Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a name to remember, it left an impression here in my office. The performance, the cool options, the sheer hardware and of course a very wide range of WIFI functionality as well as the eight Gigabit ports, it's all a little daunting. Next to that if you have this puppy in your living room, you can't ignore it. I mean not just the size, but it's something that will immediately be a focus of attention, it's ROG alright.
That said, so much power at hand also comes to a rather powerful price-tag, the GT-AC5300 sits at the 399 USD/Euro marker, and that is a lot of money for a router! In fact so much that it becomes hard to recommend as a 150 USD router will get you say (a bit arbitrary statement) 80% of the performance and features as well. Also if you plan to spend this much cash on that cow, please do realize that the AX WIFI standard is being released towards WIFI routers this year, and yes .. that is the new next-level gear. The GT-AC5300 is loaded with features, like priority game packets, the ability to use a private network, VPN options, server routing options and very strong diagnostic and monitoring options all are present in this 4-core beast. It's good, really really good at every little corner inside my house got coverage, even two levels higher in the house through concrete steel reinforced floors, I was able to pick up plenty AC signal to stream say Netflix in Ultra HD. So range wise this puppy is excellent, but I do need to say it, not exponentially better than say the competing MIMO Multi-band AC routers from names like Dlink, Netgear, and TP-Link. What is worth some extra dough though, is the level of support. The routers are getting firmware updates pretty actively, and that's great in these vulnerable times. There is a second comment I need to make as well, I like the admin interface, which does offer pretty extremely advanced network settings.
- That's not for everybody. If you are a plug and pray end-user, this unit might be a little much.
- And the looks of the web-based software interface, ehm .. it's not rather sexy looking eh? That could use an upgrade alright.
Probably there should be a novice (default) admin interface, and then one for the guru's like we are. Hey, there's good stuff in there, like deny/allow certain IPs on a WAN to local port forwards. You can assign how much bandwidth the guest accounts can use up as maximum including the option to limit them to the web (and not your local LAN). Or hey, I want to allow only certain external IPs to be forwarded towards an FTP server, that's all possible.
Overall wired throughput is really good, for LAN to LAN measurements we topped 930 Mb/sec but that's normal for any gigabit router these days. The power consumption can be discussed as far as I am concerned, at 11 to 12 Watts we do think that the GT-AC5300 is consuming quite a bit of it, remember these devices are on 24/7/365). With your household devices online 24/7 these days your power bill will increase 20 to 25 bucks per year. If you take into account that you can also use the unit as a bit of NAS with external storage connected to the router, well that does help out in the equation, of course. USB 3.0 / NAS throughput performance is good, reads are close to 100 MB/s, writes a notch lower at ~ 60 MB/sec. The web interface works and responds fast as well. But let's get to what it's all about; WIFI performance.
The sole reason for you to purchase this router is twofold, it's an optimized gaming router. But here I would say that packet prioritization and QoS functions that give priority towards the gaming ports remain trivial, any modern age router can easily cope with the load at hand, even while you are transferring gigs of data over LAN, this should not be a problem for even a 100 USD/EUR router. Nope, you purchase a router of this class to next-level WIFI performance. And this is just really really good with the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300. All popular WIFI standards are supported, and albeit each and every router is limited toward a certain amount of output power regulated by the government, ASUS did some clever things.
The many antennas make sure that each corner in your house is reached. Next, to that from single 2.4 up-to triple, AC 5 GHz bands are supported. I mentioned this already, by my laptop is the client test device (router is the host), and the max it can do is dual-band WIFI. On the two sweet 5 GHz band we reached over 200 Mbit/s in our attic (that's 15 meters away through two concrete steel enforced floors and walls), and in the same room, we passed 500 Mbit/s. That's real measured throughput performance. So the WiFi range/strength definitely is good though comparable towards other high-end routers from DLINK, Linksys and TP-Link. Of course, results will differ per household, environment (city/rural), WIFI devices connected but also your client. if your laptop gas poor WIFI reception and antennas, the GT-AC5300 might help a bit, but will not offer miracle performance. So as always, it is the symbiosis of all parts used that ensure the success of your WIFI network. And yes, that 5 USD WIFI adapter through Ali-express all of the sudden seems less attractive eh?
