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ASUS RT-AC68U (AC1900) Review

While this router did alright, it seemed a little expensive relative to its results
ASUS RT-AC68U (AC1900)
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Price:   $200 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Super easy to use, decent set of features
Cons:  Below average throughput, somewhat expensive
Manufacturer:   ASUS
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 7, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Features - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • 2 4 ghz throughput - 20% 4
  • 5 ghz throughput - 20% 4
  • Range - 15% 5

Our Verdict

While the RT-AC68U wireless router by ASUS is one of the easier to use models that we have tested, its performance in all of our other tests didn't really distinguish it from the rest of the group. This router didn't score particularly poorly, but delivered a middle-of-the-road performance in the majority of our tests — comparable to many other routers that we have reviewed. Unfortunately, many of those other routers also cost a bit less than this model of ASUS, so we would recommend going with one of those alternatives or spending a bit more for a top-of-the-line model.

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Price $200 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super easy to use, decent set of featuresRelatively inexpensive, exceptional rangeVery easy to use, more affordable, solid set of featuresSuper easy to use, fantastic valueEasy to set up, expandable
Cons Below average throughput, somewhat expensiveSparse on features, average throughputUnimpressive throughput and rangeDoesn't have extremely impressive range, so-so set of featuresSo-so range between points, can't turn off frequencies for troubleshooting
Bottom Line While this router did alright, it seemed a little expensive relative to its resultsGood for those with a larger home who are shopping for an upgrade pick on a budgetGreat for budget-conscious shoppers that are willing to spend a little bit more to upgrade performanceIf you are on a budget and seeking a simple router, this is our recommendationIf you are trying to set up a mesh network on a budget, then we think this is one of your best options
Rating Categories ASUS RT-AC68U (AC1900) NetGear AC1750 (R6400) NetGear Nighthawk A... TP-Link Archer A6 (... eero Mesh Wifi Router
Features (25%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
2 4 Ghz Throughput (20%)
4.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
5 Ghz Throughput (20%)
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
Range (15%)
5.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
4.0
Specs ASUS RT-AC68U (AC1900) NetGear AC1750 (R6400) NetGear Nighthawk A... TP-Link Archer A6 (... eero Mesh Wifi Router
MU-MIMO No No Yes Yes Yes
Wireless Specification 2.4 GHz: 802.11n
5 GHz: 802.11ac
802.11ac 802.11ac 2.4 GHz: 802.11n
5 GHz: 802.11ac
IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac
LAN Ports Available 4 4 4 4 5 (total)
Security WPA2 Personal, WPA Auto Personal, WPA2 Enterprise, WPA Auto Enterprise WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA/WPA2 Enterprise WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA/WPA2 Enterprise 64/128-bit WEP, WPA / WPA2, WPA-PSK/ WPA2-PSK Encryption WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
Wall mountable No Yes Yes Yes No
Beamforming Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Frequency 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz
USB Ports 2: 3.0 and 2.0 2: 3.0 and 2.0 1: 3.0 None None
Dimensions 6.3" x 3.3" x 8.6" 7.2" x 11.22" x 2.4" 7.26" x 11.22" x 1.97" 9.1" x 5.7" x 1.4" 3.86" x 3.86" x 2.36"
Antenna 3 external 3 external 3 external 4 external and 1 internal 4 internal
Processor 1 GHz dual-core processor 880 MHz dual-core 1 GHz dual-core 775 MHz single-core 700 MHz quad-core
Memory 128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
N/A 512MB RAM
4GB flash storage
2.4 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 45 Mbits/s 47 Mbits/s 48 Mbits/s 38 Mbits/s 39 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Obstructed 44 Mbits/s 37 Mbits/s 47 Mbits/s 30 Mbits/s 53 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 29 Mbits/s 39 Mbits/s 43 Mbits/s 28 Mbits/s 47 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Obstructed 23 Mbits/s 40 Mbits/s 37 Mbits/s 25 Mbits/s 43 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Long Distance Throughput 13 Mbits/s 22 Mbits/s 25 Mbits/s 9 Mbits/s 6 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 186 Mbits/s 220 Mbits/s 211 Mbits/s 227 Mbits/s 203 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Obstructed 161 Mbits/s 184 Mbits/s 201 Mbits/s 199 Mbits/s 174 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 153 Mbits/s 196 Mbits/s 211 Mbits/s 178 Mbits/s 176 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Obstructed 167 Mbits/s 181 Mbits/s 194 Mbits/s 169 Mbits/s 188 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Long Distance Throughput 35 Mbits/s 17 Mbits/s 11 Mbits/s 26 Mbits/s 21 Mbits/s
Video Playback Range Test 144 ft. 204 ft. 155 ft. 135 ft. 135 ft.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ASUS RT-AC68U tied with two models from NetGear in terms of overall performance, the Nighthawk X10 and the AC1750 (R6400). Both NetGear models did a bit better in our throughput tests, while the NetGear AC1750 did the best of this trio when it comes to range — the RT-AC68U and the Nighthawk both delivered similar average range. The ASUS is the easiest of this group to use and all three have a similar set of features, but the ASUS usually retails for $20-$40 more than either of the NetGear models, making it a bit less desirable.

The RT-AC68U did quite well, but couldn't quite claim an award.
The RT-AC68U did quite well, but couldn't quite claim an award.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


To pick out which wireless router is really the best, we did a survey of all the most popular and well-received models, then bought the ones that showed the most promise to test out side-by-side. We rated and scored each router in five weighted rating metrics, with the RT-AC68U's results described below.

