ASUS RT-AX88U Review

ASUS RT-AX88U
Source: Asus.com

Our Verdict

4.5
4.5/5

When it comes to raw performance, ASUS’s RT-AX88U is one of the best routers that we’ve tested. And we’ve tested a lot of routers!

Its combination of intelligent design and intense processing power gives it excellent range and allows it to provide some serious download speeds.

While the RT-AX88U is quite a pricey router, you certainly get what you pay for with it. This is a router for those who are serious about performance!

Pros

Cons

Performance

4.8
4.8/5

Features

4.5
4.5/5

Design

4.4
4.4/5

Setup

4.6
4.6/5

Value

4
4/5

Recomended for:

Thanks for checking in for our review of the ASUS RT-AX88U high-performance router. The RT-AX88U is one of the best in the game right now and we’re about to explain why.

But don’t worry, we didn’t take any of the RT-AX88U stats for granted. We put the router to the test ourselves.

With ultrafast broadband, we were able to find out what the true capabilities of the RT-AX88U are. And the in-depth results are coming up very shortly.

To summarize in the meantime, we can tell you that the ASUS RT-AX88U is fast.

Really. fast.

In fact, we’ve tested a whole lot of routers recently and so far, this one is one of the fastest.

When it comes to range, the RT-AX88U checks out too. There aren’t many routers to top it right now.

Could this be the router for you?

Well, let’s not be too hasty. It depends on a few things. So, let’s do a little more digging and find out the answer to that question.

ASUS RT-AX88U Overview

ASUS RT AX88U Overview

The ASUS RT-AX88U is a standard high-tier Wi-Fi router. Meaning it needs to be paired up with a modem if you have Cable or DSL internet.

Its Wi-Fi is built on the usual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, with it being categorized as an AX6000 router.

During the testing, it performed excellently, reaching 927.17 Mbps from 5 feet. A speed enough for even a Gigabit internet plan.

And to put it in perspective, with that speed, you can download an HD movie in 46 SECONDS.

On top of that, it has an excellent range. Reaching upwards of 110 feet inside. This will be enough for basically any home.

But this performance does come at a cost. As the RT-AX88U is far from cheap.

Specifications

BrandASUS
ModelRT-AX88U
Max Tested Wi-Fi Speed927.17 Mbps
Approximate Range100-110ft
Wireless StandardWi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Bands2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
WAN Port1x Gigabit
LAN Port8x Gigabit
USB Portx1
QoSYes
Parental ControlsYes
Guest NetworkYes
OFDMAYes
Dimensions11.8 x 7.4 x 2.4 inches
Weight945g
Warranty3 years

For more data, check the official sheet.

Performance: 4.8

For us, the most exciting thing about the ASUS RT-AX88U is the pure performance it offers. In our download speed tests, it achieved a top speed of 927.17 Mbps from a distance of 5ft away.

That’s immensely fast. To help contextualize how fast that is, we can compare it to what we think is its closest competitor, the TP-Link Archer AX6000.

For a similar price, this router achieved a top download speed of 837.08 Mbps. And that extra 90 Mbps goes a long way.

ASUS RT-AX88U compared to the TP-Link Archer AX6000

Let’s break down what these speeds mean a little further. 927.17 Mbps would enable you to stream 46 4K Netflix streams at the same time.

That’s based on the fact that Netflix recommends a download speed of 25 Mbps for a single stream in 4K. [1]

Of course, this isn’t actually realistic due to a number of factors such as the fact that the router can’t support this many simultaneous connections.  

And when it comes to devices trying to download things, the RT-AX88U will satisfy even the most critical of internet users.

So, for a very demanding family, this router could be the perfect fit. The same could also be said for a small workplace.

For more info on what a download speed like this would look like, check out our guide to 1000 Mbps.

Let’s also consider for a second the 90 Mbps of extra download speed you get from the RT-AX88U over the AX6000.

