Today at Streaming Blog we’re reviewing for the first time some alien technology. Just kidding! However, this is what most people assume when the first see the Asus RT-AC5300 Router with its 8 antennas. Yes, those “limbs” that you see on the router is not a gimmick to make the Asus RT-AC5300 look unique. It is actually 8 antennas give the user an amazing and fast experience. Some even mistake this as a spider looking thing with its 8 limbs, I mean antennas but anyway, as I was saying this was not a gimmick on the part of Asus. And we will put it to the test if these 8 antennas really do offer a superb experience.
The router is made for gaming which offers better speed and latency for games. I can’t think of any other routers coming up with this many antennas and this certainly puts the Asus RT-AC5300 into the spotlight.
There’s a reason behind this unique design. It is because of a set of unique features that the Asus RT-AC5300 has. It has two 5 GHz 802.11 ac networks on separate circuits which allocate a full quota of bandwidth to each. A lot of routers already offer multiple SSIDs that provide users with two or more networks to connect to and each of these can be configured on its own. However, those routers have to share the same 5 GHz channel and this means that the bandwidth will have to be split between them. Now with the Asus RT-AC5300, both 5 GHz networks are capable of a whopping 1733 Mbit per sec and are also independent of each other.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router also has a 1.4 GHz dual-core Broadcom BCM4709C0KFEBG processor with 512 mb of memory as well as three separate Broadcom SoCs. This means that the Asus RT-AC5300 has two routers that share the same CPU.
Also with other Asus routers, the Asus RT-AC5300 also comes with the AsusWRT software. This is ASUS’ operating system built for routers that offers loads of features with a brilliant user interface. It even has parental controls on top of an amazing QOS system as well as an external storage management. The Asus RT-AC5300 has a particularly useful tool called Smart Connect that will determine the position of a client and it will allocate them the fastest available wireless connection and since the router has three wireless networks available, this makes Smart Connect even more reliable.
Asus RT-AC5300 Review – Whats in the Box?
The ASUS RT-AC5300 packaging is quite similar to a lot of Asus’ networking kit. The front has a black and blue background design with the picture of the actual product in front with its name. The front highlights that this router is a Tri-band Gigabit Router and also to put it simply, it is fast.. The back sports all its main features written on a black background. The back is pretty busy and it covers a lot about the Asus RT-AC5300.
Right when you open the box, you will instantly find the actual router sitting comfy inside the black box. You will not see the antennas attached yet on the main chassis however. Instead, you will find them underneath the chassis.
Under the router, we have the eight antennas that were laid out next to each other. It is quite fascinating to look at to be honest. The whole eight antennas are quite organized neatly inside the box but this is to be expected coming from a top of the line router like the Asus RTAC5300.
As for the contents inside we have the router itself, an RJ-45 Ethernet cable, an external 19 v power adapter, manual cd and a quick start guide. The external power supply is a standard ‘cloverleaf’ power connector.
Even without the antennas, the patterned mesh makes it already look alien-like along with the red trim outline on the sides.
Asus RT-AC5300 Router – This Thing Kicks Ass!
The eight external antennas are connected around the four sides of the router chassis which forms a claw shape that gives its alien-like look which might put off some people with its rather weird looking aesthetic which again, I reiterate, helps flush out the best experience it can offer.
With all the antennas mounted on all the four sides of the Asus RT-AC5300, the device’s controls, lights, ports are in the other three sides of the chassis. The front has a small selection of status lights along with the USB 2.0 port WPS button and the buttons to disable the router’s LEDs as well as its wireless capabilities that are positioned on the left side. The six LEDs indicate that status of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless, LAN connectivity, internet, WPS and power. The internet LEDs will turn bright red to warn the user that there is no connection.
Towards the rear, you will find a power button, a USB 3.0 port, DCIN, the four LAN ports and the WAN port. The reset button is also at the rear but it isn’t as quite visible as the others.
The Asus RT-AC5300 is a surprisingly heavy router being over 3.2 kg or 7.2 lbs. This would mean it has a solid build. The look may not appeal to everyone but the quality of the build is quite obviously robust. The materials used are also nice to the touch. It is quite smooth and feel premium whenever you touch it.
There is a red trim outline that runs all the way around the chassis which gives it a modern look. The top it also sports a patterned mesh which isn’t just a design. It actually serves another function of releasing heat out of the router. This pattern, in my opinion, helps it again sport an alien-like, futuristic look. And if you extend the antennas, it does look like a claw. Extending the claws actually help the connection too depending on where the client is. A slightly tilted antenna is what is optimal and is what is recommended.
- Chipset: BCM4709+BCM4366 (2.4GHz) + 2 x BCM4366 (5 GHz)
- Memory: 128 mb of flash and 256 mb of DDR 3 RAM
- Antenna: 8 x external dual-band detachable antennas
- Operating frequency: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (concurrent)
- Data Rate: 802.11b: up to 11Mbps | 802.11a/g: up to 54Mbps | 802.11n: up to 600Mbps | NitroQAM (2.4GHz): up to 1,000Mbps | 802.11ac (5GHz): up to 2,167Mbps.
