Analysis of ASUS RT-AX86S WiFi 6 Router

We present you a complete analysis of the  ASUS RT-AX86S AX5700 router , the little brother of the ASUS RT-AX86U router that has given us such good results in our tests. This new router has inferior hardware, but that does not mean it will provide us with inferior performance, in fact, we have verified that the firmware is very well optimized and will provide us with excellent performance in the wired, wireless network and also in USB ports. The main feature of this new model is the simultaneous dual band and Wi-Fi 6, making use of 160MHz of channel width, therefore, we are going to achieve a great wireless performance.

Main features of this router

This new high-performance router is aimed at a gamer audience, but without having an overly aggressive design or status LEDs with Aura RGB. This model is physically the same as the RT-AX86U, it has the same design, the same colors, everything exactly the same, except for the ports on the back that change certain things. This new model is a “trimmed” version of the previous one, but we have found in RedesZone that the performance is still excellent in every way. Right now it is on sale for € 210, so it would be a good time to buy it.

 

ASUS RT-AX86S

 

Buy it at

EUR

210.90

 

If you have not been able to buy the ASUS RT-AX86U router due to lack of stock in the different stores, this new model is a great option, except if you are interested in having a 2.5G Multigigabit port, because this new model does not have it.

Wireless features

This new wireless router incorporates all the features we need to get the best WiFi performance. We have simultaneous dual band with WiFi 6 and it is AX5700 class. In the 2.4GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 861Mbps, thanks to its three external antennas in MU-MIMO 3T3R configuration, at 40MHz of channel width and the WiFi 6 standard. In the 5GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 4.804Mbps, thanks to its four antennas (three external and one internal) in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration, 160MHz channel width and the WiFi 6 standard.

If you have a WiFi card that supports 160MHz channel width you can achieve speeds higher than 800Mbps real without problems, some of the cards that support this feature are the Intel AX200, the ASUS PCE-AX58BT or any smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or similar, although we recommend you verify its compatibility with 160MHz channel width before buying.

Of course, this WiFi router incorporates all the technologies of the new wireless standard, the most relevant are the following:

  • Explicit beamforming and implicit beamforming : this technology allows the router to focus the WiFi signal on the clients, providing them with better coverage and higher real speed. We will notice this improvement in medium-far distances from the router, in environments very close to the router we will hardly notice a difference.
  • Bidirectional MU-MIMO : This technology allows data to be transferred from the router to multiple clients simultaneously, and vice versa. ASUS allows you to configure this as download and upload, saving time and optimizing the WiFi wireless network globally. We will achieve greater overall performance when we connect dozens of clients.
  • OFDMA : it is the most important technology of WiFi 6, it allows to provide several subcarriers to the different clients, with the aim of not having to “wait” to transmit, this allows global optimization of the entire wireless network. We will notice this improvement in high-density environments.
  • TWT (Target Wake Time) : this technology allows you to save battery life for IoT devices and also any WiFi device that supports it, putting them on “stand-by” to prevent them from continuously sending data.
  • WiFi Agile Multiband : this WiFi Alliance standard allows optimizing WiFi roaming between nodes, load balancing between different nodes and the user experience will be perfect. AiMesh supports the 802.11k / v standards for roaming. We also have band-steering to create a single WiFi network and that the router places us in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band automatically, based on a series of rules that are configurable in the firmware.

This router has the typical WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on the side of the equipment, to synchronize the WiFi clients without entering the typical WPA2 key. In this router we have WPA3-Personal available with protected administration frames, therefore, we will have the best possible security for our wireless network. A very important aspect is that, if we activate WPA3-Personal only, we will not be able to form a meshed AiMesh network, however, we could configure it as WPA2 / WPA3-Personal.

Wired and USB Features

This wireless router has a Gigabit Ethernet port for the Internet WAN , this router supports WAN aggregation using the LAN 1 port, in addition, it also supports Dual-WAN to use load balancing or connection failover. This router supports the 802.1Q VLAN Tagging standard for the Internet WAN, VLAN per port for IPTV services and the Movistar Triple VLAN FTTH profile. This model has a processor with NAT acceleration and the firmware incorporates this function, therefore, we can achieve speeds higher than 800Mbps without problems.

This router has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN , we can configure the Jumbo Frames to 9K and we also have Link Aggregation available using the LAN 1 and LAN 2 ports. In the event that you have a NAS or PC server with two network cards , you can perform this Link Aggregation. Another very important aspect is the “Gaming Port” port of LAN port 1, in this way, the PC or console that you connect to this port will have the highest possible priority. One of the differences with respect to the RT-AX86U is that this model does not incorporate a 2.5G Multigigabit port for WAN / LAN, a rather important absence if you have a NAS or PC with this type of connectivity, otherwise, you will not miss it .

