Asus RT-AC87U review

This new flagship router is capable of some tremendous speeds

Asus RT-AC87U
Asus RT-AC87U

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We liked

The software is definitely the best thing about the RT-AC87U. With many other routers and older models, there are dozens of small annoyances that the engineers at Asus have solved, with a bit of lateral thinking (and perhaps some market research). There are many features, and in all honesty we've only scratched the surface of them in this review.

The performance at standard 3x3 802.11ac frequency is very good, although not record breaking, and is nothing to complain about at all. The 4x4 performance is outstanding though.

USB performance and 802.11n speeds are similarly adequate.

We disliked

The lack of 4x4 802.11ac hardware is a potential reason not to buy this router. Device manufacturers aren't exactly falling over themselves to adopt faster 802.11ac speeds either.

It's a bit pricey too, reflecting the higher overall cost of 802.11ac hardware.

The best configuration is with the wireless bridge, used for extending wireless coverage over distances. But this is an extra cost on top of the router.

Final verdict

The Asus RT-AC87U is undoubtedly the very best wireless router on the market, not just for its performance, but for its excellent software. Asus has clearly invested more resources into this area than other firms usually do, and the effort has really paid off, making some of the software in competing routers look like a mere afterthought. Venturing into a router to change settings used to be a chore, even for people with some know-how – but Asus has changed all this for the better.

Wireless performance isn't leaps and bounds ahead of the competition though. While its 3x3 802.11ac speeds are perfectly respectable, they're not the fastest I've ever seen.

But as a counter to that, the new 4x4 mode works brilliantly, and is incredibly fast, at both short range and distance. You will need to buy more hardware to take advantage of it though, which is why the software, rather than the 4x4 wireless speeds, is the real reason to spend extra money on the RT-AC87U over the competition.

In this respect, it may prove more popular for businesses, hotels and so on rather than individuals.