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> ASUS RT-AC86U, Feature-packed advanced wireless router (Review)

JayceOoi
post Sep 1 2017, 12:00 PM, updated 2w ago

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Author's Note: The original review can be found at my blog - ASUS RT-AC86U Review @ JayceOoi.com.

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Introduction
A surprise gift from GearBest. I was not expecting ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO at all. In short, ASUS RT-AC86U is the replacement for the popular ASUS RT-AC68U that serve me well for past 3 years. Loaded with built-in WTFast, faster AC2900 speeds boosted with NitroQAM, MU-MIMO, 256MB flash, 512MB RAM and newer PC-grade 1.8GHz dual-core processor. How does it perform compare to older RT-AC68U? Let's find out...

Special Thanks
This review is possible thanks to below companies. Be sure to check them out...user posted image

Package Content
My ASUS RT-AC86U is China version as you can see. Well protected as well. In short, it shares the same packaging as my existing RT-AC68U. Once taken out RT-AC86U, you can find 3 detachable antennas, 19 V with max. 1.75 A power adaptor (US plug), RJ-45 cable, warranty info and quick start guide (in Chinese). No worry, you can download both English quick start guide and user manual at ASUS Website.

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Build quality & Design
If you own / seen ASUS RT-AC68U previously, then you will familiar with RT-AC86U too. Basically, they are the same in shape and design. RT-AC86U has cooler and simpler cyber design at front while RT-AC68U has stylish diamond pattern design. By the way, RT-AC86U is a bit heavier at 872g. Having LED light indicators for 4 LAN ports, Internet WAN, 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-Fi and power status. Missing USB ports status from RT-AC68U. That's the major different. The rest are the same.

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At back, there are reset button, power button, DC input, USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, WAN port, LED on/off switch and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. By the way, the back ASUS panel does not lit up anymore too (if you care about lighting effect).

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Wi-Fi on/off and WPS buttons are located at the right as usual.

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3 antenna jacks on top for detachable antennas. And another internal 3dBi antenna hidden inside for 5 GHz 4 x 4 connection.

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Finally, there are 2 long anti-skid pads at bottom to provide stability.

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This post has been edited by JayceOoi: Sep 2 2017, 11:35 AM
JayceOoi
post Sep 1 2017, 12:01 PM

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Installation
Mine is China version as you know. Therefore, the web interface is in Chinese by default. No worry, you can select the language that you prefer. ASUS Router firmware is loaded with multiple languages for all the users in the world. There are English, Japanese, and a lot more Europe countries' languages that I don't know. As for installation, it is pretty straight forward. Basically, you need to connect cable/DSL modem Internet cable to WAN port. Setup router login name and password. Then Internet setup. Follow by router configuration - network name (SSID) and password for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. That's it. You can start using ASUS RT-AC86U wireless router to access Internet now.

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Software
ASUS wireless router's web and mobile interfaces are the same among these 2 routers. Yup, not a stranger to me since I am using it for the past 3 years. Not an IT expert, no worry, you can start using ASUS RT-AC86U after completed installation setup. However, if you want to get all the features out of it, this is the place that you need to spend time on. By the way, do download and read the online user manual in order to know all of the functions. As usual, ASUSWRT user interface has more stuffs and details than the mobile app - ASUS Router. In short, mobile app covers the essential stuffs while web interface has all including the advanced stuffs.

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ASUS RT-AC86U Wi-Fi Router is loaded with lot of goodies and useful features. There are AiProtection with Trend Micro, Adaptive QoS, Traffic Analyzer, Game Boost (WTFast - Gamers Private Network_, USB applications like AiDisk, UPnP, iTunes, FTP, Samba, 4G modem, Android phone as a USB modem, Apple Time Machine, Download Master for BT torrent files and AiCloud 2.0. Advanced settings like IPv6, VPN and firewall can be setup as well. Can't cover all of them one by one in details here. So do check them out at ASUS Website. By the way, IPTV is supported. A great news for Malaysia users' with Maxis, UniFi and Singaporeans with Singtel and M1.

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Performance Result
Err... Wireless range is not better / on par than existing ASUS RT-AC68U? Yes, that's the case for the new ASUS RT-AC86U Wi-Fi Router. Run lot of tests on different locations, both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless range does a bit shorter than previous one. Little bit disappointed no doubt with 4 dBm shorter. As usual, both of them are placed at the same spot on 1st floor. And screenshots below were taken while I was on ground floor. Note - Jayce-ASUS == RT-AC68U. Anyhow, it still can cover whole double storey house easily with 2.4GHz. 5GHz good for half the coverage as usual.