This router also has a USB 2.0 port and a high-performance USB 3.0 port (at 5Gbps), taking into account the Dual-Core processor at 1.8GHz, it is very likely that we will achieve speeds of 100MB / s without any problem, in addition, the firmware incorporates all the usual ASUS services such as Samba, FTP and FTPES, iTunes, DLNA media server, ASUS AiDisk etc. Another difference compared to the previous model is that we do not have 2 high-performance USB 3.0 ports , but only one.

Firmware and more

The firmware of this ASUS RT-AX86S router is exactly the same as always, we have the same advanced configuration options such as guest WiFi, very advanced QoS, Amazon Alexa, AiProtection Pro with bidirectional IPS, bandwidth limiter per device, we also have a specific menu for the gaming port and even the Open NAT to open ports easily and quickly. Of course, this router also has VPN servers with OpenVPN, IPsec VPN and even Instant Guard, as well as full support for IPv6 with different tunnels. Finally, we have advanced configuration options for the Internet WAN, the local LAN and also the WiFi.

Once we know the main characteristics of this ASUS RT-AX86S router, we go with the technical characteristics:

ASUS RT-AX86S router technical characteristics

  • Wireless: Compatible with 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax standards. In the 2.4GHz band we will achieve a speed of up to 861Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi 6, in the 5GHz band a speed of up to 4804Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and 160MHz of channel width. We will have a total of up to 5700Mbps of wireless bandwidth, the antennas are external, dual and not removable.
  • CPU and switch : Broadcom BCM4906 with Dual-Core at 1.8GHz speed.
  • RAM : 512MB capacity.
  • Flash: 256MB capacity.
  • 2.4GHz Wireless Controller: Broadcom BCM6710 with Wi-Fi 6 MU-MIMO 3T3R at 861Mbps.
  • Wireless 5GHz controller: Broadcom BCM43684KFEB with Wi-Fi 6 MU-MIMO 4T4R at 4.804Mbps thanks to 160MHz.
  • Power supply: It needs a current voltage of 19.5V and an intensity of 2.31A, therefore, it needs a maximum of 45W of power.

In the following video you can see the ASUS RT-AX86S in detail:

Once we know its technical characteristics, we go with the external analysis of the equipment.

External analysis

This new gaming router comes in a box of black and gray colors, it is exactly the same box that we already saw in the RT-AX86U, in this aspect the only thing that changes is the name of the front of the box and little else, the design is exactly the same. On the front of the box we can see that this router is dual band simultaneous with WiFi 6 , class AX5700. In the lower left we can see that this router is compatible with ASUS AiMesh and that it has a mobile gaming mode, we will also find that it has a powerful processor at a speed of 1.8GHz and AiProtection Pro to protect us against external threats.

In the back of the box we will find that this WiFi 6 router is twice as fast as another with the same number of antennas but with WiFi 5, this is thanks to the fact that it supports 160MHz of channel width and we have WiFi 6. Of course , also refers to the fact that this router has up to four times more capacity than another old router, thanks to MU-MIMO and OFDMA to optimize the wireless network to the maximum. Other features that we have in mind are the ASUS Router app to accelerate games on Android or iOS mobiles, which allows us to have WAN Aggregation and Link Aggregation for the LAN, and, finally, that supports AiProtection Pro with Bidirectional IPS to protect the local network against external threats.

On the right side of the box we will find the model of the router that we are analyzing and all the rear ports of the equipment, explaining what each of them are. The most remarkable thing in this area is the absence of the 2.5G Multigigabit port. On the left side of the box we will find the technical specifications that we have already explained in the introduction, the most notable is the speed of the WiFi with AX5700 and the WPA3-Personal security that the firmware supports. Other information that we can see in this section is the content of the package, the QR code for information about AiMesh and the official ASUS website.

Inside the box, the first thing we will find is a brochure with the installation guide if we use the ASUS Router application for smartphones, it will tell us how to make the connections and we will have QR codes to download the app. We will also find the typical Intel brochure indicating that we must update the drivers to version 20.70.0 if we do not want to have problems when connecting to the WiFi wireless network. The content of the box of this router is the following:

  • ASUS RT-AX86S router.
  • 19.5V and 2.31A current transformer and power cable.
  • Three external and dual antennas, with RP-SMA connector.
  • Cat5e Ethernet network cable.
  • Quick installation guide in different languages.
  • Installation guide with the app.
  • Intel brochure to update drivers if you use manufacturer’s cards.
  • Product warranty and safety recommendations.

In the following gallery you can see both the inside of the box and its content:

The quick installation guide with the app will allow us to know the basic steps to configure the router from scratch, basically all we have to do is connect the modem, the operator’s router or the ONT to the ASUS router on its WAN port, Next, we will have to download the ASUS Router app, connect via WiFi to the router and follow the steps indicated by the application itself. We must remember that this application is compatible with Android and iOS, in addition, it is completely free.

