In a way, wireless routers are like stoves or microwaves: you buy one out of necessity, usually in a hurried craze, and you simply use it until it breaks or you relocate. For many, it’s not the kind of thing you put a lot of thought into. We’re fortunate enough to live in a place where almost any router, stove, or microwave will accomplish its core task for years without much fuss, but we’re also fortunate enough to live in a world where some companies take things to an entirely new level.
The Asus AC2400 RT-AC87U represents a new standard for the in-home router. It’s equipped with high-power features usually found on enterprise routers that cost many hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. At its core, it offers a wide range of wi-fi frequencies: 2.4GHz, 5.0GHz, 802.11a/g and 802.11b; and as the first to support the 4×4 802.11ac wi-fi setup, it offers unparalleled speed for smartphones, tablets and PCs. It also boasts a greater effective range than any other router on the market, which enables you to roam the halls of your house, apartment, or mansion without worrying over a lost connection. It also provides a world-class administration panel, which allows you to neatly prioritize what traffic gets the nod during a traffic jam; for example, VoIP calls take precedence over online gaming. A couple of USB ports also allow printers and external hard drives to be connected and then easily accessed from within the home or anywhere else in the world.
But let’s face it: having four antennas across the back makes this thing look like it was crafted specifically for the Dark Knight’s office. It’d be stellar if it were equipped with more than four LAN ports, and those with cramped networking spaces should realize that the RT-AC87U has a larger-than-usual footprint. But in total, a few minor quirks can’t outshine the unit’s excellent range and ridiculous speed, which should be what matters most when spending nearly three bills on a router.
Operating Frequency: 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
Dual-Band Data Rate: 2,334 Mbps (max)
Wireless Coverage Area: ~5,000 ft2
Network Standard: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac