Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Asus RT-AX68U Review: An Entry-Level Wi-Fi 6 Router that Won’t Disappoint

Asus RT-AX68U
Asus RT-AX68U Dual-band AX2700 Wi-Fi 6 Router.

I find the Asus RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router, officially announced today in the U.S., a bit of an oxymoron. It’s somewhat an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router that comes out after Asus’s first Wi-Fi 6E machine, the GT-AXE11000. So it’s more like an exit-level Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster.

Jokes and semantics aside, this one is an excellent addition to the company’s impressive selection of Wi-Fi 6 solutions. In my testing, the new router proved to be fast, for its hardware specs, and reliable. And like most other Asus routers, it has a hard-to-beat set of features and network settings, including the latest version of AiMesh.

While not as powerful as its older siblings, at the sub-$200 suggested retail, the RT-AX68U is an excellent buy for those with a sub-Gigabit Internet and living in a small or medium home. Or you can use a few units to build an effective (wired) AiMesh system.

Asus RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

$199.99
8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance, excellent range, reliable
  • Tons of helpful networking features and settings, including AiMesh 2.0
  • Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
  • Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • No Multi-Gig ports or 160MHz channel width suport
  • Not wall-mountable

Asus RT-AX68U: Simple but effective

The RT-AX68U is a tad mundane, sharing the similarly traditional design of the Wi-Fi 5 counterpart, the RT-AC68U, that came out years ago. Out of the box, it has nothing of note, other than the shiny plastic body and three non-removable antennas, sticking up from its top.

The router also comes with a standard number of network ports — one Gigabit WAN and four Gigabit LANs. There’s no Multi-Gig port, but you can combine two LAN ports into a 2Gbps bonded connection. It also supports Dual-WAN and WAN Link Aggregation.

On the inside, though, its hardware is a bit muted, relatable to the similarly-priced RT-AX58U. But the two are quite different.

READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX86U Review: The Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date

Hardware specifications: RT-AX68U vs. RT-AX58U

The RT-AX68U is rated AX2700, as opposed to AX3000 of the RT-AX58U. The numbers don’t mean much in real life but they show the biggest difference of the two.

You’ll note that the RT-AX58U a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster, while the RT-AX68U is a 3×3 one. Yet the former is faster thanks to the support for the 160MHz channel width.

RT-AX68U: A standard Asus router

If you call the RT-AX68U a typical Asus router, you’re right on point. It shares the same web user interface (accessible locally via the default 192.168.50.1 IP address or router.asus.com), mobile app, and setup process, which is the same for any standard router.

On top of that, it has the core features and settings available in most Asus routers, including:

Universal setting restoration

During testing, I could restore a setting backup file of all Asus AiMesh routers (except for the RT-AX89X and the Blue Cave) on the RT-AX68U.

That said, if you’re upgrading your network from a Wi-Fi 5 router, this new Wi-Fi 6 machine will be a big time saver.

As a rule, though, it’s always a better idea to set up your router from scratch. Also, note that since routers are different, not all of the settings can be ported from one to another.

Asus RT AX68U WAN Link Aggregation
Among other things, the Asus RT-AX68U features WAN Link Aggregation

A robust full web interface with an excellent optional mobile app

Asus’s web user interface is one of my favorites. It’s intuitive and allows for in-depth customization. But the interface can be overwhelming for novice users. In that case, you can opt for the well-designed Asus mobile app. The app uses Dynamic DNS-based remote access — you won’t need a login account with Asus to use it.

AiProtection (a.k.a AiProtection Pro)

This feature includes a free-for-life real-time online Network Protection protection powered by Trend Micro and a decent Parental Control engine. It’s definitely an excellent and useful feature.

Network Protection is a friendly version of a home firewall application, similar to the Firewalla Blue + case. It won’t give you a lot of in-depth information, but it does keep your network safe, to a certain extent, of course.

The Parent Control is a bit underwhelming, but it gets the job done. And it can schedule Internet access for multiple devices.

Asus RT AX68U QoS Settings
The Asus RT-AX68U’s QoS Settings.

Adaptive QoS

A quality of service engine that allows you to prioritize Internet traffic to support different applications and services — video conferencing, gaming, and so on.

This feature also includes Bandwidth Monitor if you want to know who uses the most Internet at all and Web History that shows the websites a client has visited.

The RT-AX68U’s QoS feature also includes a handy Internet Speed test if you want to find out how fast your broadband is.

Asus RT AX68U Internet Speed Test
Asus RTAX68U now includes an Internet speed test tool.

Traffic Analyzer and A ton of USB-related features

Like other routers, the RT-AX68U comes with a Traffic Analyser feature, which includes traffic monitoring and statistical tools for those wanting to keep tabs on what’s been going on in their network.

What’s most valuable, though, is what you can do with the router’s USB ports. You see can use them to host portable drives, USB printers, or cellular dongles.

When hosting a storage device, the router has all the storagge-based features you can imagine — from data sharing (locally and over the Internet) to backup (including the support for Time Machine) to a personal cloud.

