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Asus’s New RT-AX86U and RT-AX82U Routers Take on Gaming Seriously

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Asus RT-AX86U
The Asus RT-AX86U is similar to the RT-AC86U that came out two years ago.

Looking for a new Asus Wi-Fi 6 gaming router and just can’t afford the GT-AX11000? Well, you now have two more options.

Indeed, the networking vendor today officially announced the availability of the RT-AX86U and the RT-AX82U. Both models aim to satisfy those who need a robust Wi-Fi machine that can prioritize the Internet effectively for online gaming and, quite importantly, looks the part.

RT-AX86U: The long-awaited upgrade of the RT-AC86U

As the name suggests, the RT-AX86U is the Wi-Fi 6 version of the RT-AC86U. The new router shares a similar upright design with three removable antennas sticking up from its top. It also has an additional internal antenna.

Of course, on the inside, it’s totally a different beast—it’s an AX5700 Wi-Fi 6 router. The RT-AX86U has a top 5 GHz speed of up to 4800 Mbps, while its 2.4 GHz band caps at 861 Mbps.

Other than the usual number of network ports (4 LANs and 1 WAN), the router also has a 2.5 Gbps LAN/WAN port. It’s multi-gig ready.

Hardware specifications: RT-AX86U vs. RT-AX82U

Wi-Fi TechnologyDual-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX5700Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX5400
ChipsetBroadcom BCM4908Broadcom BCM6750 SoC
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs3×3 Wi-Fi 6: up to 861 Mbps2×2 Wi-Fi 6: up to 574 Mbps
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs4X4 Wi-Fi 6: up to 4804 Mbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP ModeYes
Mesh-readyYes (AiMesh)
Channel Support20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz, 160 MHz
Gigabit LAN Ports4x Gigabit LAN, 1x Gigabit WAN
Multi-Gig Ports 1x 2.5 Gbps LAN/WANNone
Link AggregationYes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)
Dual-WANYes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)
Parental ControlYes 
Online ProtectionYes (AiProtection powered by Trend Micro)
USB2 x USB-A USB 3.0 ports (storage, modem, printer)
Mobile AppAsus Router
QoSYes (Excellent)
Processing Power1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 256 MB Flash, 1 GB RAM1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, 256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Dimensions 9.52 x 3.93 x 12.79 inc. (242 x 100 x 325 mm) 9.52 x 3.93 x 12.79 inc.  (242 x 100 x 325 mm) 
Dimensions (With Antennas)
9.52 x 3.93 x 6.45 inc. (242 x 100 x 164 mm)9.52 x 3.93 x 6.45 inc. (242 x 100 x 164 mm)
Weight1.8 lbs (814.5 g)1.63 lbs (740 g)
Game FeaturesMobile Game Mode, Game Port (LAN1)Front Gaming Lights, Mobile Game Mode, Game Port (LAN1)
MSRP (U.S)$249.99$229.99
Hardware specifications: RT-AX82U vs. RT-AX86U.

RT-AX82U: An all-new cool-looking gaming router

The RT-AX82U, on the other hand, is an all-new broadcaster. First and foremost, it has an intriguing design with a futuristic shape.

The router comes with four non-removable antennae attached to its back. And on the front, there are these massive ASUS Aura RGB lights with hundreds of color options that make the router look like something out of this world.

Asus RT-AX82U
The RT-AX82U is a cool-looking Wi-Fi 6 router.

In fact, I’m a bit worried that the router is a bit too eye-catching for its purpose. You might be spending all day customizing its multi-color modes to match your mood and distracted from your games. Well, as long as that makes you happy.

Specs-wise, the RT-AX82U is very similar to the RT-AX86U, with two exceptions. It doesn’t have a multi-gig port, and its 2.4 GHz band caps at just 574 Mbps. So, it’s an AX5400 router. But chances are the lighting mentioned above is more than enough to make up for the differences.

According to Asus, the RT-AX86U is one of the first routers that’s part of Nvidia’s GeForce NOW recommended program. That’s a service where users play games using the company’s cloud-based GPUs and content libraries.

To make life easier for gamers, the RT-AX86U has a dedicated Gaming Port that automatically prioritizes any connected device. On top of that, it also has an easy-to-use port forwarding feature called Open NAT. What’s more, the Adaptive QoS feature can prioritize Internet traffic based on applications.

Asus says the RT-AX82U also has enough to be qualified for the Geforce Now program and is in the process of getting certified.