The Intel brochure allows us to know the WiFi cards that need a driver version 20.70.0 or higher, otherwise, they will have problems when connecting to the wireless network, by enabling the 802.11ax frames of the WiFi 6 standard. If you have an Intel card with a previous version, you will not be able to “see” the WiFi networks if you activate the WiFi 6 frames, if you do not activate them, then you will be able to connect without problems.

In the complete quick installation guide we will see the contents of the box, the legend of the status LEDs, the different ports and buttons, recommendations to physically install the router in an ideal location, and we can also see how to install this router both via WiFi and cable, in addition, it will teach us how to run the router installation wizard. Finally, we can see the product warranty and safety information.

ASUS has incorporated a Cat5e Ethernet network cable to achieve 1Gbps speeds without problems, we will also have a current transformer that will provide us with a current voltage of 19.5V and a current of 2.31A, so it can provide us with 45W of power to power the router and also the hard drives that we connect to its USB ports. An important detail is that we will also have the power cable with a Shucko connector and a three-pin connector at the other end. Finally, we can see the three dual external antennas with RP-SMA connector.

This ASUS RT-AX86S router has the same design as the previous model, on the front we can see a small ventilation grille and the ASUS manufacturer’s logo. At the bottom we can see the different status LEDs of the router, from left to right we will find the WPS button, the four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN, the Internet WAN connection, the USB status, 2.4GHz status and also 5GHz, finally, we will have the router’s power LED.

On the right side of the router is where we will find the on and off button for the router’s LEDs, on the left side we can see the physical WPS button to synchronize WiFi clients without having to enter the WPA2 password.

At the back of this router is where we will have all the ports and buttons, from left to right we find the following: power connector, router on and off button, RESET button to restore the router to factory settings, we also have one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, the Gigabit Ethernet port for the Internet WAN, and the Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN. As you can see, this rear is exactly the same as the RT-AX86U, but without the 2.5G Multigigabit port and without the two high-performance USB 3.0 ports.

In this back part we are also going to find the typical manufacturer’s sticker, we can see the exact model of the router, the working frequency, the input electrical characteristics (19.5V and 2.31A), the hardware version of the router , the default firmware version, MAC address, and serial number. We can also see a QR code to scan it and connect directly to the router via WiFi. Another important information is that we have the router.asus.com domain, which is the access to the router’s administration, either the configuration wizard (if it is the first time you enter) or the firmware if it is previously configured.

Once we have seen the external analysis of this router, we are going to see the internal components of this new model that is very similar at the hardware level with other routers from the manufacturer such as the ASUS RT-AX68U that we have previously analyzed. Below, you can see all the components that make up this new model.

Internal analisis

This new router has a Broadcom BCM4906 processor with Dual-Core at 1.8GHz speed , this processor is used by ASUS mid-high-end routers such as the RT-AX68U that has given us such good results. This processor has a 64-bit architecture, and it will provide us with great wired performance and also in the USB 3.0 port and even in the VPNs if we are going to use them. This model has 512MB of RAM and 256MB of Flash memory, the RAM is half that of the previous RT-AX86U model but the overall performance of the router is still outstanding, as you will see soon in our test lab.

The chipset of the 2.4GHz band is the Broadcom BCM6710 compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and supports MU-MIMO 3T3R, so we will achieve a high WiFi speed. In the 5GHz band we have the Broadcom BCM43684 compatible with Wi-Fi 6. We have technologies such as Beamforming, OFDMA, MU-MIMO and full compatibility with the standard in both frequency bands. A very important characteristic of the 5GHz band is that we have 160MHz of channel width to achieve the maximum possible speed.

So far we have arrived with our internal analysis, as you have seen, at the hardware level we are at the latest in the upper-middle range. Will we get good wireless performance? We’ll see you in the test lab.

Test laboratory

In these LAN tests we will use JPerf to see how it behaves with multiple threads on the local network. This test is very important because it guarantees that the router will behave perfectly when we are transferring a large amount of information through the local home network. Nowadays it is very normal to have NAS servers or a PC to share files on a local network.

LAN tests

With 100 concurrent TCP threads we get a transfer speed of 113MB / s, an excellent result. We can see how the threads transfer at the same speed, this is synonymous with stability in the transfer.

With 250 TCP threads we get a speed of 106MB / s, an excellent performance.

With 500 TCP threads we get a speed of 113MB / s, one of the best routers we have tested, we have excellent performance and we will not have any data transfer problems at high speed.

With 750 TCP threads we get a speed of 113MB / s, a perfect speed.

With 1,000 TCP threads we get a speed of 110MB / s, a very good speed, but we expected to reach 100MB / s as has happened with other ASUS routers.