With this, you’d be able to add an extra 3 4K streams. Or, to look at it from another way, you could add 140 Premium Spotify streams

Not bad at all.

Range

In terms of range, the RT-AX88U checks out in fine style again. Our tests found that a device could maintain a strong internet connection to the router at a distance of between 100 and 110 feet.

If you have a large home or workplace, we seriously recommend considering the RT-AX88U if it’s on budget. You really won’t find a router that gives much more range than this in the world. 

It beats the TP-Link model, that’s for sure. While the AX6000 is slightly cheaper, you’d certainly be sacrificing on the range when compared to the RT-AX88U.

We found that you wouldn’t have much luck at a distance of over 90-100ft with this model.

Another stat that will show you just how much better the RT-AX88U performance is compared to the AX6000 is the download speed at a distance of 50ft.

Here, the AX6000 managed a top speed of 283.31 Mbps while the RT-AX88U dwarfed it at 470.55 Mbps.

50ft is pretty far. In a medium-sized house, you’d be able to get really fast Wi-Fi with the RT-AX88U no matter what room you’re in. That’s not so much the case with the AX6000.

Features: 4.5

You’d be paying a lot of money for the ASUS RT-AX88U, so you’d expect some good features to come with it. A router is never just about download speed and range!

Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll get with the RT-AX88U.

Next level security

Protecting the security of your home network starts with the router. And poor router security can compromise the security of all the devices on your network. That’s not a good situation to be in!

So how does RT-AX88U answer that? Very confidently, as a matter of fact. It offers something called AiProtection Pro. This blocks threats from all your connected devices by offering three-pronged security.

AiProtection Pro prevents threats by carrying out routine router security scans. It also automatically blocks malicious sites and detects infected devices, freezing them out of the network. 

This level of security is about as good as you can get from a router, so you can be safe in the knowledge that the risk of threat is low. 

That being said, we still recommend keeping on top of your home network security by keeping your password up to date and choosing the right settings. For more advice on protecting your home network, check out our guide

Alexa compatibility

You might have never considered a router to be something to access with voice commands. But when you try it out, you’ll never want to go back! 

If you have an Alexa device and an RT-AX88U in the home, you can ask your router to do all kinds of things. This can be something as simple as requesting the LEDs to dim or turn off. 

Or, you can ask the RT-AX88U to do more complicated tasks such as disconnecting a particular device from the network or accessing parental controls.

This will make life a lot easier for you. While the router settings are quite easy to change as they are, being able to do so with voice commands saves a whole bunch of time and effort.

ASUS Router app

If you don’t have an Alexa device, don’t worry. You can still make changes to the home network with ease thanks to the ASUS Router app. 

With this, you’ll be able to access all the device settings including QoS, parental controls and more. The app can help you personalize your security and perform scans on the network as you do so.

The app also allows you to access the Game Boost feature, a really cool aspect of ASUS’s QoS.

The ASUS Router app also makes setup really easy. We’ll discuss that in a bit more detail later on in this article.

All-in-all, the app just makes life a little easier. Instead of having to log into the network configuration page every time you want to make a change to the network, you can simply take out your smartphone and open it up.

Adaptive QoS

A little more on that QoS, then. Quality of Service refers to an aspect of a network that allows users to prioritize different internet traffic or services. This means that the most important processes can get faster results.

The ASUS QoS is arguably the best in the world, so you’re going to get the best of this technology with the RT-AX88U. It’s called Adaptive QoS and it’s super customizable. 

ASUS RT-AX88U Adaptive QoS

As a result, you’ll be able to get the most important internet processes you need carried out as quickly as possible. There are several options for automatic and manual settings, and you can control it all through the app.

If you’re into gaming, this top-tier QoS will be a great thing for you. It all comes down to ping. Earlier on, we mentioned a feature of the ASUS Router app called Game Boost. 

Game Boost will allow you to prioritize the internet traffic on a games console. With that, you’ll get the quickest ping and the minimum of lag. The result? An incredible gaming experience, no matter which other internet processes are going on on the same network.

