The Asus RT-AC5300 is very good. The software interface is brilliant with a wider range of features than another router around. Performance is excellent and it delivers some great transfer speeds to single clients.
But that said, with the exception of the second 5GHz wireless network, there’s not much here that isn’t already available on slightly less high end, more affordable Asus routers. The RT-AC88U that we used for testing is already a mighty piece of networking kit that will do (almost) everything the RT-AC5300 can do, for about £100 less.
Therefore the RT-AC5300 is really only worth buying if you actually need that extra wireless capacity, otherwise we’d suggest a slightly cheaper router.
From our tests we see excellent 802.11n and particularly good 3×3 802.11ac performance, and the 4×4 802.11ac performance is also superb, although other 4×4 routers can just about match it.
USB performance is very good as well, with speeds that finally might make a router useful for file storage. And with all the Asus AiCloud features there’s a lot you can do with it. It’s helped by the fast processor (in terms of networking hardware) and 512MB memory.
We’re not certain the dual wireless networks offer a particular benefit to performance for most people. As we found in our tests, with a single server you won’t get double the performance of a single 4×4 router, as the gigabit ethernet at either end will bottleneck the transfer speed. For the maximum performance, you need separate transfers going to separate servers. This additional hardware requirement makes the RT-AC5300 even more of a niche product, catering for a tiny subset of users.
But having said that, we think some people who simply love the appearance of the Asus RT-AC5300, and would spend the extra money alone for a router that looks like this, whether they need its second wireless network or not.
And the RT-AC5300 is generally very good as a general-purpose router. It’s certainly powerful and the software is the best on the market. That same software can be found on more affordable Asus routers though.
So while the RT-AC5300 is a great router, and one we’d not hesitate to recommend it’s not obvious that everyone will get much use from its single unique feature – the dual 5GHz wireless networks, which are its main selling point.
In a really busy environment, perhaps deployed in a public building, it should work superbly, dishing out bandwidth as needed, but few home users will really be in a position to make the most of this unique piece of hardware.
Buy the Asus RT-AC88U from Amazon for £299.98 inc vat HERE.
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- The Asus WRT software is full of useful features
- Fast performance, capable of great speed all round.
- Twice the potential wireless bandwidth of other 4×4 routers
- No single client transfer can go particularly faster than any other 4×4 router
Kitguru Says: Although it’s a niche product, the Asus RT-AC5300 is an all-round great router. If you think you can make use of multiple 5GHz networks, then its absolutely worth the investment. However, given you will need to fork out for 4×4 bridges as well, the whole setup will cost quite a bit.