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On the bright side, ASUS RT-AC86U has better wireless transfer rate ~ around 20 Mbit/s more than RT-AC68U based on iPerf3 tests. Yes even with shorter range, RT-AC86U has more throughput at the same location. That's great as long as it is within wireless coverage range. Therefore, on actual usage, RT-AC86U does perform slightly better no doubt. As for LAN, it performs at maximum speed that my devices support @ 960 Mbit/s.

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You can throw away your network-attached storage (NAS) now. Yes, just plug in a normal USB 3.0 hard drive will do. You will get NAS alike performance with ASUS RT-AC86U. Constant reading at 110MB/s and more than 100MB/s while writing. A huge improvement when compere to RT-AC68U with around 40MB/s only. Of course, that's the result from LAN connection. Wireless transfer will be limited by wireless devices themselves.

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ASUS RT-AC86U supports Wireless router, repeater, Access Point (AP) and media bridge modes. And lot of other useful features that I mentioned previously. Overall, RT-AC86U does performs faster with new 1.8 GHz dual-core processor, more RAM and storage. I hate to reboot previous RT-AC68U router when applying settings as it needs take around 2 minutes plus to do so. Guess what? RT-AC86U does it within 40 seconds. Serving 10+ devices smoothly with MU-MIMO support are piece of cake for it. Does not slow down at all when someone is transferring file to/fro USB hard drive. Yes, I am getting the lowest latency on online games like Mobile Legend thanks to Adaptive QoS. WTFast will improve more when your games are supported.

Anyway, all of these issues will be fixed ASUS for sure. Why? RT-AC68U is still getting firmware upgrade on improvements until now. RT-AC86U will get the same treatment as well. Furthermore, it will be getting Asuswrt-merlin custom firmware anytime soon too.

Update – Above issue had been solved on ASUS RT-AC86U Firmware version 3.0.0.4.382.16466. Stable for everyday use as I am using it now. Sometime, its wireless range performance is slightly better than RT-AC68U.

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Advantages
  • 4×4 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
  • Support up to 2900Mbps & Gigabit Ethernet
  • 110MB/s USB 3.0 HDD transfer speed
  • Packed with lot features
  • Built-in download manager
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Multiple languages support
  • 3 years warranty
Limitations
  • None from me
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Conclusion
ASUS RT-AC86U is a feature-packed advanced wireless router with excellent performance no doubt. Enjoy 4×4 MU-MIMO 802.11ac and NAS alike 110MB/s transfer rate. Great wireless range that suitable for both home and office. Don’t forget that it is loaded with lot of useful features too. Worry free with 3 years warranty. Interested? More information can be found at ASUS Website.

P/S – ASUS RT-AC86U is my current wireless router at home now. Highly recommended!

This post has been edited by JayceOoi: Sep 25 2017, 10:01 AM
kmrdeva
post Sep 1 2017, 05:33 PM

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Thanks for the review. Hmm, so wireless coverage is a little bit weaker than the older AC68U?

Don't understand why Asus did not put 4 external antenna for the AC86U instead of 3 external and 1 internal.

I also saw that Merlin doesn't support the AC86U as yet.
JayceOoi
post Sep 1 2017, 11:00 PM

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QUOTE(kmrdeva @ Sep 1 2017, 05:33 PM)
Thanks for the review. Hmm, so wireless coverage is a little bit weaker than the older AC68U?

Don't understand why Asus did not put 4 external antenna for the AC86U instead of 3 external and 1 internal.

I also saw that Merlin doesn't support the AC86U as yet.
*
You are most welcome. Yes, at least for my unit here.