MU-MIMO and OFDMA

In terms of performance features, there are some amazing technologies included within the RT-AX88U. Two of those are MU-MIMO and OFDMA. So what are they?

Firstly, MU-MIMO enhances a router’s ability to communicate with multiple devices at the same time. This improves the overall performance of the network by allowing faster download speeds for more devices as well as making those devices quicker at forming a connection to the network.

OFDMA, on the other hand, has similar benefits. It establishes subcarriers within the Wi-Fi frequencies to improve overall speed amongst connected devices.  

With these two technologies working together, there will be better overall network performance across more than one connected device.

AiRadar beamforming and RangeBoost technology

Some more cool performance technologies that the RT-AX88U holds are beamforming and RangeBoost. The ASUS Beamforming is branded as AiRadar and it allows you to direct the Wi-Fi signal from the router to specific devices.

This means you’ll get a better Wi-Fi signal on those devices, no matter what the range is. The eight antennas of the RT-AX88U combine together to extend the performance and range of the router.

This is the reason for the great performance at 50 or more feet away, as detailed earlier on. If you have a large home, you’ll love AiRadar beamforming.

RangeBoost is a similar technology using a slightly different set of principles. With this, it’s all about the range. RangeBoost is a big contributor to the huge 100-100ft range the RT-AX88U has to offer.

AiMesh

Mesh Wi-Fi technology is the future. If you’ve ever had an experience with using a traditional Wi-Fi router, you’ll know how much the download speed can be compromised. 

ASUS RT AX88U AiMesh

Not so much with Mesh. Mesh networks can cover a large area using one Wi-Fi network name without compromising too much on performance.

And with AiMesh, the technology built into the RT-AX88U, this is possible. The RT-AX88U is Mesh-ready, so even if you don’t feel like you need it now, you can set it up whenever you like.

Anybody who lives in a large house should really consider the RT-AX88U for this reason!

Parental controls

If you have kids, parental controls could be the way forward. It allows you to block access for devices in your network to certain sites or applications.

ASUS RT-AX88U Parental Controls

With the RT-AX88U, parental controls are really easy to set up and adapt. You can do it all through the mobile app!

Parental controls can be easily applied on different types of days or to different devices. So, you can have full control over what your kids can access online whenever you like.

ASUS also has a shortlist of sites that are classified as ‘adult’, so if you don’t want to choose the sites yourself, you can simply select this option.

Design: 4.4

The RT-AX88U is a lot lighter than the TP-Link AX6000. Nearly half a kilogram lighter in fact, at just under one kilo. You might not consider your router to be something you ever need to move around, but saving wait is never a bad thing.

Dimensions-wise,  the RT-AX88U is relatively compact. It’s a little long, but it’s narrow. So, you’ll be able to fit it onto most shelves. Plus, the antennas aren’t too long which means the device looks sleek.

In fact, the RT-AX88U is a great-looking router all-around. We’re big fans of the design. It’s futuristic!

ASUS RT-AX88U front

The RT-AX88U contains as many as 8 LAN ports. This means you can plug in a whole bunch of devices straight in for a wired connection. 

With a wired connection, you’ll be able to get an even faster download speed out of this router than the 900+ Mbps we detected in our Wi-Fi test, if your ISP supports that kind of speed. 

So, if you have more than one person looking to get lightning-fast internet with a device that supports an Ethernet connection, you’d be in a good position to do this with the RT-AX88U.

Some more ports worth noting in the RT-AX88U are the two USB outputs. This means you can use your router as a charger if you so wish. Or, you can use the ports to connect printers and other external hardware.

This can certainly come in handy!

ASUS RT-AX88U Backside

Setup: 4.6

The RT-AX88U setup is as easy as you like. We were up and running just in two minutes! It doesn’t get much quicker than that.