In the following table you can see the values ​​that we have obtained with different number of threads:

LAN-LAN threads 100 250 500 750 1000
ASUS RT-AX86S 113MB / s 106MB / s 113MB / s 113MB / s 110MB / s

LAN-LAN conclusions

The LAN-LAN performance of this router is excellent, we will have no problems transferring data at maximum speed through the Gigabit Ethernet ports. A very important detail is that we have passed the test of 1000 concurrent TCP threads above 100MB / s without any problem, we will obtain excellent performance even if we make very intensive use of the wired network.

LAN-WAN tests

In this test we will simulate how it will behave with P2P since we will connect multiple threads from the LAN to the WAN. As we told you before, this router has hardware NAT, and its firmware implements this feature, so we expect a great performance in this test.

With 100 threads we get a speed of 113MB / s, an excellent performance. With this router we will not have problems if we use P2P programs and we have a large Internet bandwidth, it will be able to do everything.

With 250 threads we get a speed of 113MB / s, we still have excellent performance with more than double the TCP threads.

With 500 threads we get a speed of 112MB / s, a performance that is still perfect, this router is one of the best in this test.

With 750 threads we get a speed of 111MB / s, excellent performance, easily overcoming 110MB / s as a barrier.

With 1000 threads we obtain a speed of 95.8MB / s, an outstanding performance considering the number of concurrent TCP threads, reaching almost the 100MB / s barrier, but having an outstanding performance.

In the following table you can see the values ​​that we have obtained with different number of threads:

LAN-WAN threads 100 250 500 750 1000
ASUS RT-AX86S 113MB / s 113MB / s 112MB / s 111MB / s 95.8MB / s

LAN-WAN conclusions

The performance of this wireless router in the LAN-WAN tests has been excellent at all times, exceeding 100MB / s in all tests except the last one, therefore, this is great news. We will be able to use the Internet connection intensively because the router is not going to saturate nor are we going to have a bottleneck. Everything has worked perfectly on this router with the LAN-WAN test, we are very impressed because it is not a top-of-the-range router, but a mid-high-end router and it has performed fantastic.

LAN-WLAN (Wireless) tests

The time has come to check if the coverage and wireless speed of this ASUS RT-AX86S router is up to the best, we anticipate that we have been pleasantly surprised when performing the speed tests, because the speed it is capable of providing us with this router is excellent. The physical stage of the tests is the same as always, as you can see here:

The iperf3 server is located in the local network on a NAS server connected via LAN, in this case the maximum speed that we can achieve is 1Gbps, it is possible that in certain circumstances we have a bottleneck in this wired network. We will use the Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop making use of the Intel AX200 card which is AX3000 class. We must bear in mind that in the market we do not have WiFi 6 cards via USB yet, they are about to arrive.

ASUS RT-AX86S: Test on the 2.4GHz band

In this 2.4GHz frequency band we can achieve up to 861Mbps theoretical with this wireless router, as long as we use a Wi-Fi card compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and 3-streams. Here are the results obtained with the iperf3 client-server with 20 concurrent TCP threads, and the Intel AX200 Wi-Fi card that we have tested with this high-performance router.

ASUS RT-AX86S Living room Kitchen room Main room Room 2 Penthouse
Intel AX200 AX3000 Synchro: 574Mbps
Speed: 41.3MB / s
Synchro: 574Mbps
Speed: 20MB / s
Synchro: 117Mbps
Speed: 21.1MB / s
Synchro: 88Mbps
Speed: 2.9MB / s
Synchro: 117Mbps
Speed: 0.8MB / s

As can be seen from the performance tests, this router is capable of providing excellent performance in this frequency band. When we are in places close to the router, we have achieved a speed of 330Mbps, an excellent speed considering how saturated this frequency band is. It has also behaved really well when we are very far from the router, such as in the attic where we have managed to connect without problems and pass the test at a speed of 7Mbps.

ASUS RT-AX86S: Test in the 5GHz band

Now we are going to check the wireless performance that we achieve in the 5GHz band with low channels , we must remember that this router supports WiFi 6 and 160MHz of channel width, to squeeze the wireless connection to the maximum, we can achieve up to 4.8Gbps theoretical. Here are the results with the iperf3 client-server with 20 concurrent TCP threads, and using the Intel AX200 card, so the maximum speed we will achieve is 2.4Gbps theoretical.

ASUS RT-AX86S Living room Kitchen room Main room Room 2 Penthouse
Intel AX200 AX3000 Synchro: 2400Mbps
Speed: 104MB / s
Synchro: 1400Mbps
Speed: 97.6MB / s
Synchro: 649Mbps
Speed: 67.2MB / s
Synchro: 34Mbps
Speed: 8.5MB / s
Synchro: 26Mbps
Speed: 5.9MB / s

As can be seen from the table, this router provides excellent coverage and speed in all scenarios. Thanks to the Intel AX200 card we have been able to squeeze the maximum speed of the 5GHz band in nearby places, reaching a speed of more than 830Mbps real. In addition, something that we must highlight is the great speed we have achieved in the kitchen (780Mbps) and also in the main room (540Mbps). The 5GHz band on this router has performed really fantastic.

