive web interface
The GT-AXE16000 shares the same open-source Asuswrt firmware as the other Asus routers with a similar web interface. Most importantly, it doesn’t coerce users into a cloud-based web portal, which is excellent for privacy.
(All Asus routers allow remote management via Dynamic DNS, which is turned off by default.)
The interface allows access to a router’s many settings and features, some listed below. Savvy networking enthusiasts will love that though it can be overwhelming for novice users.
Standard setup process
Thanks to the web interface, the GT-AXE16000 shares the same standard setup process, as I detailed in this post on building a home network from scratch.
Specifically, here are the general steps:
- Connect the router’s default 2.5Gbps WAN port Internet source, be it a modem, an existing gateway, or the Fiberoptic ONT. Turn it on.
- Connect a computer to the router, via a network cable to one of its LAN ports, or the default open Wi-Fi network, generally named “Asus xx”.
- Open a browser and navigate to the router’s default IP address which is 192.168.50.1 or router.asus.com.
The rest is self-explanatory. The first time you get to the web interface, you’ll run into a wizard that walks you through a few steps. Alternatively, you can use the Asus mobile app in step #3.
Helpful mobile app, no login account required
Other than the web user interface, which I recommend, you can also use the Asus mobile app for the GT-AXE16000’s setup process and ongoing management.
This app is common for all Asus routers and is comprehensive. In fact, it’s one of the best mobile apps for routers you can find on the market. Still, it’s not as in-depth as the web interface.
The best thing about it is that you can use it to manage the router remotely without a login account. Instead, just like the web interface, it operates the remote management via the router’s built-in support for the Dynamic DNS feature that includes a free SSL certificate.
The GT-AXE16000 comes with full support for AiProtection, part of which is the handy and free-for-life real-time Network Protection powered by Trend Micro.
And for a free product, AiProtection is great and adds more value to the router.
Generic Parental Controls
The GT-AXE16000’s Parental Controls feature has its own section on the web user interface. Nonetheless, it’s the same as that found in previous Asus routers: it’s quite generic and rigid. Specifically:
The filters are based on pre-determined categories, which are vaguely defined.
There’s no blocking via domain or keywords.
The GT-AXE16000 comes with the familiar Adaptive QoS, which is now part of its gaming section. It’s one of the easiest-to-use implementations of QoS among home routers.
“QoS” stands for the quality of service, and it enables users to prioritize Internet traffic to support different applications or services.
Adaptive QoS requires minimum work from the user and is quite effective. It’s the generic prioritization in addition to the router’s gaming-related features.
Versatile VPN support
The GT-AXE16000 features all VPN options collectively available in Asus routers.
Specifically, it can work as a VPN server or a client. I also support VPN Fusion and Instant Guard, a new feature added in mid-2021 for mobile users.
AiMesh is by far the biggest feature among Asus routers. It’s significant, I detailed it in this separate post.
And as the first Quad-stream router, the GT-AXE16000 is suited for this in any scenario. On top of that, as a router with three Multi-Gig ports, it’s a new best remember of a mesh with Multi-Gig wired backhaul.
I’ll cover how the new router pans as a Mult-Gig mesh member in this separate post on the subject.
Flexible port configuration: WAN vs LAN
The GT-AXE16000 comes with seven network ports that can work with extreme flexibility.
- Single WAN: By default, the 2.5Gbps WAN works as the designated WAN. However, when the router is up and running, you can use its interface to assign either of the two 10Gbps ports or a USB port as the new WAN port. In this case, the default 2.5Gbps WAN will work as a LAN port.
- Dual-WAN: You can combine the main WAN port, whichever it is, with any other port in a Dual-WAN setup.
- LAN Link Aggregation: You can combine LAN1 and LAN2 into a 2Gbps connection.
- WAN Link Aggregation: You can combine the main WAN port and the LAN4 ports to get a 2Gbps connection. This is for compatibility purposes only since the default WAN itself is a 2.5Gbps port.
