I find the Asus RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router, officially announced on January 13, 2021, in the U.S., a bit of an oxymoron.
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 a sub-$200 suggested retail price, 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 -- or part of a mix with other supported routers. Go for it!
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 has 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.
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 between them.
|Asus RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router||Asus RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U Dual Band WiFi 6 Router|
|Model||RT-AX68U||RT-AX58U / RT-AX3000|
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 AX2700||Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 AX3000|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||3x3 Wi-Fi 6: up to 861Mbps||2x2 Wi-Fi 6: up to 574 Mbps|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||3x3 Wi-Fi 6: up to 1802Mbps||2x2 Wi-Fi 6: up to 2.4 Gbps|
|Mesh-ready||Yes (AiMesh)||Yes (AiMesh)|
|Channel Support||20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz||20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz, 160 MHz|
|Gigabit LAN Ports||4x Gigabit LAN, 1x Gigabit WAN||4x Gigabit LAN, 1x Gigabit WAN|
|LAN Link Aggregation||Yes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)||No|
|WAN Link Aggregation||Yes (WAN+LAN4)||No|
|Dual-WAN||Yes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)||Yes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)|
|Built-in Online Protection||Yes (AiProtection)||Yes (AiProtection)|
|USB||1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0||1 x USB-A USB 3.0|
|Web Interface||Yes (Comprehensive)||Yes (Comprehensive)|
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router|
|QoS||Yes (Excellent)||Yes (Excellent)|
|Processor||1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU||1.5GHz Tri-Core CPU|
|System Memory||256MB Flash, 512MB RAM||256MB Flash, 512MB RAM|
|Dimensions||10.28 x 2.66 x 7.33 in. (261.3 x 67.5 x 186.2 mm)||8.82 x 6.06 x 6.3 in (224 x 154 x 160 mm)|
|Weight||1.38 lbs (630 g)||1.19 lbs (538 g)|
|Antennas||Three (Non-detachable)||Four (Non-detachable)|
|Suggested Price (U.S.)||$199||$199|
You'll note that the RT-AX58U is a 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster, while the RT-AX68U is a 3x3 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
That said, if you're upgrading your network from a Wi-Fi 5 router, this new Wi-Fi 6 machine will be a 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 in specs, you can't always port all settings from one to another.
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.
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 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.
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 can use them to host portable drives, USB printers, or cellular dongles.
When hosting a storage device, the router has all the storage-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.
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.
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: 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 2x2 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.
The router did well with Wi-Fi clients, too. At a close range of 10 feet (3 m), my 4x4 client managed to get some 700Mbps of real-world speed. And at 40 feet away, my 3x3 registered more than 660Mbps.
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.
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.
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 and had no problem with it, both as a single or part of an AiMesh system. It proved to be a reliable Wi-Fi machine.
Regarding the Wi-Fi range, the RT-AX68U was about the same as the RT-AX82U, which is excellent. 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
The RT-AX68U also did well in network-attached storage (NAS) performance for a router without a Multi-Gig port.
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.
Asus RT-AX68U's Rating
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
No Multi-Gig ports or 160MHz channel width support (at launch)
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.