Asus RT-AC87U review

This new flagship router is capable of some tremendous speeds

Asus RT-AC87U
Asus RT-AC87U

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For wireless testing, like other routers, I used a pair of Macs running the Wi-Fi Perf software. This software measures throughput between the two machines without relying on a file transfer, so any bottlenecks due to storage are not an issue.

I tested 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac performance at 1 metre, 5 metres and 10 metres distance, with clear line of sight to the router. Since the receiver in the 2013 MacBook Pro is a 3x3 802.11ac model, this was only testing the 3x3 performance of the RT-AC87U, reflecting a setup used on many current devices.

Asus RT-AC87U ports

The usual ports are on the rear


Here are the results of our benchmarking:

RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server

  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (1 metre) 114.65 Mbps
  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (5 metres) 105.26 Mbps
  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (10 metres) 78.93 Mbps

RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server

  • 3x3 802.11ac (1 metre) 686.12 Mbps
  • 3x3 802.11ac (5 metres) 248.89 Mbps
  • 3x3 802.11ac (10 metres) 178.34 Mbps

RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client

  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (1 metre) 134.57 Mbps
  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (5 metres) 112.52 Mbps
  • 2.4GHz 802.11n (10 metres) 105.03 Mbps

RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client

  • 3x3 802.11ac (1 metre) 640.54 Mbps
  • 3x3 802.11ac (5 metres) 377.23 Mbps
  • 3x3 802.11ac (10 metres) 245.48 Mbps

These results are excellent, with some particularly good short range speeds, although they're fairly typical of most 3x3 routers. Notably, the 3x3 802.11ac results come out slightly short of the speeds I measured from the Netgear Nighthawk R7500 X4 router.

Asus RT-AC87U side

One USB port is hidden behind a removable cover

I then ran another test. With the EA-AC87 4x4 bridge connected to one of the Macs via Ethernet, I hooked the bridge up to the 4x4 network of the RT-AC87U. Think of the EA-AC87U as a giant wireless dongle, connected via Ethernet rather than USB, and with four big antennas.

With the only wireless link here between the bridge and the router, I was fully testing the 4x4 capability of the router at various distances. And the results were superb, as you can see for yourself:

RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server

  • 4x4 802.11ac (1 metre) 753 Mbps
  • 4x4 802.11ac (5 metres) 750 Mbps
  • 4x4 802.11ac (10 metres) 256 Mbps

RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client

  • 4x4 802.11ac (1 metre) 863 Mbps
  • 4x4 802.11ac (5 metres) 811 Mbps
  • 4x4 802.11ac (10 metres) 490 Mbps

Like Usain Bolt at his best, these server-to-client results break all records, with the fastest speeds I've ever recorded from a wireless router. 863 Mbps is a fantastic speed and shows the true potential of 802.11ac is still to be realised. At 10 metre range, 490 Mbps is another record, beating just about every other 802.11ac router on the market at this distance.

This time, these 4x4 802.11ac speeds are much better than those achieved by Netgear's R7500.

The 4x4 client-to-server results are a little more down to earth. The RT-AC87U still performs well, although here it's roughly 15% faster than the standard 3x3 802.11ac speeds. These are still good results, though.

I also copied a 5GB folder of large files from a hard disk connected to the USB 3.0 port, averaging 31.3 MB/sec read and 26.6 MB/sec write. A 5GB folder of smaller 1MB JPEG images copied across with 20.1 MB/sec read and 17 MB/sec write. While this is slower than a native USB 3.0 connection on a computer, and is matched by many other routers, in the old days when routers used puny processors, you'd be lucky to get 1MB/sec, making them generally useless for file storage.

Finally I measured the router's idle power consumption without any USB device connected as 12.4 Watts. That's a tad more than other routers – I measured 8.1 Watts from Netgear's Nighthawk X4 and 5.1 Watts from AVM's Fritz! Box 3490.