With this type of flexibility, the GT-AXE16000 will meet the port requirements of any home network.
Universal setting restoration
I tried it with a few that worked. Clearly, as a Quad-band only applicable settings will be ported over. For example, if you use a backup file of a Dual-band router with two separate SSIDs, the setting will be applied to only two of the GT-AXE16000’s bands, and the other two will take its default settings.
While it’s best to set up your router from scratch, this feature can be a big time-saving method when you upgrade from a router with lots of IP reservations or perforating entries.
Other useful features
Other than the above, The GT-AXE16000 also includes a long list of handy tools and settings:
- Networking tools: Wake on LAN, Ping, Netstat, and Smart Connect Rule can come in handy for advanced users.
- Auto-reboot: You can set your router to restart by itself on a schedule.
- Traffic Analyzer: A set of tools and statistics for those wanting to find out what’s happening in the network.
- USB-related features galore: When hosting a storage device, the router has all the features you can imagine — from data sharing (locally and over the Internet) to backup (including the support for Time Machine) to a personal cloud. You can even make the router handle PC-less downloading and use the router’s USB ports to host printers or select USB cellular modems.
- The standard set of network settings and features: These include IP reservation, Port-forwarding, so on and so far, and even some Alexa Skills.
- Easy firmware update: Asus pushes out firmware updates regularly to fix issues and improve its routers’ performance and function. You can choose to update manually or turn on auto-update.
And as a gaming router, the GT-AXE16000 has “Triple-level game acceleration,” similar to the case of the GT-AXE11000. In fact, it has all the gaming-related features shown on this list, including the rare support for WTFast gamer VPN.
I tried all of these features out — most of them are just special QoS settings — and they appeared to work. It’s worth noting, though, that these features apply to situations where the broadband connection is the bottleneck, which is not my case.
Asus routers and privacy
Before turning on some features, an Asus router shows a warning, as shown in the screenshot below.
The said features only work because a third-party scans the router’s traffic. That’s the nature of any protection — a security detail will include somebody who watches over you — there’s no way around that.
So, these features inherently cause privacy risks. But they are turned off by default, and you can leave them that way to use an Asus router without sharing data with the vendor.
According to Asus, the new router also has a feature called RangeBoost Plus technology designed to improve signal range and overall coverage. In my testing — more below — the GT-AXE16000 indeed had excellent range, but not more excellent than other high-end routers.
Asus GT-AXE16000: Overall excellent performance
For this review, I tested the GT-AXE16000 for a week as a standalone router and it excelled.
I’ll continue to test it as an AiMesh member and will update this post on Multi-Gig AiMesh combos to add the findings. Generally, for the best performance and value, you should use this router in a mesh only when wired backhauling is available.
The GT-AXE16000 shares the same clunky wireless backhaul design as traditional Tri-band AiMesh routers. Consequently, it’s a bad idea, cost- and performance-wise, to get multiple units to form a wireless mesh system.
Fast, but not true 10Gbps wired sustained rates
I tested the GT-AXE16000’s two 10GbE ports in all possible ways and while they were fast, they didn’t sustain at full 10Gbps.
Specifically, when working as LAN ports, they averaged slightly over around 6000Mbps, or about two third of true 10Gbps, when hosting two 10GbE-ready clients.
When I set each of them to work as the WAN port hosting my 10Gbps Fiber-optic line, the best Internet speed I could get from either of them was almost 6Gbps — tested via a 10GbE-ready client connected to the remaining 10GbE port working as a LAN port.
It’s worth noting that my service line could deliver over 8.5Gbps when I connected the test machine directly to the ONT.
Asus told me that it would release firmware updates to improve these ports’ performance.
Generally, no 10GbE port can deliver true 10Gbps since there’s always overhead and the GT-AXE16000’s LAN performance was within my expectations — as mentioned above.
However, its WAN speed sure could use some improvement. Let’s hope future firmware will improve it.
Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage
On the Wi-Fi front, the GT-AXE16000 is easily the fastest router to date in my testing methodology. Its 10Gbps LAN port and powerful Wi-Fi specs showed!
