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Low-cost WiFi 6 Router Can Even be Mesh



It’s 2021, and the WiFi 6 cat is out of the patron know-how bag. Increasingly telephones and laptops, from the Apple iPhone 12 Professional to the Dell XPS 13 9310, now include speedy Wi-Fi 6 aerials packed beneath their shiny steel and plastic hoods. 

Nonetheless, to make the most of the quicker and extra dependable speeds the Wi-Fi 6 customary gives you, you’re going to wish a Wi-Fi 6 router. Whereas these gadgets haven’t at all times been the best on the pockets, that beginning to change. 

The Asus RX-AX55 is likely one of the least expensive Wi-Fi 6 routers accessible proper now. Along with being a standalone system, this router might be set as much as work as the principle node in a mesh system, so you may add extra gadgets should you don’t fairly have the funds to stretch to a fully-fledged mesh Wi-Fi community system simply but.

Observe that like most, this router doesn’t embody a modem so you will nonetheless must plug it into your current router.

Design & Construct

Just like the TP-Hyperlink AX50 Archer, the Asus RT-AX55 retains a low profile, measuring 56 x 230 x 134mm and weighing a mere 374g. 

4 adjustable antennae, which might be pushed again and moved side-to-side rise out of the again of the router. The antennae sit above 4 gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one WAN port, plus the standard reset button, WPS change and port for the mains adapter. 

There isn’t any USB port, so you may’t connect issues like exterior laborious drives to the RT-AX55. At this worth, that’s forgivable and never everybody needs or wants this operate anyway – particularly if you have already got a NAS drive. 

By way of model, the RT-AX55 is a reasonably typical-looking router, a flattened trapezoid with a barely aggressive insectile look about it. Air vents on the entrance, rear, sides, and the underside imply that any heat air generated by the parts can simply escape.

There isn’t any choice to wall mount the RT-AX55, which can be a problem for some, however given its comparatively small measurement and light-weight, you need to simply be capable of discover a appropriate spot for the RT-AX55 in your house.

Setup & Options 

By now, just about any dwelling networking producer price their salt can have frolicked making the set-up course of as simple as attainable for newcomers, normally by means of some very polished cell apps, however Asus has gone one step additional with its Asus Router app (accessible on iOS and Android).

The app interface is, dare I say it, relatively cool-looking – maybe not stunning contemplating Asus makes among the finest gaming laptops you should purchase.

Whereas most router apps characteristic clear and minimalistic strains, Asus’s app is lavishly embellished with numerous sci-fi impressed paintings that wouldn’t look misplaced on a panel in the united statesEnterprise’s engine room. 

Because the Asus RT-AX55 has no modem of its personal, you’ll want to attach it to 1. Within the UK, this may imply ensuring Openreach has equipped you with one, or enabling Modem Mode in your ISP equipped system, such because the Virgin Media Tremendous Hub. 

Both method, newcomers received’t really feel misplaced, because the Asus Router app will make you do the entire belongings you’re presupposed to do, from powering down the modem earlier than connecting it to the router by way of Ethernet, turning on the router after which powering the modem again on. 

The complete course of itself took about two minutes – however then I needed to await a large firmware replace to put in, which took significantly longer. Whereas I made a number of cups of tea within the course of, it is good to know that Asus isn’t ready round to ensure its prospects have put in the newest patches. 

As soon as you might be all arrange and good to go, you may tinker with numerous issues by way of the app. Attending to grips with that is actually fairly easy due to the logical format. On the most elementary, the Asus Router app offers you a fast overview of your community and the entire gadgets on it.

Tapping on icons for every linked system enables you to refresh connections, helpful if one thing’s enjoying up, or throttle connections – useful if somebody is hogging numerous the bandwidth. If you wish to block any gadgets fully, you are able to do that right here, too. 

Dad and mom desirous to assign homework hours to particular gadgets can achieve this by way of the Household tab. Age-related content material filters might be utilized to gadgets, too, however there’s no technique to fine-tune these with block or approve lists – even diving into the desktop management panel doesn’t provide the capacity to dam particular URLs, which is one thing that numerous different routers permit you to do. 

As is commonly the case with trendy routers, if you wish to tinker additional, and allow issues like port forwarding and configure VPN assist, you’ll must open the management panel on a desktop machine. There’s a QoS (High quality of Service) mode, which can see issues like streaming visitors prioritised at sure instances, nevertheless it’s not likely configurable – your choices are merely ‘on’ or ‘off’. 

There’s additionally AiProtection, a safety characteristic that makes use of Development Micro software program to scan for viruses in real-time and isolate and block compromised gadgets in your community. A really welcome characteristic, however no substitute for a devoted antivirus software program package deal. 