Both new routers share the same familiar web user interface. They also use a new version of the Asus Router mobile app that has a Mobile Game Mode. It is a one-touch feature that quickly turns on all game-related settings of the routers when need be.

Pricing and availability

Asus says both the RT-AX86U and RT-AX82U start shipping in August. The two carry a suggested retail price of $249.99 and $229.99, respectively.

And that’s excellent news. Both routers are significantly more affordable than the GT-AX11000 as well as some existing Asus dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers, including the RT-AX88U and RT-AX89X.

Update: The full reviews are now available. Links: RT-AX86U and RT-AX82U.

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31 thoughts on “Asus’s New RT-AX86U and RT-AX82U Routers Take on Gaming Seriously”

  1. Do the lan ports on this do LACP? And is there anything on this router more standout than the ax68u? Trying to decide which to get, this router or the ax68. I have an rt-ac68u and it has always served me well so just trying to gather some info. The features I NEED are port aggregation, ssh, and vpn. Which I think both of them have? What are the clear advantages over the ax68 on this model? thanks.

  2. Dong, thank you for all the work you do! From all the feedback online, I see the AX86u is better than the AX88u, since its 2020. Other than slightly slower 2.4ghz band do you know if its range is as good as the AX88u and if it has any other downsides. I’ve got a straightline train style house with the door to the Engine room (hall) hosting the router and four compartments (rooms) following behind. Thank you again.

  3. Hi Dong,
    Long time reader, first time poster. Great stuff. Been watching for the AX86U for awhile now. Can’t wait for your hands on review. Currently have AX88u and AC86U. Want to replace AC86U, but cant decide between AX88 for continuity or AX86 for new tech. Look forward to your tests and views.

  4. Hi Dong,

    Great article! I personally think the RT-AX86U is the better looking of the two. It also gets points for having a smaller footprint.

    Do you know if it uses a 64-bit CPU? I looked at ASUS’s website and it was not specified there either.

    BTW – Looking forward to the reviews on these!

  5. Can’t wait for the reviews. I’m debating between these two, I love the look of the AX82U but like the specs of the AX86U

  6. Awesome, thank you! Is the 86u dual band? It appears so – wondering if it’s worth saving for the AX11000 since we just upgraded to giganet FIOS.

  7. House is already cat 6 wired so that would be the case, have ac68u and didn’t like the delay it had on mesh. Would this be better to decrease the delay in capturing WiFi signal

    • I’m not sure what you mean by the delay in capturing WiFi signal, Rock. Try using Merlin firmware with the 68U.

  8. I believe the current bottleneck to “take gaming seriously” at our place would be poor internet (WAN) availability, but the ISP-provided Gateway/Router probably doesn’t help either…and the fact that its in the corner of our single story house hurts things too. House has CAT6 wiring to most rooms, and many devices are in center living room, so I’m thinking single router there would be fine (2500 sq. ft. home). Assuming we’ll be offered something better for internet someday (fiber?) I was thinking of getting something like ASUS RT-AX89X, but that might just be spending too much on the future… then again, I do not yet have any WiFi6 clients either, but I’m ready to spend a bit on ‘future’ hopes. Suggestions?

    BTW – Minor typo in article on two the mentions of “GT-AX1100” (should be “GT-AX11000”)

  9. Would the AX86u pair nicely with the AX11000 for mesh? or would you suggest another Asus router or mesh node?

    • I haven’t tested the AX86U yet but generally, Rock, in a wireless setup, you should get a tri-band router. But if you use network cables to link the hardware, it doesn’t really matter.

  10. Just judging from the spec sheets, are we expect much of a difference in performance between these routers? Specifically 5G performance? Just wondering if the extra cash for the 86U is worth it.

  11. I’m debating between the RT-AX86U and the RT-AX88U, and so far the RT-AX86U seems like a much better option.

    Cheaper & multi-gig ethernet, which addresses the major shortcoming of the AX88U. Other than slightly slower 2.4ghz band and fewer LAN ports, the RT-AX86U seems like all upside – am I missing anything??

    Considering it for a hardwired AIMesh node off an RT-AX89X w/ gigabit internet.

  12. Looking to buy the AX82U, from the look of it seems very similar to the Netgear Nighthawk RAX50 you reviewed before, hopefully ASUS manage to squeeze more performance and features out.

  13. So many options for Asus routers! There really can’t be that much of a variance between them. Are they just trying to make products to appeal to a certain niche market (like gaming – but even then, they seem to have a few targeted at that segment) ?


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