Wireless Test (2.4GHz)
The testing procedure is pretty much the same as before, but this time, the client devices were connected to the 2.4GHz network (40MHz channel bandwidth). The clear winner in this test is the Lenovo laptop that’s equipped with an Intel 8265 adapter, while all other, far more expensive adapters got a very similar performance, with very little difference between each other. The WiFi 6 client device did well all throughout the test and it again shows that you don’t need to fear computers or phones that support the 802.11ax standard since they will work just as good with WiFi 5 routers, as they would with WiFi 6 ones.
After checking the signal strength, it’s clear that the 2.4GHz signal will reach farther than the 5GHz, so, at the same distance where the latter failed, all four client devices would still allow a somewhat decent browsing experience (and perhaps watching some videos on YouTube). Downstream, the best performers were the two Intel WiFi adapters, the AX200 and the 8265 and these two client devices were also the only ones that could still offer a semblance of an Internet connection after going down to 85dB in terms of signal. It’s not really that surprising that the Pixel 2 XL didn’t go that far, but I did expect a better performance from the Asus PCE-AC88.
As a bonus, I have also added a graph to showcase how well the Asus RT-AC68U performs over a longer period of time and I did compare it with some other routers that are often seen as the WiFi 6 replacements for the AC routers (I used the Asus RT-AX55, the TP-Link Archer AX21 and the Netgear RAX10).
The first conclusion is that the expensive WiFi adapters are great very near the router, but behave almost the same as the other options on the market when you go farther than a few feet away. Secondly, I learned that the WiFi chip in the flagship smartphones, even the older ones, is excellent. Besides that, the Asus RT-AC68U is still performing really well, even the first version that I tested here (I assume the third gen hardware will be even better), so the conclusion is pretty much obvious. Yes, the Asus RT-AC68U remains a viable option even after all these years and will work decently well with both WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 routers. Will it outperform the WiFi 6 routers? Not really, but it can offer a similar performance depending on the client device – mainly the the WiFi 5 ones which still are the most widespread (by far).
EASE OF USE9.0/10
- Has an iconic design
- Still performs really well
- Will work with both WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 client devices
- It supports AiMesh
- Doesn't have some of the latest features that newer Asus routers do
- Still a bit expensive considering its age
- Gets a bit hot
Mark is a graduate in Computer Science, having gathered valuable experience over the years working in IT as a programmer. Mark is also the main tech writer for MBReviews.com, covering not only his passion, the networking devices, but also other cool electronic gadgets that you may find useful for your every day life.