Asus RT AC3200 Review

Rating:

Managing a network can be a daunting task: you have to make sure that the wireless signal will cover as much of your home or office as possible, ensure that your network can handle the online activities of everyone connected, and keep the network safe and secure from unwanted guests.

With such great responsibilities and so many routers on the market, how does one select the right router for their purposes?

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most powerful (and higher end) offerings in the ASUS RT-AC3200 with this product review.

ASUS RT AC3200 Router

 

Understanding the Bands

ASUS RT AC3200 Router Lights

One of the more prominently touted features of the ASUS RT-AC3200 is that it’s a tri-band router. Essentially, that just means that it transmits using a 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands.

If you’re unfamiliar with routers, imagine each band as a separate channel for accessing the router wirelessly. Each band will allow for a certain number of connections, as well as a maximum transmission speed, determined by both the frequency of the band (measured in Gigahertz, shortened to GHz) and the speeds of the devices connected to the band.

With respect to the ASUS RT-AC3200, having two 5 GHz bands means two things:

  1. The ability to separate devices by their maximum speeds, keeping the transmission speeds as fast as possible
  2. The ability to support many more connections than a single band, reducing the amount of strain on the router in terms of available bandwidth

In general, the bands will only truly matter for you when you are doing activities locally within the network. For example, a faster connection with a 5 GHz band would be preferred for when you’re streaming media, from your computer, to your Apple TV or Chromecast devices. For external activities, such as Netflix streaming or playing online games, the speeds are more determined by your internet service’s speed more than the router.

At the end of the day, the ASUS RT-AC3200’s tri-band feature is perfect if you have lots of devices connecting to the router using the 5 GHz band, and if they need to do intensive local network tasks like media streaming or file transfers.

Powerful Hardware

ASUS RT AC3200 back

Sporting a sleek, all-black look and very powerful hardware under the hood, the ASUS RT-AC3200 comes with six detachable antennae that gives it a look closer to an alien spaceship than a router. There are the four typical LAN ports on the rear end of the AC3200 for wired connections, as well as a USB 2.0 port, with a USB 3.0 port on the front side. A set of protruding status lights on the front light up as the AC3200 is powered on, and is visible from both the front and the top, making setup and storage both flexible and easy.

ASUS RT AC3200 Atenna

For such a large router, it would have been a nice touch to include more LAN ports for additional wired connections, but the dual 5 GHz bands on the wireless side seem to mitigate that need.

The AC3200 is packing some powerful hardware under the hood, with a 1 GHz Broadcom processor, 256MB of DDR3 memory, and 128MB of flash storage, making it one of the more capable and powerful routers currently on the market.

Easy Setup with the Web Interface

ASUS RT AC3200 Setup Screen

Getting the ASUS RT-AC3200 set up on your network can be as easy as plugging your internet modem into the router’s WAN port with an ethernet cable, connecting to the ASUS router wirelessly or with a wired connection, and typing in the router’s IP address (192.168.1.1) into a browser. Once there, you’ll be greeted by a setup guide that walks you through the steps to get your router up, running at full speed, and secured.

By default, the router has the Smart Connect feature enabled, which creates a single wireless access point and will automatically select the correct band for a connected device. For the less technically capable, Smart Connect is perfect in its simplicity because it does the heavy lifting for you, and can always be turned off should you prefer a more manual implementation.

The web interface itself is very well laid out and simple to navigate. The menu on the left hand side contains features and services found on the router, with another section for advanced settings, making administration easy for novices and experts alike.

Helpful Features

ASUS RT AC3200 Setup screen 2

Very few routers come with the feature list that the ASUS RT-AC3200 has, and there are a handful of very helpful features worth mentioning, including AiProtection, Adaptive QoS (Quality of Service), Traffic Analyzer, multi-functional USB ports, and the ability to use two internet services concurrently.

AiProtection is a security service powered by Trend Micro, designed to protect the entire network against malicious software like malware, viruses, and unwanted intrusions before it can infect the network, as well as quarantining already-infected devices. In addition, it comes with a handy set of Parental Controls, giving complete control over what and when a connected device is able to access the network.

Adaptive QoS, or Quality of Service, allows for the prioritization of certain applications when distributing available bandwidth. For example, you can allow for a Skype video call to receive more bandwidth than casual web surfing, ensuring that your video calls are of the highest quality and reducing the amount of possible lag and call issues. That’s one very simple example, but the re-ordering of priorities is as simple as dragging-and-dropping pre-made categories within a list.

Traffic Analyzer is a very simple and easy way to understand the browsing behaviours of users connected to the AC3200. With it enabled, you are able to view the amount of traffic going to each device, as well as which apps and websites are using the most bandwidth.

The ASUS RT-AC3200 sports two USB ports, with the USB 2.0 on the rear end of the unit and the USB 3.0 on the front. These USB ports are multi-purpose, able to be used to connect external hard drives and USB printers, with the ability to share data internally or externally, syncing, create native Time Machine backups, and download files without a connected PC.

Last, but not least, is a great feature for power users or small offices: the ability to turn one of the LAN ports into another WAN port, allowing for the router to use two internet services at the same time. Perfect for homes or offices that can use two different internet service providers to provide maximum uptime.

Strong Performance

Features aside, the ASUS RT-AC3200 is truly a powerful router. Sitting at about 6 metres away from the router as of this writing, using 802.11n on a 2011 Macbook Air, I am receiving a constant 300 Mbps connection. Rather impressive considering there are quite a few objects and walls in the way.

In addition, I’ve battle tested the router using a handful of devices all performing network-heavy tasks like media streaming, online gaming, VoIP calls, and streaming video, without seeing any noticeable dip in connection speeds for all of the connected devices. The robust performance is, of course, made possible with the two 5 GHz bands using the Smart Connect feature to separate the faster devices from the slower ones.

The Bottom Line

This product is perfect for: large homes or small offices with many connected devices.

Key things to be aware of: the placement of the router and the orientation of the antennae, as both will determine the reach and strength of signal of the wireless connection. In addition, the limited number of LAN ports may be a limitation with your wired devices.

Final review score: 5/5. An extremely solid router with an incredible feature list, though it may be overkill for anyone who doesn’t need to support many 5 GHz wireless connections.

The ASUS RT-AC3200 is one of the most powerful routers on the market with a bevy of fantastic features that really take a lot of the guesswork out of network administration. If you need to support many simultaneous connections with a requirement of a high level of availability and rock solid performance, the ASUS RT-AC3200 is the perfect router.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus RT AC3200
Author Rating
5
The following two tabs change content below.

Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

Latest posts by Jon Lim (see all)

Similar Posts

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Reply


Name (required)

Email (required)

Website