- Interface type: 1 x Gigabit WAN port, 4 x Gigabit LAN ports, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB 2.0 port
- Features: ASUS WRT firmware, AiCloud, AiProtection, WTFast client, High-power mode, Download master application, Dual-WAN, Port Aggregation, VPN server, Guest network, DLNA server, Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE (MPPE support), PPTP, L2TP, IPv4, IPv6.
This router is classed as a 4 by 4 router that has eight externally connected antennas. The Broadcom BCM4366 chipset complete with a dual-core 1.4 GHz Broadcom BCM4709C0 processor with a 512 mb RAM is what powers this bad boy. There are three wireless bands that have a connection speed with up to 2167 mbps on the twin 5 GHz bands thanks to Broadcom’s 1024-QAM technology and up to 1000 mbps available at 2.4 GHz. You will also need capable wireless clients that can reach the upper limits of the Asus RT-AC5300’s performance. You’ll find a single USB 2.0 and also a USB 3.0 port available for peripheral use.
The AsusWRT is quite impressive with its well-designed interface. It has shortcuts on the main menu to the many useful settings inside the AsusWRT which makes navigating to these settings a lot quicker and also easy. This added to already unique features of the AsusWRT, makes it quite a competition. The text is very readable as well because of the grey and black combined with the white text.
While many routers want to simplify and hide its complexity for a lot of users, Asus does the opposite and shows a wide number of features and settings for the advanced users. While this could be a turn off and scare away some users because of its complexity, network admins will love the amount of options Asus gives the users to set up their router. The General settings alone already offer a number of features for everyday users to tinker. There’s also a network map that provides an overview of the overall router status, wireless configuration, client connections and more. However, in this section you can also take a lot at the RAM and CPU graphics if you want to do so.
A lot of routers have been using the AsusWRT which means it has been around for quite some time. A lot of its features can be found in other models like the Asus RT-AC88U.
The first time the user connects to their Asus RT-AC5300, they are taken through a very simple and quick process of creating passwords for the router as well as the wireless networks. Unlike a lot of routers that already have a pre-determined password when you buy them, the Asus RT-AC5300 requires you to set it up for the first time.
There is a set of widgets that displays system information on the main screen which are internet status, the number of clients, WAN IP address, security information, USB devices and the status of each wireless network. Towards the top is a notification section that reminds the user if the passwords need to be changed as well as a few other notifications.
There are clickable links on the list towards the top that takes the user to the relevant section of the AsusWRT. Let us say if you click on the operation mode, this brings up the screen to switch over to bridge or access point mode or if you click the firmware details, this will take the user to the firmware upgrade screen.
A lot of other settings are inside the general as well as the advanced options towards the left of the screen.
If you look at the advanced settings, the wireless menu provides the user all of the typical controls for each wireless network which the user can choose from the drop down box that is labeled “Band”. You can also create guest networks for each of the wireless bands as well as add restrictions for each of them. This allows the creation of multiple SSIDs on each of the router’s three bands with access scheduling and also MAC address filtering strengthening security.
If we look at the administration page, the tabs towards the top will lead to the firmware updates, system settings that include password resets and you can also assign static IP addresses.
Asus has provided some features that are for gaming. The LAN boost is Asus’ own QOS system for games. The WTFast has been advertised numerous times in various areas like YouTube or various YouTubers have been sponsored by WTFas so you might have heard of them. It is designed to improve the routing for the games you play to improve the player’s ping by creating a private tunnel network for the player’s games. This reduces packet loss for the online game with the router. Only certain games are currently supported but you most likely play them since they are quite popular. The Traffic analyser shows the approximate amount of data that is used by each client and also shows the breakdown of the applications that each client also uses. Not a lot of routers give you this information and in a quite organized detail. You can use it check if someone in your household is eating too much bandwidth with the constant P2P traffic.
The Asus RT-AC5300 both supports OpenVPN and PPTP servers as well as MS-CHAPv1 and MS-CHAPV2 support.
If you have external storage connected to any of the Asus-RTAC5300’s USB port, you can use the AIDisk which allows sharing of files to your own personal cloud system like many NAS hardware. There is also a torrent manager as well as a few more entertainment and media services like FTP or your own iTunes server while other files can also be shared with network devices using Samba share. These USB ports can also be used for your printers as well. A network printer server can also be equipped that supports LPR or Asus’ EZ printer sharing feature. A 3G/4G wireless mode also allows the user to use the router with other networks. The Data backup for Apple Macs using the Time Machine is a feature that is quite common and only usually found on NAS servers and not routers but you are able to use this with the Asus RT-AC5300. You can also install a download manager that can support the array of file sharing protocols. A router has its own use and will not really replace an actual dedicated NAS or home server but the Asus RT-AC5300 manages to include some of its features which makes it an amazing router.
It is very easy to use the QOS settings. Just select a client and then allocate it to a priority or you can also just choose a preset.
