I need to point out a few things that I didn’t like. The first was that the router sometimes would not detect a wired device (the server) and I had to move it to another port. Also, the second LAN port would not work at all (great QC..). The second issue was that the same behavior that I witnessed with the RT-AX82U and the RT-AX58U, although milder, I saw on the TUF-AX5400 as well. The router sometimes would simply refuse to offer a throughput higher than 100Mbps or simply dropped the connection for a few seconds. I noticed that it happens only with PCIE adapters, but I was able to reproduce this problem on multiple computers, with both AMD and Intel processors.
You’re all most likely using devices that support the 802.11ac standard, so I decided to run the same tests using a client equipped with an Intel 8265 adapter and I also used a mobile device, an older model, but still very much relevant, the Pixel 2 XL (also WiFi 5). The throughput was more stable, but it wasn’t as impressive as with the WiFi 6 client. In any case, the Intel 8265 throughput remained solid up until I went to the 45 feet mark, where it dropped a bit under 100Mbps. What I did like was that at about 70 feet, the signal was approximately 88dB and the speed was at an average of 50Mbps up and 23Mbps downstream. The Pixel 2 XL had a strong performance near the router, but it quickly fell after going a bit farther from the router, the maximum it could reach while still offering a usable Internet connection was 45 feet.
Wireless Test (2.4GHz)
I used the same trio of client devices on the 2.4GHz network (40MHz) and, as expected, the best performance was achieved using the WiFi 6 client device (Intel AX200) which went up to 300Mbps near the router and then remained consistent up to 30 feet. But it did fell quite badly at 45 feet, where the throughput was 13Mbps up and 8.5Mbps down. Perhaps the most consistent all throughout the house was the Intel 8265 which went from 161Mbps at 5 feet to about 75Mbps at 45 feet. The Pixel 2 XL did well as also went to 45 feet with a reasonable throughput of 45Mbps upstream and 40Mbps downstream.
I have also added a graph to show how well the Asus TUF-AX5400 performed over a certain period of time and in comparison with the Asus RT-AX82U and the TP-Link AX73 which is its main competitor from an third-party brand. The throughput matters a bit less than the behavior itself, so focus towards fluctuations.
Additionally, I have ran some LAN to LAN tests and I could see that the router performed well: from the client to the server, I saw an average of 949Mbps and from the server to the client, I measured an average of 915Mbps. Furthermore, I noticed that there is a USB port, so I connected an external drive and ran some storage tests. Writing a 3GB folder with multimedia content, I saw an average of 50MBps and, while reading it, I saw an average of 85MBps.
Installation and Software
As with the other Asus routers, there’s the option to either use a mobile app to install the router or rely on the web-based interface. I chose the former, so after installing the AsusWRT app, I tapped on the Plus icon and selected the ASUS wireless router option from the list. Next, I connected the phone to the SSID that’s broadcasted by the router and allowed the app to detect the Asus TUF-AX5400. Then, I had to enter the PPPoE user name and password (since this was my connection type), I also needed to insert the SSID name and password (I decided to separate the bands) and, lastly, I had to set up an admin account.
After that, the app displayed an interesting message from Asus, where I could agree to receive notifications from the manufacturer, but this does mean that Asus will collect some data (the shipping address of the router, the app version and the language set on the device). Agree or disagree, that’s your choice (I disabled it). The app interface is pretty much identical to what you get with other WiFi 6 Asus router, be it gaming-focused or not.
So, there’s some Status info on the Home page: here, you can adjust the Aura RGB, check the Mesh network or enable the Game Mode – this mode will set the mobile device to the highest priority. Next, there’s the Devices page which has a list of all client devices and, if you click on any, it will allow you to set a bandwidth limit or set it as a Gaming or Streaming device. The Family section does make use of Trend Micro services to block various types of content based on the preferred age and you can set a scheduled access. Under Settings, I did see that there’s the possibility to enable QoS, although it doesn’t let you adjust anything, and there’s also the Instant Guard, which I think is a fantastic addition to a router (I wrote a more in-depth analysis here).
It’s great to see that at least some brand keep on adding features at no additional cost, while other have stripped their router software to the bare minimum. Besides the app, you do get the possibility to enter the web-based interface and, to access it, simply enter the IP address of the TUF-AX5400. It’s 192.168.50.1.
The interface does have a slightly different skin, so there are some minor differences, but overall, it has a similar layout to what we got accustomed with using other Asus routers. There’s the General and Advanced Settings, and, under the first block of settings, I could see the AiProtection that includes the Two-Way IPS and the Infected Device Prevention and Blocking.
There’s also the Open NAT, where you can create port forwarding rules for your gaming consoles (it includes Game Profiles). Under Advanced Settings, I also appreciate the Professional section underneath the Wireless options, as well as the Dual-WAN section that can be found under the WAN tab (it support load balancing between the WAN port and one LAN port / USB, as well as the FailOver mode).
Asus has been trying to make the gaming router an actual desirable device for the wider audience for a very long time and it kind of achieved its goal, especially with the newer WiFi 6 routers. But I am not entirely sure whether the TUF series actually makes that much sense, especially when it doesn’t seem to come with anything new. When compared to the Asus RT-AX82U, the Asus RT-AX5400 is the same device with a different design, so why should you bother with it? The answer is the price tag. At the moment of writing, this device performs the same as the more expensive RT-AX82U, but it costs less. It also does seem to have limited availability around the world, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you can get it in your area. But be aware that Merlin is not yet supporting it, so if that’s something of paramount importance, then the Asus RT-AX82U still remains a valid option.
EASE OF USE9.2/10
- WiFi 6 (OFDMA, BSS Coloring and TFT)
- Feature-rich app and web-based interface
- Supports AiMesh
- Good wireless performance
- I can't believe we got at this point, but yes, the multiple LEDs are now a plus
- Can't be mounted on a wall
- One port didn't work at all, while the others behaved erratically
- It has some mild stability issues on the 160MHz
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.