Wireless Conclusions

In the 2.4GHz band this router has performed excellently in all the locations where we have performed the tests. The maximum speed we have achieved is 330Mbps in the closest place to the router, which is in the living room, the most remarkable thing is that the connection is very stable, and that we have managed to connect in the attic, which is the furthest location of all the tests. We must remember that the firmware allows us to configure 40MHz of channel width, to have the best performance always and in any circumstance.

In the 5GHz band it has performed excellently, it is one of the best routers in terms of coverage and speed that this frequency band provides. In the best of cases we have achieved a speed of real 830Mbps, but the best of all is that in other locations we have achieved speeds of 780Mbps and 540Mbps, something really impressive, so we are facing great news and figures that have pleasantly impressed. We must remember that in this frequency band we have 160MHz of channel width, we notice this both in nearby places and also in places far from the router. In the furthest place (attic) we have achieved a magnificent speed of real 65Mbps.

USB 3.0 testing

The USB tests are like the ones we usually do to all routers. We will be using an ASUS ROG Strix Arion case with an M.2 NVMe Kingston KC2000 SSD for the best possible read and write performance. We will use the NTFS format, since we will copy very large files to check the reading and writing speed via SMB, FTP and FTPES. The highlight of the firmware of this router is the incorporation of the FTPES protocol, a protocol that guarantees the confidentiality, authenticity and integrity of the transmitted data, since it uses the TLS 1.3 protocol and AES-256-GCM for data transfer. Thanks to the incorporation of this protocol in ASUS routers, we will be able to transfer data via FTPES safely.

Samba on USB 3.2 Gen 1 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 113MB / s; Write: 110MB / s.

FTP on USB 3.2 Gen 1 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 112MB / s; Write: 105MB / s.

FTPES on USB 3.2 Gen 1 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 113MB / s; Write: 87MB / s.

DLNA on USB 3.2 Gen 1 port

The DLNA media server performance has been perfect, detection, playback and fast forward have worked correctly, just as we expected due to the hardware of this wireless router.

Samba in USB 2.0 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 37.5MB / s; Write: 35.3MB / s.

FTP in USB 2.0 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 37.5MB / s; Write: 35.2MB / s.

FTPES on USB 2.0 port

  • NTFS-> Read: 37.5MB / s; Write: 34.5MB / s.

DLNA in USB 2.0 port

The DLNA media server performance has been perfect, detection, playback and fast forward have worked correctly, just as we expected due to the hardware of this wireless router. Below, you can see a comparative table:

AVM FRITZ! Box 7530 AX Reading Speed Write speed
USB 2.0: SMB 38.7MB / s 19.5MB / s
USB 2.0: FTP 37.8MB / s 26.4MB / s
USB 2.0: FTPES 6.5MB / s 6.5MB / s

USB conclusions

This ASUS RT-AX86S router has performed excellently in these USB 3.0 tests, both the read speed and the write speed are really high. One feature that has surprised us is the FTPES server, this router is capable of providing a really high speed, judging by its great performance, we believe that its Broadcom main processor incorporates hardware encryption acceleration with AES-NI, because the speed is really impressive. Next, you can see the FTPES configuration that ASUS has incorporated into this router.

The incorporation of the FTPES protocol and its performance is excellent, we can finally transfer files and folders over the Internet with point-to-point data encryption and very quickly, thanks to the incorporation of a powerful processor, great news not to have no kind of bottleneck due to the processor.

Setup Wizard

The configuration wizard of this new ASUS RT-AX86S router is the same as that of any ASUS router, neither the visual appearance nor the available configuration options have changed, we have exactly the same options as always.

In the first menu of the configuration wizard we click on «Advanced configuration», clicking on this option will guide us through the different menus to configure the router, from the Internet connection to the administration key, through the basic configuration of the router principal.

The default configuration mode of the router is “Wireless router”, our recommendation is to choose this option, later we can change it without any problem. If you are going to mount an AiMesh system, you can choose this option and later add the different AiMesh nodes, there is no problem for doing so. Next, we will have to configure our Internet connection, if it requires a username and password for PPPoE authentication or if we use DHCP, click on “No”. Then it will ask us if we have automatic or static IP, in addition, we can activate the «Special ISP requirement» to configure the VLANs directly in this configuration wizard, and we can even load the Movistar triple VLAN FTTH profile in this menu.