It was interesting, though, as you’d note on the charts, that its 6GHz band had slightly lower sustained output than the 5GHz band. However, this is not a big surprise considering Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E share the same speed grade — the latter only had an edge in DFS-unfriendly areas.
For seven days, I had no issue with the GT-AXE16000, which was a pleasant surprise, considering Asus routers tend to be buggy at launch. On top of that, its web user interface was noticeably more responsive than previous routers.
Considering the router has so many features and settings, I couldn’t test everything — that’s if anyone ever can. So, if you have crazy ideas, you might run into some oddities. But so far, this new router has proved to be excellent even with the initial firmware, which encompasses all Asus routers.
OK, there was indeed a weird incident. My test 4×4 AC adapter (an Asus PCE-AC88), on a Windows 10 machine, couldn’t connect at first — while it could connect to other routers. I ended up removing its existing driver software and reinstalling it using the same driver version before it worked. That might or might not have had anything to do with the router.
As for Wi-Fi coverage, the GT-AXE16000 had an excellent range — still, about the same as that of the GT-AXE11000 or other high-end routers. (The RangeBoost Plus notion mentioned above didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference.)
Generally, if your home is of some 2000 ft2 (186 m2), this router will take care of it when placed at the center — it did in my case, even when put inside a little closet.
Still, your mileage will vary. If your home is airy without many thick walls, you’ll be able to cover even more space with it. But it’s fair to say, the GT-AXE16000’s range is as good as can be for a Wi-Fi 6/6E router.
As for Internet speed, I generally got between 1000Mbps to 1600Mbps via Wi-Fi from the router within 60 feet (20 m) of it — the router hosted a 10Gbps Fiber-optic broadband connection.
Generally, that’s the best real-world sustained Internet speed of a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6/6E adapter — there was no faster Wi-Fi adapter at the time of this review.
Fast, but could be better NAS performance (when hosting a portable SSD)
Considering the Asus GT-AXE16000’s 10Gbps ports, I had high expectations for its network storage performance when hosting a USB 3.0 storage device, and it kind of let me down.
No, it wasn’t slow, as shown on the chart above, but sustained copy speeds didn’t live up to the specs. I tried a few portable SSDs with it, including the Samsung T7 Shield, My Passport SSD, and SanDisk Extreme Pro. The router never got past 150MB/s via a 10Gbps wired connection.
USB 3.0 has a ceiling speed of 5Gbps (625MB/s).
But 150MB/s is plenty fast, and the GT-AXE16000 can indeed work as a viable mini NAS server, considering this USB feature galore. While I did expect it to do better — at least really close to the RT-AX89X on the reading test — it’s a router we’re talking about here. It has other priorities.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000's Rating
Powerful hardware, Quad-band with Wi-Fi 6E support, three Multi-Gig ports (one 2.5Gbps and two 10Gbps)
Stellar performance throughout
Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support
Unmatched port flexibility, including interchangeable WAN, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations
Beautiful ROG Aura lighting
Expensive, 10Gbps ports' sustained rates and NAS performance (when hosting a storage device) could be better
Awkward backhaul band design in a wireless AiMesh setup, no UNII4 (5.9GHz) support, no SFP+
Bulky design, not wall-mountable
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is a phenomenal piece of home networking hardware at a prohibitively high cost. Presently, it’s as good as a Wi-Fi router can be, and we likely have to wait till Wi-Fi 7 to have more capable hardware.
That said, most homes won’t need the GT-AXE16000. In fact, I’d recommend it only to those desiring a Multi-Gig wired network. In this case, the new router is worth every penny, and its top Wi-Fi performance is the icing on the cake.
You can change up the previous paragraph and call the router’s Multi-Gig ports the icing on the cake. That’d work for me, too.
On the other hand, this router is overkill if you have sub-Gigabit Internet and modest needs for local connections. It doesn’t hurt to get it, but you won’t get much extra out of it.