Design & Build Quality
The design in itself is one of the most noticeable parts of this router, with a standing look made possible by the built-in stand on the bottom. The front features a flattened triangular look, with a small vent on the top end for heat management. The indicator lights are located on the bottom, with a LED strip highlighting them from below. The look is finished off by three sturdy external antennas on the top.
The IO is tucked away in the rear, and consists of 1 WAN port, 4 LAN ports, 2 USB ports, the power port, and a switch, as well as a reset button. There are more vents in the rear as well, which help with heat dissipation, as well as built-in hooks for wall mounting. The base is a bit wider than the top, with two different angular stands for more stability. All in all, the design embodies the pyramid theme really well and would look nice with any home décor style.
The router is expected to maintain this sleek and modern look for years to come, as everything is made up of a sturdy plastic material. The only downside is the smooth matte finish, which might look good but is an unfortunate fingerprint magnet. Other than that, this router is a great example of what a unique but inviting design looks like in the consumer electronics segment.
Power & Connectivity
Just like the carefully crafted design, the internals has been updated as well to match the needs of most modern users. It comes with a 1.8GHz dual-core processor, 256MB of flash storage, and 512MB of RAM. This is enough power to enable most of the router’s functions.
You can get speeds of up to 5700 Mbps with the combination of the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and 160MHz channels. This translates to around 861Mbps with the wired connection and 4804Mbps with the combined wireless output. You have the option to separate both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels so that you can set the higher speed connections for prioritized devices.
Devices can be prioritized through a software-based Gear Accelerator, which sends the majority of internet performance to the selected devices. This selection is then supported by the presence of Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which unlocks up to 15 of the least-congested channels on the 5GHz band to give you even more bandwidth for gaming.
You can further prioritize the speeds to work with select applications depending on your needs, such as low-latency gaming or high-fidelity video streaming. This is done through the use of Adaptive QoS and OFDMA technologies, which work to keep your network running smoothly while catering to multiple devices at once.
The great thing is that this coverage can be availed throughout your house by syncing your old ASUS routers and modems to the AX86S. ASUS’s AiMesh technology makes this possible by slaving older devices to the new network without the need for additional infrastructure. This means you get the best possible internet wherever you go.
Moreover, all these connections remain protected from malicious software and viruses, thanks to the inclusion of a lifetime supply of free commercial-grade home network internet security called ASUS AiProtection Pro. It is powered by Trend Micro and ensures that even devices that don’t have any in-built firewall can have the same level of protection.
All these features and more combine to make the RT-AX86S one of the best all-rounder gaming routers on the market today. Make sure to keep it in mind when picking your next internet upgrade.