ASUS RT-AX88U with box

First of all, you’ll need to get plugged in. After that, It’s simple to set up the router by accessing the app. Just connect your smartphone to the router via Bluetooth.

All you have to do is download the ASUS Router app from your respective app store. After that, all you need to do is open the app and follow the instructions on the screen.

If you don’t have a smartphone (or you just prefer to use a computer), just open up your computer browser. Enter ‘router.asus.com’ then login using the default name and password.

The app is a slightly easier method so we recommend that. But with whichever method you choose to use, you really won’t have to spend much time.

ASUS RT-AX88U comes with
What the ASUS RT-AX88U comes with

Value: 4

It’s clear that the RT-AX88U is expensive. So, it needed to do a lot to justify its price tag. Overall, we think it’s worth it.

The RT-AX88U has enough performance and features to warrant the amount of money it costs. But there are a few things to consider before you spend that amount of money personally.

For example, is it even possible for you to achieve a download speed of over 900 Mbps? Not many in the world are lucky enough to be able to do that. So, check with your ISP to see what your plan allows before you upgrade.

Also, do you need the amount of range on offer here? If you own a fairly large home, the RT-AX88U could be worth it. But in smaller abodes, it might be overkill.

The Consensus from Other Reviews

Of course, most other reviewers have noted the price of this router. But actually, none have come to the conclusion that the RT-AX88U doesn’t justify the price.

The high download speed and range that this router has to offer has been enough to win over most reviewers.

In fact, many reviewers are calling the RT-AX88U the best Wi-Fi 6 router in the world. We’d be inclined to agree with that statement.

There don’t really seem to be any negative comments at all, other than the price itself. The reviewers of the world seem very content with this router, and we do not blame them at all.

ASUS RT-AX86U and the ASUS RT-AX88U
RT-AX86U and the RT-AX88U side by side

Other Options to Choose From

If you feel like the RT-AX88U is too expensive, or not right for you for some other reason, there are a lot of high-quality alternatives available. Here are a few of those. They’ll all save you a bit of money!

TP-Link Archer AX6000
Source: TP-Link.com

TP-Link Archer AX6000 - Different Brand, Similar Performance

Throughout this review, we’ve been naming the AX6000 as the closest competitor to the RT-AX88U. It’s close in price, similar in performance, and has a lot of the same features.

Except in most ways, the RT-AX88U is a bit better. The range is around 10ft wider and the download speed is 90 Mbps from 5ft away according to our tests.

You will save a bit of cash though. So, if your service plan isn’t as high as 900 Mbps and/or if you live in a smaller house, you might well prefer to go for the TP-Link option.

ASUS RT-AX86U
Source: Asus.com

ASUS RT-AX86U - The RT-AX88U's Little Brother

You can save money and stay with ASUS, too. The RT-AX86U is basically the little brother of the RT-AX88U. It costs a little less, but you will have to compromise on quality somewhat.

In our tests, the download speed of the RT-AX86U from 5ft away was around 140 Mbps lower. However, the overall range is around the same.

If you have an internet plan of 800 Mbps or less, the RT-AX86U could actually be a better option for you than the RT-AX88U.

TP-Link Archer AX50
Source: TP-Link.com

TP-Link Archer AX50 - Slower, but Cheaper

It’d be rude not to consider the lower-priced from TP-Link as well, especially considering how good it is. While the AX50 doesn’t have the same amazing Mesh features that its big brother the AX6000 has, it’s still a nifty little device.

The range and download speed are the lowest of all the routers we’ve looked at today but it is the lowest in price. So, if you’re low on budget, have a small to medium-sized home, or a lower internet plan, we do recommend taking a close look at this one.

Bottom Line

Pure performance is what the RT-AX88U is all about. With some of the fastest download speeds and the widest range of any routers on the market, this is one for those who are really serious about their internet usage.

Just make sure that you have an internet plan to get the best out of it. Otherwise, you might be wasting your money. And that is quite a lot of money to waste.

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