The AiMesh menu, which helps you to add extra Asus networking gear to your community, might be accessed right here too. With out having one other AiMesh-certified system handy, I can’t touch upon how simple that is to make use of, nor how the Asus RT-AX55 features as a part of a mesh Wi-Fi system however the availability is there.

Efficiency

To display how the Asus RT-AX55 received on with completely different generations of gadgets and, extra broadly, the distinction between Wi-Fi 5 (11.ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (11.ax), I ran a sequence of pace exams on a Huawei Mate 10 Professional (an older cellphone with Wi-Fi 5 radios) and a Realme X50 Professional (a more moderen cellphone Wi-Fi 6 cellphone) with the WiFi Pace Professional Android app. 

Averages of the outcomes of the exams, recorded at distances throughout a two-storey terraced home, are displayed beneath.

I set the RT-AX55 up near my Virgin Media Tremendous Hub 3, which I’d set to Modem Mode. As with most modems, this system sits near the grasp socket, which is on the entrance of the home. 

Wi-Fi 5
Virgin Media Tremendous Hub 3
Asus RT-AX55
1m
658Mbps
837Mbps
5m with wall
192Mbps
459Mbps
Upstairs rear room
20Mbps
120Mbps
Backyard

16Mbps
Wi-Fi 6
 
 
1m
762Mbps
1200Mbps
5m with wall
509Mbps
1040Mbps
Upstairs rear room
62Mbps
194Mbps
Backyard

254Mbps

In testing and on a regular basis use, I discovered the Asus RT-AX55 to be excellent by way of pace – particularly on Wi-Fi 6 gadgets – and by way of protection. Particularly, connections on the 5GHz band, which normally surrender after I stroll two or extra rooms away on any system, remained sturdy on the Wi-Fi 6 system, although inevitably, strolling out into the backyard would see me jump over to the slower, however extra widely-reaching 2.4GHz frequncy. 

Whereas I wasn’t capable of get a lot pleasure upstairs on the Huawei, it was pleasing to see that I may make use of a good 5GHz connection on the Realme cellphone. 

That stated, I really feel like I may solely nearly work upstairs on such a connection, and as with the Linksys MR7350 and TP-Hyperlink AX50 Archer, I’d actually wish to get a Powerline adapter or higher but an AiMesh satellite tv for pc in order that I may make the Asus RT-AX55 a part of a mesh Wi-Fi community.

As regards to the TP-Hyperlink AX50 Archer, I really feel prefer it’s price mentioning that that system helps 160MHz-wide channels, and so is theoretically able to delivering a lot quicker speeds than the Asus RT-AX55, which simply helps 80MHz channels.

For the nice majority of consumers, this may probably not be a problem, because the outcomes above display the type of speeds you may count on on most gadgets.  

I might love to have the ability to discuss pairing one RT-AX55 up with one other and seeing how handing over between two entry factors works, nevertheless it’s at present not attainable for me to say how simple or efficient that is. 

Worth & Availability 

The Asus RT-AX55 is in the stores now with an RRP of £149.99 however you may simply discover it for much less.

Amazon UK is at present settling the RT-AX55 for £120, whereas Field and Very are each promoting it for underneath £100. 

You also needs to be capable of choose an RT-AX55 up from Scan for £99, though on the time of writing, the router was listed as solely being accessible to pre-order. 

Patrons in america can get the Asus RT-AX55 from Amazon and Walmart for the US RRP of $129. Though the RT-AX55 is at present out of inventory at BestBuy, it’s priced the identical there, ought to they refresh their inventory.

Test our chart of the finest routers to see what different choices you will have.

Verdict

The Asus RT-AX55 is a really low-cost and succesful Wi-Fi 6 router that works properly as a standalone system – plus it might probably cleverly be paired with one other to create a mesh system. 

This implies it competes very properly on worth with extra established mesh Wi-Fi programs like Eero, Netgear Orbi and Asus’s personal ZenWiFi gadgets, though some patrons after an entire answer that works out of the field could favor to go giant on a much bigger (and dearer) possibility.

Downsides right here actually are negligible with the shortage of a USB port one of many solely standout cons.

In case you’re wanting round for an inexpensive Wi-Fi 6 networking answer, you’ll probably be pleased to miss issues like no wall mount or 160MHz assist, the Asus RT-AX55 will fulfill. 

Specs
Asus RT-AX55: Specs

802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) 2×2 dual-band with MU-MIMO and OFDMA
four x Gigabit Ethernet and 1 x Gigabit WAN
Distant management and administration with Asus Router app (iOS, Android)
Visitor Wi-Fi
Alexa assist
Parental controls
Wi-Fi administration
Site visitors administration
IPv6
WPA2 (Private and Enterprise)
WPA3 (Private)
56 x 230 x 134mm
374g

About the author: SubSellKaro

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