All ASUS simultaneous dual band or simultaneous triple band routers incorporate “Smart Connect” functionality to have a single SSID and key to access via WiFi. In this case, if we check the option “Separate 2.5GHz and 5GHz” this function will be disabled, and we will have all the frequency bands separately. If we leave it enabled, we can later configure the band-steering policy, such as the number of wireless clients connected, saturation of a certain band, coverage received by the client, link synchronization speed and other advanced parameters.

A very important menu is whether or not we want to activate the 802.11ax frames, if we have an old client and we do not have the updated drivers, we will have problems connecting to the WiFi network. In case of having all compatible clients, we must enable this function to enjoy the new wireless standard. One configuration that we must do yes or yes in the firmware menu is to activate the 160MHz channel width, to do this we must go to ” Advanced Configuration / Wireless ” and activate it.

In the last menu, ASUS will tell us that we can enter the username “admin” and a new password to access the router, and start managing the firmware in an advanced way. Finally, we can see the summary of the WiFi configuration that will be applied in a few moments.

After waiting about 60 seconds, we will have our router ready with all the settings made, and we can enter its complete configuration firmware to adjust all the settings that we want. Now we are going to show you all the configuration options available in this new router.

Firmware

The firmware of this new WiFi router is the same as that of any router from the manufacturer ASUS, nothing has changed, not the configuration options, design, services available in the firmware or absolutely nothing. In the main menu we can see the general status of the router, both the Internet WAN network, the WiFi network and the general status of the router, wireless and wired clients connected, as well as the status of its two USB ports.

As you can see, there are no firmware changes compared to other models, except in the case of gaming routers such as the ASUS GS-AX5400, the TUF-AX5400 or the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 that do change the graphical user interface. to give it a more gaming touch.

General – Network Map

In the «Network Map» menu we can see the complete status of the router, we can see the general status of the Internet connection, if we have a DDNS configured in the equipment, the general status of the wireless network and the possibility of configuring basic parameters , we can also see the status of the CPU and RAM, synchronization speed of the different WAN and LAN ports, and even see the connected clients, the AiMesh devices that we have configured in the router and configure new ones, as well as see the status and perform certain actions on the USB ports that this router incorporates.

All the menus and information that ASUS provides us are the same as always, for example, in the “Clients” section we can see a list of all clients with their host name, IP address and MAC, we will also see if they are connected via cable or WiFi, as well as other information. In the “AiMesh Node” section we will not only see the nodes that we have configured, but also add new ones by clicking on the “Search” button, to automatically scan WiFi networks and detect compatible ASUS routers.

General – AiMesh

This router has ASUS AiMesh 2.0, so we will have all the display, administration and management options of the new graphical user interface to manage the entire mesh WiFi network efficiently. This administration is much more advanced than the previous one, in addition, we will be able to choose the uplink nodes, reconnect the nodes, restart them, remove them and even force the interconnection to always be via cable.

In the status information section we will be able to see all the details about the different AiMesh nodes, in addition, we will have an «Optimization» button to reconnect all the nodes and have the Mesh network autoconfigure in the most efficient way possible, and get the best wireless performance.

General – Guest Network and AiProtection

In this router we will also be able to create up to three guest WiFi networks for each frequency band, we will be able to use different configurations, using different SSIDs and passwords, communication permissions between the different WiFi networks with the main network, etc. In addition, we can configure one of these guest WiFi networks through Amazon Alexa automatically.

Regarding AiProtection Pro, we have the same configurations as always, this model also includes the bidirectional IPS that is only present in mid-high-end routers because it consumes CPU resources, in addition, we will have an advanced parental control based on time and also based on content thanks to Yandex DNS.

The Asuswrt firmware is one of the best in terms of parental control, because we have dozens of configuration options, and applied by specific device and not globally.

General – QoS and Traffic Analyzer

QoS or also known as Quality of Service is one of the fundamental characteristics of any gaming router to prioritize network traffic, in this way, we will have the highest priority in the face of online games, having the minimum latency and almost non-existent jitter . This router has Adaptive QoS to easily and quickly configure the different policies, we also have the possibility of configuring a traditional QoS with very advanced configuration options, and the bandwidth limiter to limit the download and upload to wireless clients and wiring.

Other features are to be able to activate the web history of WiFi and wired clients, and we can even carry out a speed test directly from the router, because it is integrated into the equipment itself. This speed test measures the speed between the router and the predefined SpeedTest server, it does not measure the wired or WiFi speed of our client.

In the “Traffic Analyzer” section we can see the data consumption on the network, and a classification of what we have consumed. We can also see the real-time traffic of the WAN and LAN connection, as well as the wireless WiFi connection, to see the traffic in real time at all times.

General – Game and Open NAT

This router has a «Game» menu, which is a menu that centralizes other configuration menus, in order to prioritize the different game devices that we want. In this menu we can add a list of wired or WiFi devices that we want to have the highest priority, above the rest of any other. We also have the possibility to install the ASUS Router app on our smartphone and prioritize mobile game traffic, and we can even go to the Open NAT menu to open the ports easily and quickly.