Asus has other models with 4 external antenna already. Besides, most of the devices are using 2x2 only now. 3x3 is more than enough. 4x4 is overkill for me. biggrin.gif
soonwai
post Sep 1 2017, 11:20 PM


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Thanks for the awesome review. The USB3 transfer speed is amazing. How much will or is it selling for?
JayceOoi
post Sep 2 2017, 11:13 AM

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QUOTE(soonwai @ Sep 1 2017, 11:20 PM)
Thanks for the awesome review. The USB3 transfer speed is amazing. How much will or is it selling for?
*
$179.99 free shipping with discount code at GB biggrin.gif
DeepMemory
post Sep 2 2017, 06:16 PM

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Can install malaysian firmware?
drumstick62
post Sep 2 2017, 10:49 PM

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This is must more better than the Dlink router which given by the ISP that does not need a Mi WiFI extender flex.gif
JayceOoi
post Sep 3 2017, 04:17 PM

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QUOTE(DeepMemory @ Sep 2 2017, 06:16 PM)
Can install malaysian firmware?
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Asus router is using one firmware for all regions. At least for both routers that I own. rclxms.gif
lala_cai
post Sep 9 2017, 01:17 AM

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QUOTE(JayceOoi @ Sep 2 2017, 11:13 AM)
$179.99 free shipping with discount code at GB  biggrin.gif
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mind to share where you get the discount code?
superhuman88
post Sep 9 2017, 09:15 AM

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The design look familiar, more like MSI GT83 / GT75 / GT73. haha
but its fine, i'm also try look wireless router also. But may i know whats the price is it?
where can i look for it?
JayceOoi
post Sep 9 2017, 02:17 PM

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QUOTE(lala_cai @ Sep 9 2017, 01:17 AM)
mind to share where you get the discount code?
*
QUOTE(superhuman88 @ Sep 9 2017, 09:15 AM)
The design look familiar, more like MSI GT83 / GT75 / GT73. haha
but its fine, i'm also try look wireless router also. But may i know whats the price is it?
where can i look for it?
*
It is listed at my blog - http://www.jayceooi.com/asus-rt-ac86u-review/
elenatec
post Sep 14 2017, 12:10 PM

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HI,

I was going to buy this router later, before that how do you configure with local ISP Modem. I am using Maxis HomeFibre. I guessing Unifi will be very simple, but Maxis use the router as Unifi was it backbone.

any guides on setting up both connection with Asus Router?

Regards,
Jesh
JayceOoi
post Sep 14 2017, 08:19 PM

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QUOTE(elenatec @ Sep 14 2017, 12:10 PM)
any guides on setting up both connection with Asus Router?
*
Please follow this guide to setup Maxis Fiber
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBRbk1FSFj0
JayceOoi
post Sep 18 2017, 01:39 PM

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Version 3.0.0.4.382.16466
2017/09/14 update 54.99 MBytes

ASUS RT-AC86U Firmware version 3.0.0.4.382.16466
Security fixed
- Fixed CVE-2017-12754
- Fixed CVE-2017-11345
- Fixed CVE-2017-11344
- Fixed CVE-2017-11420

Bug fixed
- Fixed networkmap wan connection issues.
- Fixed AiCloud related issues.
- Fixed AiProtection related issues.
- Fixed wireless interoperability issue.
- Fixed game boost related issues.
- Fixed ASUS router app connection issues when router does not have public WAN IP.

New
- Added HDD hibernation feature.
louiszzz
post Sep 20 2017, 12:46 PM

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From: GARNiDELiA` ···<3



This nice , cost around how much MYR ?
possible to use on UNIFI ?
sHawTY
post Sep 20 2017, 01:17 PM

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QUOTE(louiszzz @ Sep 20 2017, 12:46 PM)
This nice , cost around how much MYR ?
Estimated between RM800 ~ RM1.2K once it reaches Malaysian shores
QUOTE(louiszzz @ Sep 20 2017, 12:46 PM)
possible to use on UNIFI ?
Yes, definitely can use for UniFi
JayceOoi
post Sep 20 2017, 02:03 PM

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QUOTE(louiszzz @ Sep 20 2017, 12:46 PM)
This nice , cost around how much MYR ?
possible to use on UNIFI ?
*
Around RM758 + free shipping with discount code

QUOTE(sHawTY @ Sep 20 2017, 01:17 PM)
Estimated between RM800 ~ RM1.2K once it reaches Malaysian shores
Yes, definitely can use for UniFi
*
Based on Asus Malaysia pricing, it should be near RM1200. Unless they slash price for older AC68U which selling at RM900 now.
Doraku
post Sep 20 2017, 07:14 PM

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Nice!,But which moderm does you use for" streamyx"
JayceOoi
post Sep 21 2017, 08:25 AM

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QUOTE(Doraku @ Sep 20 2017, 07:14 PM)
Nice!,But which moderm does you use for" streamyx"
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TM bundled one - Dlink DSL-2640B

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