BEST ROUTERS ON A BUDGET| Asus AC2900 dual-band Wi-Fi router (RT-AC86U) review | TechHarry
Updated: Apr 10
One of the best affordable router that has everything you need, the Asus RT-AC86U checks very nearly all the boxes. From gaming to security to fast speeds, everyone can find something to like about this high-end dual-band AC2900 router. And for only $200 (£200 in the UK, which converts to AU$350), you don't have to invest a fortune to get exactly what you need.
I saw top end to end speeds on 5GHz during testing and was surprised by the application. One of the best features of many Asus routers is their menu, which is very customizable. The Asus RT-AC86U is no different.
COOL LOOK, HARDCORE DESIGN
The Asus RT-AC86U is very thin and small, showing a mostly black look with two red streaks across the front. It stands upright with three removable antennas, a few status lights and an overall compact design. You can't lay it down flat or mount it on a wall, but at 8.6 by 6.3 by 3.3 inches and 1.9 pounds, it can be hidden if you really can't stand to see it.
The back has a power button, reset button, power adapter socket, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and a helpful LED on/off button. There also is one gigabit WAN port and four gigabit LAN ports, one of which can be used for dual-WAN to connect a second internet connection to your router for better Wi-Fi stability.
All love this when a router menu has lots of customizable features. The Asus RT-AC86U is easily navigable and very helpful at that times.
Even the setup process is easy. All you have to do is connect it to a modem, connect your laptop to the router, power On the router, enter a PIN, set up the login/password for the router and set up the SSIDs/passwords. The firmware is upgraded automatically, and the whole process took about five minutes. That's it.
Fast, faster, fastest on 5GHz
The performance of the Asus RT-AC86U is very impressive, especially on 5GHz. Remember the speed you are paying for from your ISP will control how fast you can download, stream and surf the web. Unless you have a fiber connection, you are probably restricted to bandwidth well under 100 megabits per second (Mbps).
On the 2.4GHz band, I was a little unimpressed with speeds of only 142Mbps from 7 feet away, but at 25 feet, I saw the number jump to a 169Mbps. I'm seeing this odd distinction of faster speeds farther away on the 2.4GHz band more and more lately. This could be due to increased interference directly around a router, which is constantly transmitting and receiving signals.
Should you buy one?
You are going to get maximum punch for your buck with the Asus RT-AC86U AC2900 Wi-Fi router. It's menu is user-friendly enough for noob users, yet customizable for network engineers. Gamers have options to help reduce latency, and the extra security features will give everyone peace of mind.
With a price tag of just $200, you get high-end features like MU-MIMO, advanced traffic prioritization, USB 3.1 and dual-WAN. And with extras like GameBoost and AiProtection, the Asus RT-AC86U is perfect for anyone looking to improve their home network. It's powerful enough for for all your current devices.