Asus RT AX68U Guest Network Feature
Featuring AiMesh 2.0, the Asus RT-AX68U support system-wide Guest network when working as the main router.

AiMesh 2.0-ready

Finally, like most other Asus routers, the RT-AX68U can work as part of a mesh system. I detailed that in this post on Asus’s AiMesh, but this new router features the latest version out of the box and can work well both as the main router or a node, with full benefits of AiMesh 2.0.

Asus RT AX68U AiMesh Node
The Asus RT-AX68U works well in an AiMesh setup, preferable via wired backhaul.

In short, while not super impressive in Wi-Fi specs, the Asus RT-AX68U is very promising, both as a single router or as a member of a Wi-Fi system.

Asus RT-AX68U’s detail photos

Asus RT AX68U 3
The Asus RT-AX68U and its retail box.

Asus RT AX68U 8 1
The new router comes in a the up-right design with three non-removable antennas.

Asus RT AX68U 5
The Asus RT-AX68U is relatively compact and light.

Asus RT AX68U 9
The RT-AX68U comes with a stand set of network ports — one WAN and four LANs, all Gigabit. There are also a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 ports.

Asus RT AX68U Underside Label
the Asus RT-AX68U’s label on the underside shows its default settings.

Asus RT AX68U Top
The view of the Asus RT-AX68U from the top.

Asus RT AX68U Front
And here’s a closer look of its front.

Asus RT AX68U 11
The Asus RT-AX68U comes with a few status lights on its top.

Asus RT AX68U vs RT AX92U
The Asus RT-AX68U next to the RT-AX92U.

Asus RT-AX68U: Excellent performance

Without the support for the 160MHz channel width and a Multi-Gig port, the RT-AX68 doesn’t have everything it takes to deliver top Wi-Fi performance, according to the way I test routers. And that was the case in my testing.

Still, the router was quite impressive for its specs. It delivered!

Fast Wi-Fi throughputs

My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 generally connected at 1.2Gbps of negotiated speed and registered the sustained real-world throughputs of between 770Mbps and 870Mbps from up to 40 feet (12 m) away. That’s about as fast as a Gigabit connection can give you.

Asus RT AX68U Wi Fi 6 Performance Chart

The router did well with Wi-Fi clients, too. At a close range of some 10 feet (3 m), my 4×4 client managed to get some 700Mbps of real-world speed. And at 40 feet away, my 3×3 registered more than 660Mbps.

Asus RT AX68U Wi Fi 5 Performance Chart

On the 2.4GHz, the RT-AX68U did slightly above the average among Wi-Fi 6 routers, averaging between 217Mbps and 204Mbp, with the test client being up to 40 feet away.

Asus RT AX68U 2 4GHz Performance Chart

In all, the RT-AX68U’s real-world speeds proved to be exactly that of a broadcaster of its specs. It’s generally fast enough to deliver a sub-Gigabit Internet connection in full.

Excellent coverage

I was able to get a hold of the RT-AX68U significantly before launch and used it for more than a week before publishing this review. During that time, I had no problem with it at all, both as a single or part of an AiMesh system. It proved to be a reliable Wi-Fi machine.

In terms of Wi-Fi range, it was about the same as that of the RT-AX82U, very good that is. It’s always hard to figure out the coverage precisely, but if you live in a home of 1800 ft2 (167 m2) without thick walls, the RT-AX68U will likely work out well.

Looking for a mesh system? Get your home wired with network cables, get a couple of units, and you’re all set.

Gigabit-class network storage performance

For a router without a Multi-Gig port, the RT-AX68U also did well in network-attached storage (NAS) performance.

Asus RT AX68U NAS Performance Chart

I tested it with the latest WD My Passport SSD and via a Gigabit wired connection it registered 107MB/s for writing and 112MB/s for reading, or about as fast as Gigabit can be in real life.

So get a decent portable drive, and you’ll have fun with this router’s USB applications galore. It’s a viable mini NAS server.

Conclusion

The Asus RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual-Band router seems to be a bit late to the Wi-Fi 6 game. It has so many other older cousins that are collectively cooler, faster, and more exciting.

But more than making up for the late timing, it comes with everything you’d want from an Asus router, including excellent performance, a ton of features and most importantly, the full benefits of AiMesh 2.0.

If you’re looking for something that you can count on, without spending a ton of dough, this is an excellent router to take home. And it’ll prove to be a keeper.

4 thoughts on “Asus RT-AX68U Review: An Entry-Level Wi-Fi 6 Router that Won’t Disappoint”

  1. ax68u has the same cpu found on the ac86u. wasn’t a fan of that router and returned to stick with the ax58u. the tri-core routers seem more reliable.

    Reply
  2. The problem with 160MHz is that you have to be next to the router, in order to get good sppeds. Otherwise, if you sit 10meters away, the speed drops exponentially. This is the reason I would choose a 3×3 80MHz over a 2×2 160MHz

    Reply

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