ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 Router review – Is a non-mesh router worth $799.00? -Ausdroid

A good router is at the heart of any network, in the case of high-level enterprise configurations; possibly several of them. But for home use, that’s an exaggeration… We’ve been looking at a number of low, mid, and high-end routers at Ausdroid over the past few years. Today we take a look at the Asus GT-AX6000, a top flight, Wi-Fi 6 router with all the trimmings.

I’ve enjoyed Republic of Gamers equipment in the past, and when the GT-AX6000 was sent in for testing, I had high hopes. There’s so much to explore on the router, many of which are standard features, so we’ll cover them up, but the more gaming- and Asus-specific features; we dive in.

The contents of the package:

The GT-AX6000 router arrived with another test device (coming soon…) and the shipping box was huge, but that’s because compared to the router I was using, this device is huge. But aside from the aesthetics, there are several good reasons for this. The router is well protected during transport in a container surrounded by cardboard packaging with soft plastics protecting the router, power brick and mostly recyclable materials.

The router is not a typical NBN router with a single WAN port and four network ports. It has four gigabit LAN ports plus two 2.5 GB LAN ports that can also act as WAN ports, both of which can act as 1 GB WAN and aggregated connections.

In addition, there are two USB ports for connecting devices and drives that can meet a number of needs such as Internet file sharing, Samba shares, FTP, printer sharing, a download manager or even a USB 4G stick for network failover . The four, yes four, external antennas look a bit off, but they do serve a purpose when it comes to delivering Wi-Fi performance over the dual-band offering with consistent speeds.

Installation: quick, easy and impressive

A few years ago I my home network upgraded from an ad hoc tangle of cables to a planned and structured network. This was to reduce reliance on – increasingly crowded – Wi-Fi for devices that can make an Ethernet connection, and to improve overall performance.

One of the requirements, when I designed the network, was to make sure I could switch routers easily, which came into play here. The WAN cable came out of the old router, as did the power from the network switch, and into the new one. Power on and it was time to set up my NBN connection.

When I loaded the setup page – a universal for Asus, easy-to-remember way to access our router – on my PC, I was impressed to see that as soon as I got my NBN connection information in it, the router had detected the IP range I was using before and already assigned it, as well as my statically assigned IPs.

Other Features: Routing & Protection

As mentioned, there are many features on this router and some of them are standard features, so we’ll cover up the common stuff like parental controls, IPv6 settings, and firewall options. But we’ll take a closer look at options like AI Protection, VPN configuration, Traffic Analyzer, and network mapping.

Let’s start with AI protection created in partnership with Trend Micro to protect your router and everything behind it from malicious attacks. It starts by suggesting ways to improve your network’s security, such as disabling features that are no longer used and potential attack vectors such as web access to your router. Once enabled, other functions are enabled, such as blocking malicious sites, setting up intrusion prevention, and preventing infected devices from becoming part of a botnet.

There are some very good options in the VPN stakes here, the first being to access your home network through a VPN. This is of course the correct way to do this, without leaving any ports open that can be scanned and attacked. Impressively, though, this also comes with the option to use a VPN provider and have all your traffic routed through that VPN – without configuring each device – for your entire network. Hiding your online activities from your ISP and the government may also open up additional opportunities for entertainment through companies like Netflix.

Parental control is another feature expected in home routers these days, but many routers have it as a paid option. However, Asus offers free protection as part of the offer, which is a nice little bonus, especially with the detailed controls available.

Performance: Coverage and Consistency

For the vast majority of users, the bottleneck in accessing the internet is usually the speeds available on NBN. With most routers capable of handling a Gigabit NBN connection, it’s actually quite difficult to push routers to their limits. What our testing time with the GT-AX6000 shows is just how much of a difference a high-quality Wi-Fi 6 — a major upgrade — makes a router with a lot of computing power.

For Aussies, this is a router that will surpass your NBN connection before your router starts to struggle. The theoretical top speeds at 5GHz and 2.4GHz are 4.084Mbps and 1.184Mbps respectively, but if you’re transferring data internally, that’s only half the story.

From an absolute speed perspective, I was able to consistently outperform my 100/40 NBN connection on wireless or wired connections.

I already mentioned the 2.5 Gbps ports that are extremely useful if you are using a NAS – which also has 2.5 Gbps – on your internal network. This enables multiple, high-speed internal connections to your NAS, making internal data transfer much more time-saving. Perhaps an upgrade that content creators and streamers might want to look at in the longer term with network-based storage would improve overall performance and reduce upgrade costs.

This is primarily a gaming router and this shows that the first ethernet port has priority for gaming. If you have a gaming PC or console, this is the port to plug it into. Traffic to this port is prioritized, ensuring the best possible gaming experience. There’s also a feature in the router software called Game Boost that recognizes and prioritizes game data, which helps – I didn’t see any during testing – to minimize the potential for lag spikes.

Regardless of what my family and I threw at it, the GT-AX6000 met the fairly important needs of my home network, including over 60 devices, 11 smart speakers, phones, tablets, laptops, and IoT devices. This equates to downloads, a lot of streaming, gaming and outgoing connections on many of the connected devices.

Is there a downside?

The price is without a doubt the biggest opponent for many people. With plenty of options offering Wi-Fi 6 at a significantly lower cost, there are many users who simply aren’t looking at this top of the routing shelf. So the cost alone is a barrier to entry.

The other opponents are highly subjective, as everyone’s preference for aesthetics is different. I don’t mind the “out there” look ROG devices typically have, they have a definite feel about them, but it’s obviously not for everyone. Part of this, and the necessity with the brute force of the router, is its physical size, which is about twice the footprint of a standard home router.

So is $799.00 a fair price?

There is a lot to think about here as there are definitely users who have networks that would benefit from a router at this level. The simple answer is that for most people it is not worth spending that much on a router.

It’s not cheap so consider if you’re going to get value out of it and it’s certainly not a subtle device in presentation. You get a very impressive device from a performance perspective with really good wired connection options and not just a fast, but consistently fast wireless connection.

There are easy and largely automated ways to get a great gaming experience with the added peace of mind of network security and parental controls – free inclusion – for those who want to use them. The final decision really comes down to whether or not you will see a difference with the GT-AX6000 and whether that difference will be worth $799.00

For my use, I’ve seen increased network performance and a huge increase in Wi-Fi stability during testing. But due to the design of my network, which provides a gigabit wired connection where it is needed, I haven’t seen a huge increase in online gaming performance. I’d still say the improvements are worth considering, but it’s hard to recommend it to others for the price.

If you need a router with truly impressive performance and customization that doesn’t require any network engineering knowledge, this is an excellent option. Gamers will see performance improvements, especially if the primary connection is wireless, and this will improve the performance of your internal network.

Disclosure Statement

Asus has allowed Ausdroid to keep the product for long-term evaluation

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