We also need to understand that our bandwidth is getting more and more cluttered with WIFI signals these days and everybody simply pushes more through WIFI. You all have a wireless router, everybody has a WIFI smartphone, tablets, media server and a lot of common household peripherals have some sort of WIFI. Heck WIFI enabled washing machines?, really Samsung. But it is the future though, everything is connected to the Internet, ergo you need a solid foundation to work from. These factors combined form the most important denominator, the device that it all connects to is very important in terms of WIFI quality and range. From web browsing, downloading to playing games on your PC, TAB, netbook or laptop... the GT-AC5300 will be very sufficient in terms of bandwidth and reach. It has strong send and receives signal. Obviously, the 5GHz AC bands based devices is what you need to migrate towards, as Wireless G and N, are just not worth it anymore.
You have noticed that the AIMesh we created, was a little .. meh? The idea is sound, the setup works well enough and it's a very clever thing to do from ASUS, as they would love for you to purchase not one but two routers. The problem with our test was simple, one GT-AC5300 is already covering our entire household, ergo a second one set up as a node in the mesh, really didn't add much more in terms of WIFI. The 2400 MHz band did see a nice boost though. And sure you can see some improvements on that 5GHz band. But that was certainly not worth the extra 400 bucks for the second GT-AC5300. Honestly, if you have WIFI issues then have a look at a good repeater. You can find them for 50 bucks and will bring you the desired effect. Another option that I find more charming are mesh kits like ASUS Lyra, three small devices you place in your house, boosting WIFI to proper levels on the 2.5 and 5GHz band, an AC1300 three pack costs roughly 300 Euros. Compare that to the 800 Euros we need to spend on two GT-AC5300 as tested today. What I, however, will say is that ASUS adding mesh functionality towards its routers is a very interesting move to make. It helps yes, it works yes, it's easy enough to setup, yes, but purchasing separated routers IMHO is just too expensive for what it does.
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is an excellent router. It offers proper features, pretty much anything you need from a router and then adds to that proper hardware. A quad-core router with 1GB of memory, really it's a small server. Paired with a really proper WIFI implementation you receive very good range inside your house. WIFI will, however, be WIFI, signal outside will be hard and sure each and every WIFI router is limited to a maximum power output. The hardware helps as well as all the extra antennas. If you purchase a router like this, really, you need dual-band 5 GHz devices, please do forget all lower standards like 2400 MHz, it's there for compatibility on legacy devices. Once you are on dual, or even triple band WIFI with this router, the sky is the limit. The ROG Rapture is good, offers excellent range. This probably was the reason that a two-device setup like AIMesh node did not do too much. I like the idea of meshes, but yes, there are far more affordable solutions that using two routers (whatever model that is). I mentioned the Lyra kit already, I see more possibilities for such solutions price wise, that or just place one or two proper repeaters in your house and be done with the thing for an extra 150 bucks.
The AIMesh implementation by itself is a proper one though, easy to setup and it's a nice feature to have, of course. So then, the GT-AC5300 is an overall excellent performing router. I would have liked to see even more range, reaching my garden but also understand all the rules and regulations the manufacturers get enforced these days. For fast internet browsing over WIFI it's plenty enough though, file-transfers on 5G... no problem either. Remember though, your host might be top notch, but you need proper WIFI clients as well. Try to go with dual-band AC as much as you can, a triple band is even better but harder to find and much more expensive. The Firmware GUI is easy to use and setup and the router all by itself ran flawlessly, the software could use a visual improvement but that's my only remark there really. After running this product for a week, we have not seen any stability issues.
The last lines then, I promise. The GT-AC5300 probably ends up in the top three of my personal best routers, but you do need to accept the fact that the price tag is very steep compared to the competition. This is not just a router though, it is a small low power computer AKA server that takes control over your local network and internet, we can certainly recommend it if you need a strong WIFI range on the 2.4 and especially 5 GHz channels. Combined with proper AC WIFI NICs and AC enabled devices you'll enjoy very good WIFI performance throughout your house. LAN wise we do hope to see next-gen routers to make a move towards 2.5 /5 and 10 Gbit ethernet jacks, right now that is a missed opportunity. We really need to move forward NIC/LAN connectivity wise, IMHO. Totally recommended, but it is expensive for a consumer slash gaming router alright. I would like to give the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 a higher-level award, as really it's very good. However, the pricing is a complicating factor here, as well as new routers that will be released this year based on AX and at least 2.5 or 5 Gbit/s Ethernet jacks. As such, we hand out a recommended award. Would we have reviewed it a year ago, it likely would have gotten a top pick award.