Open NAT is a small wizard to configure the ports, it is exactly the same as if we opened them in the “WAN / Virtual Server” section, but here we will have a list of the most popular games, so we will not have to investigate which port TCP or UDP we need to open in NAT.

General – USB and AiCloud 2.0 application

ASUS with its Asuswrt firmware allows us to enjoy a large number of services, with the aim of making the most of the high-performance USB 3.0 port that this router incorporates, and also the USB 2.0 port that we have available. The services that we have available to use USB are all these:

  • ASUS AiDisk
  • Samba server
  • FTP server and also FTPES server (secure)
  • DLNA media server
  • Print server
  • Ability to connect a 3G / 4G modem to use it as a secondary WAN
  • Download Master which is a BitTorrent client.
  • Time Machine for backups of Apple computers.
  • AiCloud 2.0

Thanks to all these services, we will be able to make intensive use of the USB ports of this router, other manufacturers only incorporate one or two services, ASUS incorporates all those that we consider essential.

ASUS routers are very advanced at the USB level, but to be able to squeeze it to the fullest we will need a very powerful router processor, like this router that has a Dual-Core at 1.8GHz speed.

Advanced Settings – Wireless

The “Wireless” area is where we can configure the router’s WiFi network in detail in the two frequency bands. We can enable or not the Smart Connect, configure the SSID, if we want to hide the SSID, the type of authentication and password, we must remember that it supports WPA3-Personal to have the best security, we can also activate functionalities such as WiFi agile Multiband and TWT among others advanced options that we have available on all ASUS routers. The most important thing in this menu is security, and enable the 160MHz channel width.

This router also allows you to configure WPS, WDS, WiFi MAC filtering, configure an external RADIUS server to authenticate clients with WPA2-Enterprise, and a “Professional” menu to configure in detail all the advanced parameters of the equipment. Finally, we have the possibility of configuring a roaming blocking list so that the devices we register do not roam.

If you have an AiMesh WiFi system configured, you will not be able to use WPA3-Personal, you must use WPA2 / WPA3-Personal for this, because the new security protocol is not yet compatible for the wireless interconnection network.

Advanced Settings – LAN

In the LAN section we can change the name of the router, the IPv4 subnet used by the router, and we can even configure the DHCP server and the Static DHCP in detail, in addition, we can configure the static routes section, the IPTV configuring the different VLANs and also the Link Aggregation and the compatibility with Jumbo Frames at 9K in size.

ASUS is one of the manufacturers that has more configuration options in the LAN, a very important detail with the LAN port 1, it can only be used with one of the following configurations: Link Aggregation for the LAN, Gaming Port or WAN Aggregation, all the options at the same time cannot be configured, of course.

Advanced Configuration – WAN

In this WAN menu we can enable the WAN and NAT, configure the type of NAT, enable or disable UPnP, configure the Internet connection through PPPoE, DHCP, static IP, etc., and we will also have the possibility of configuring the Dual WAN for configure a secondary WAN and use it as load balancing or connection failover, and we can even configure the port trigger, virtual server, DMZ, DDNS and NAT Passthrough.

This router has the same configuration options as always, nothing has changed in this regard.

Advanced Settings – Alexa, IPv6, VPN and Firewall

This router has compatibility and integration with Amazon Alexa to send you voice commands and perform basic actions. As for IPv6 networks, we have full support, including 6in4 and 6to4 tunnels among other advanced configuration options for this type of network.

Regarding VPNs, we still have the PPTP, OpenVPN and IPsec server to connect to the local network remotely, it is advisable to use the last two protocols and never use PPTP. Another interesting feature is Instant Guard, the new IPsec-based ASUS VPN protocol to connect our smartphone from the ASUS Router app, providing less advanced users with connectivity via VPN and securely conducting a point-to-point tunnel.

ASUS routers have an advanced firewall that we can configure in detail, for example, we can configure the mitigation of DoS attacks, block URLs and keywords, as well as block traffic from the local LAN network to the Internet WAN, in addition, We can make this configuration at a certain time or always.

Advanced Settings – Administration

This menu is where we can change the operating mode of the router, the ASUS allow different configuration modes, specifically allow the following:

  • Router mode
  • Access point mode
  • WiFi repeater mode
  • Media bridge mode
  • AiMesh node

In this same menu we can configure the administration key, if we want to enable the login captcha, hibernate the disks, configure the time and NTP, the behavior of the router’s WPS button, enable the SSH and Telnet server, and even enable HTTPS protocol for remote access to router administration, and other advanced configuration options.

In these menus we can also configure automatic updates, save and restore the configuration, and even reset it to factory settings and much more.

