With a steady stream of releases over the past few months, ASUS has built up its repertoire of routers optimised for the latest standards in Wi-Fi networking. At Computex 2018, the Taiwanese IT giant announced the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 and the AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System, complementing the ASUS RT-AX88U announced at CES Las Vegas earlier this year.
What is the 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard?
We barely remember the days where our families all shared a single desktop computer. Laptops, then smartphones then swept the world in rapid succession, presenting more points to access the connected world of the internet.
Today, we are awash in a new wave of smart devices. TVs, home speakers and assistants, and even fridges and washing machines: all present a greater load on our home networking infrastructure.
ASUS has been at the forefront of the newest wave of Wi-Fi standards set by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Standards for Wi-Fi connectivity are set by LAN/MAN committee, IEEE 802.
With the latest standard of 802.11ax, maximum theoretical single-stream speeds have increased about 40% from 866Mbps to 1,201Mbps.
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) divides channels into smaller partial channels, allowing it to support communication with up to 30 devices at a time.
Multi-User MIMO allows the router to communicate simultaneously with multiple devices. With Wi-Fi 802.11ax, routers can now handle 8 concurrent devices, up from the four from the previous generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac.
In a move for efficiency, routers are also now able to recognise the bandwidth demanded by each device and allocate accordingly.
The 802.11ax standard has been approved by the IEEE 802 committee but is awaiting ratification by manufacturers and industry figures. It is expected to be adopted widely at the start of 2019.
The ASUS RT-AX88U
Announced at CES 2018 earlier this year, the RT-AX88U is a dual-channel router which supports 802.11ax devices up to 1,148Mbps on 2.4GHz and 4,804Mbps on 5GHz.
With four antennas for greater fidelity, the RT-AX88U sports a single Gigabit Ethernet WAN port for ISP connectivity, and a total of eight Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for your devices. This makes it an ideal choice for small businesses and departments, which require support for multiple desktop PCs close together.
The ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
The ROG Rapture takes the innards of the RT-AX88U, and goes to town with it. The world’s first tori-band 802.11ax router, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is designed to handle the extreme demands of gaming networks today.
It has a peak aggregate bandwidth of 11,000Mbps – 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 4,804Mbps on its dual 5GHz bands. Users are able to dedicate one of the 5GHz bands for gaming purposes, preventing your housemate’s latest drama serial from throttling your speeds ever so slightly.
To further enhance your gaming experience, ASUS Game Boost intelligently processes network traffic, prioritising your gaming over lower-priority activities like downloading or streaming. Avoiding clunky web interfaces, settings for feature and DFS band are accessed from the new Boost Key button located on the chassis.
Device I/O include a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port (much, much faster than the usual 1Gbps Gigabit Ethernet ports), which allows users to squeeze the most out of a single system with multiple Gigabit ports, or to exploit NAS devices that team multiple ports to achieve higher throughput.
AX6100 Wi-Fi System
All ASUS 802.11ax routers will support ASUS’s AiMesh, which allows multiple router to behave like a single network. The ASUS AX6100 Wi-Fi system, however, is built for this purpose. Coming in a two-pack, the AX6100 is perfect for spreading coverage to every corner especially in large homes, or homes with two levels.
The ASUS AX6100 is also compatible with other AiMesh-enabled routers, even if based on the older 802.11ac standard.
Like its name suggests, the AX6100 is capable of a maximum network throughput of 6,100Mbps, with most of the bandwidth on the 5GHz 802.11ax band (up to 4804Mbps). Mostly used for network backhaul, this band carries your data at extreme speeds between nodes of the mesh network.
Despite its eagerness to embrace the 802.11ax standards, compatibility is ensured with a separate 5GHz band that supports 802.11ac devices with 866Mbps of bandwidth. A 2.4GHz band provides 400Mbps of bandwidth for even older devices (802.11n standard).
Pricing and Availability
While global availability has yet to be announced, ASUS has provided a useful site that explains 802.11ax Wi-Fi.