The Asus RT-AC5300 has a very comprehensive set of features for security with the AiProtection. If you look at the Network Controls screen, it lists numerous settings making infiltrating the router a lot more difficult. These settings include disable UPnP, blocking malicious websites and of course improving the passwords for the router. This feature wraps the router’s parental control applications with the integrated content filtering. This allows the user to easily block access to websites and also inspect incoming data for suspicious commands. There’s also automated blocking checks which will refuse access to sketchy sites and also services. The email notification settings will also alert you to suspicious activity. Certain websites as well as services can be easily blocked by category and also a time schedule. This makes it reasonably simple to configure the restrictions and access.
Extensive bandwidth monitoring and the quality of service controls allow the user to manage and also tweak network performance for certain devices, applications and also services. You can also check the web history of clients that are connected to the network which is obviously invasive however it would be handy when you use it alongside the parental controls suite.
There’s also Parental controls that gives restrictions on specific clients. This would essentially limit sites that these certain clients can visit and also limit their use of the internet in general so if you have kids who are too addicted or spends too much time on the internet, this is a good feature to have.
Of course, the Asus RT-AC5300 also has a firewall that allows for packet logging and DDoS protection. It can also block specific keywords, URLs and also certain network services.
You can also customize your router with the Smart Connect rule. It is basically a set of rules and parameters which will affect the client whenever it is swapped from one network to another. It groups devices on specific wireless bands to optimize network speeds.
The integrated RADIUS Server authentication support which is a bundle of advanced wireless configuration options, wireless bridge support, integrated dynamic DNS support, dual WAN configuration, VPN Server/Client configuration, IPv6 support, advanced firewall controls, network monitoring tools and a lot more. The Asus RT-AC5300 is also equipped with three operational modes that allows easy configuration as a router, wireless access point or a media bridge.
Asus RT-AC5300 Software Screenshots
Asus Router Mobile App
One fantastic feature of the Asus RT-AC5300 is that there is a mobile phone app available from Asus that allows you to manage your router remotely and its actually good. Other brands have their own mobile apps however generally these apps leave little to be desired which poor design and lacking information. Asus has designed their Router app from the ground up ensuring that the look and feels matches that of their high end products.
The app looks fantastic and is available on both iOS and Android. Once you load the app it will detect for any existing Asus router on your network and also give you the option of setting up a new one. Once connected you are provided with a wealth of information related to your network. The app is incredibly easy to use and is completely free.
Using the Product
Most routers when shipped tend to have a default password. However, with the Asus RT-AC5300, you will have to configure your password in the installation wizard.
Like many routers, automated as well as manual configuration options are also available. This allows the user to be able to use the router as quickly as possible or if you’re just lazy configuring out your router the first time.
The AsusWRT management system is pretty straightforward. It is split into basic and advanced areas like a lot of routers today.
The process of installation for the Asus RT-AC5300 is pretty fast and straightforward. All the user has to do is plug it in then connect it to their device to open the Asus network that has been discovered. Connecting to this will open the user’s web browser and will take them straight to the Quick Internet Setup wizard which will then take the user through the process of checking the connection and configuring their internet.
If the user wants complete control of the setup process, there is a manual mode which will give the user the opportunity to add or remove certain features. This is quite handy if the user wants to turn off some of the gaming and streaming specific features. Either way, the Quick Internet Setup wizard does a pretty good job of quickly configuring the router for the user’s own network by creating the three new wireless networks and then applying security to it.
Once this has been set up, the user can easily access the router’s settings interface by inputting router.asus.com which is quite easier to remember than having to remember and input an IP address.
The user interface is quite easy to understand and will give the user all the information need to know about their network. It is presented in a stylish manner without being looking or trying too hard. The user can’t install their own firmware so the user won’t really have full control over the router which could be an issue to some network admins.
Using Speedtest whilst connected to the 5GHz connection we achieved a download speed of 92.98mbs and and upload speed of 6.17mbs on a 100mb fiber connection.
The wifi range of the the Asus router was fantastic with no signal dropouts throughout the entire office.
The USB ports that allows for hard drives and also USB sticks to be shared across the network has only a speed of approximately 40 mbps for both read and write.
We were very impressed with the Asus RT-AC5300. The interface is quite amazing and packs a ton and I mean a ton of features compared to most routers. Network admins will love this router for the amount of customization it provides. The performance is also excellent as it delivers really good transfer speeds to single clients.
It really shines if you have a big household or office with a lot of WiFi devices where a lot of devise are playing games or streaming media. The third band would lower congestion and the gaming and media QoS features would mean you will be able to play games and also stream videos in 4K without any number of issues.
This could be an overkill however if you’re not going this route or not a lot of devices would take advantage of the Asus RT-AC5300’s power since it is in the more expensive side of routers at arond $530AUD.
The USB also yielded good results with speeds that make this router nice file storage and combined with the Asus AiCloud features, there is a lot of things you can do with the Asus RT-AC5300.
The Asus RT-AC5300 is a great gaming and general purpose router and it is quite a powerful one at that. It is safe to say that it is also one of the best on the market.
Where to Buy
If you are interested in adding the Asus RT-AC5300 to your networking setup, you can pick one up for around $530AUD. For more information head on over to the official Asus website.