This router has a solid set of features.
This router has a solid set of features.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Features


Responsible for a quarter of the overall score, we started off our testing process by comparing and rating all the different features and functions that these products have. We awarded points if each model has beamforming capabilities and the abilty to handle MU-MIMO traffic, as well as if you can wirelessly reset the router. Additionally, we also compared the number USB and LAN ports each router has and awarded some bonus points if you can turn the LED indicator lights off. The ASUS RT-AC68U did decently well, meriting a 6 out of 10.

This router has the average number of connections — four LAN gigabit ports and a pair of USB ports, one with the 2.0 standard and one with the 3.0 standard.

This ASUS router has 4 LAN ports and 2 USB ports, one 2.0 and one 3.0.
This ASUS router has 4 LAN ports and 2 USB ports, one 2.0 and one 3.0.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We did award the ASUS RT-AC68U some final points for being able to be reset wirelessly and for allowing you to turn off the LED indicator lights if you find the network traffic indicator lights to be distracting.

The LED indicator lights can be turned on or off to match your...
The LED indicator lights can be turned on or off to match your preference.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This router does have beamforming abilities, letting you concentrate the signal strength in areas where you need it the most, but it does lack MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology, making this a somewhat poor choice if you have tons of different internet connected devices in your household.

This router is one of the easiest to operate.
This router is one of the easiest to operate.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


Following our assessment of the different features on each router, we moved on to evaluating and scoring how intuitive and easy each router is to us. The ASUS performed exceptionally well in this test, meriting a 9 out of 10 — one of the highest scores of the entire group in this metric, which is responsible for 20% of the final score.

Right out of the box, this is one of the easiest wireless routers to set up. The hardest part is manually entering the IP address from the manual into a browser. Once you get to the settings page, it's super easy to set an SSID and password, as well as set up an admin login. The interface is extremely intuitive and one of our favorites, though we were a little bummed that we immediately had to update the router's firmware, though we were automatically prompted to do so.

It's also super easy to set up more advanced functions, such as parental controls or Quality of Service (QoS). The content blockers are super easy to set up and we particularly liked that you can restrict pages both by content or by time, allowing you to do your best at preventing kids and teens from viewing inappropriate content or set rules like no internet after bedtime.

In addition to blocking by content, you can also schedule controls...
In addition to blocking by content, you can also schedule controls by time for different devices, letting you limit internet access after bedtime for kids and teens.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Additionally, you can impose these rules on specific devices, so not every device will have the internet cut off at certain times or censored.

We liked that you can restrict access to inappropriate content by...
We liked that you can restrict access to inappropriate content by device with this router.
Credit: Austin Palmer

You have the option of enabling either adaptive, traditional, or bandwidth limiter QoS, allowing you to prioritize which types of internet usage you want to take priority over others and if you want to throttle back certain types or devices.

You have a handful of different QoS options with this router.
You have a handful of different QoS options with this router.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The interface is also really easy to understand and use.

The 2.4 GHz. throughput failed to impress.
The 2.4 GHz. throughput failed to impress.
Credit: Austin Palmer

2.4 GHz. Throughput


Next, we moved on to testing out the data throughput capabilities of each router, both on their 2.4 GHz. and 5 GHz. networks. Each set of throughput tests account for 20% of the overall score of each router and scores are based on averaging multiple trials of an iPerf3 test with various distances and obstructions between the router and our test computer. The ASUS didn't do amazingly well in the 2.4 GHz. range, earning a 4 out of 10.

The ASUS did about average in the short distance throughput tests, having an average throughput of 45 Mbits/s in the line of sight test and 44 Mbit/s in the obstructed version. These tests had about 10' between the router and computer.


For our medium distance test, we had the router and the computer separated by about 35'. The ASUS did a little worse, having a slower than average throughput. It averaged 29 Mbits/s in the unobstructed test and 23 Mbit/s in the test with obstacles between the router and laptop.


We only did an obstructed version of our long distance test, which separated each device by around 70'.


The ASUS had an average of 12.7 Mbit/s — far slower than some of the other products we have tested.

The 5 GHz. throughput of the ASUS also didn't really impress us.
The 5 GHz. throughput of the ASUS also didn't really impress us.
Credit: Austin Palmer

5 GHz. Throughput


The ASUS did about the same in our 5 GHz. metric, earning another 4 out of 10. This router got of to a bit of a rough start in this metric, doing slightly below average in the short distance line of sight test and even worse in the obstructed version.


This router did about the same in the medium distance test with interference, only doing slightly worse than average, but it did exceptionally poorly in the line of sight test at a moderate distance, having some of the worst results of the entire group.


It finished out this test with a surprisingly strong performance at the 5 GHz. long distance test, doing well above average.


Range


For our final metric, which constitutes the remaining 10% of the total score, we ranked each router on its effective range. We did this by seeing at what distance away from the router we began to experience YouTube buffering and playback issues on our test laptop. In our test, we were able to separate the router and computer by around 144' before we encountered severe issues, which is about average for these products. This earned it a 5 out of 10.


Value


This router isn't a great value, as a few cheaper products performed about the same.

Conclusion


Overall, the ASUS RT-AC68U is a decent router. It's not amazing, but it isn't awful either. We don't really recommend it, favoring the slightly cheaper models that perform identically overall, but the ASUS might be a solid choice if you are shopping in its price range and want a product that has an intuitive settings interface and is really easy to use.

David Wise and Austin Palmer