Advanced Settings – System Registry and Network Tools

When we have a problem in the router, it is essential to be able to look at the logs to see what is happening. ASUS allows access to all the router logs even at the debug level, we can also see the internal data of the WiFi network, synchronization of the different WiFi clients, status of the DHCP server, the IPv6 network and even the routing table and the different current and real-time router connections.

In the network tools section we can use different applications incorporated into the router, such as ping, traceroute, nslookup, and also netstat, all with the aim of detecting possible problems and performing diagnostics. We can also configure the Smart Connect in detail with the band-steering policy, this is called “Smart connection rule”.

As you have seen, we have the same Asuswrt firmware as always, without any change in functionalities or visual. This firmware is still one of the most complete that currently exists.

So far we have come with the analysis of the firmware, and also with the review of the ASUS RT-AX86S. Now we are going to see a list of strong points, weak points and the final conclusions.

Strengths

  • Excellent LAN-LAN performance in all measurements, it has managed to pass all tests with perfect performance.
  • Excellent LAN-WAN performance in all measurements, it has achieved really good performance in all tests.
  • Wi-Fi performance in the excellent 2.4GHz band, we have reached up to 330Mbps. The coverage is outstanding, reaching the attic with enough coverage to pass the tests with good speed.
  • Wi-Fi performance in the excellent 5GHz band, we have reached up to 104MB / s with the Intel AX200 card. Coverage is also excellent, reaching all the way to the penthouse and beating the 2.4GHz band in speed. We have been surprised by the speed in this frequency band.
  • Outstanding USB 3.0 performance, we have achieved up to 113MB / s read and 110MB / s write in Samba.
  • The FTPES server with TLS 1.3 and AES-GCM encryption is really fast, reaching up to 113MB / s reading and 87MB / s writing.
  • Asuswrt configuration wizard with the same configuration options as always, allows you to configure the router in different ways.
  • The Asuswrt firmware remains the same as always, with the same services in USB 3.0 and the same QoS options and other typical ASUS menus, in this regard nothing has changed.
  • Application for mobile devices ASUS Router, allows us to connect to the VPN Instant Guard server and also speed up games on the smartphone.
  • WPS button.
  • Button for turning the router LEDs on and off.
  • Router on and off button.
  • Price: outstanding, this router is worth approximately 259 euros, a price commensurate with the characteristics and the actual performance achieved.

Weak points

  • None remarkable at the level of features or performance.

Last conclusions

We thought this new ASUS RT-AX86S router would give us a remarkable overall performance, because it has been cut in half both in CPU and RAM compared to the previous model that is more powerful, however, we have been pleasantly impressed that the speed achieved in all areas has been excellent, being at the same level as its older brother, but with a lower price of € 40.

The performance that we have achieved LAN-LAN and LAN-WAN with this router has been excellent , it has been able to pass all the tests that we have carried out without any problem, we can make the most of the wired network and also the Internet with the maximum speed that Gigabit Ethernet ports allow us. This router has hardware NAT acceleration, and it shows that it works really well, in addition, the firmware is highly optimized.

The WiFi coverage and speed has also been excellent . In the 2.4GHz band we have achieved a maximum speed of 330Mbps and in the 5GHz band we have achieved up to 830Mbps, a simply spectacular performance in both bands. In addition, the coverage in the two frequency bands is really good, we are sure that you will not have coverage problems in your home. We must add that the coverage in 5GHz is higher than that of 2.4GHz, something that is not “normal”, but in this router it is like that, so it is great news because we will always obtain higher performance in 5GHz above 2.4GHz.

The performance of the USB 3.0 port has been outstanding , the read and write speed is very good, exceeding 100MB / s, something that has pleasantly impressed us, but we must remember that the RT-AX68U model already incorporated this same processor and we obtained the same speeds on the USB port, therefore, it shows that it is very powerful and the firmware is very well optimized. We must also highlight the performance of the FTPES, getting 100MB / s without problems, something spectacular.

This router has the same Asuswrt firmware as always, it has not changed the advanced configuration options, USB port services or the rest of the services that we have available such as adaptive QoS, VPN servers and guest WiFi networks among many others. functionalities.

Finally, the current price of this router is about 259 euros , an outstanding price that is in accordance with the technical specifications and the excellent performance achieved by this router. We must bear in mind that the ASUS RT-AX86U router is priced at approximately € 299, therefore, we have about € 40 discount difference between both models, therefore, the star question is the following:

  • RedesZone, which model of the RT-AX86 do I buy, the RT-AX86U model or this new RT-AX86S?
  • Answer: if you need a 2.5G Multigigabit port because you already have a NAS or PC with this connectivity, the older model is the one you should buy. Otherwise, this router will provide you with the same performance as the previous one (including USB 3.0 speed) and you will save approximately 40 euros.

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