Asus RT-BE88U review


Is there anything Asus doesn’t produce? The Taiwanese company has eliminated everything from 80486 motherboards to PhysX cards and some excellent gaming laptops, and you can expect its Wi-Fi routers to be of the highest quality as well. For the most part, this recent Wi-Fi 7 model is exactly that, but with a specific omission.

From the Wi-Fi 6E version, routers can transmit on three frequencies. There are the popular 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and the 6 GHz band, which offers faster speeds with a shorter range. It’s perfect for a gaming PC in the same room as a router and frees up other devices for the phones, tablets and IoT devices that increasingly clutter our homes. This router doesn’t support this band, but does that mean you’re missing out?

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Not really. The 6 GHz band is swift, but also has a shorter range and does not penetrate solid objects. However, Wi-Fi 7 routers have some clever tricks that can lend a hand you get excellent speeds – certainly faster than your average internet connection – on the other bands.

There are 320MHz channels available, which doubles the potential bandwidth of Wi-Fi 6 and leaves Wi-Fi 5 in the dust. You get 4K-QAM technology, which changes the phase and amplitude of the Wi-Fi signal to squeeze more data into the same space, and MLO (Multi-Link Operation) technology, which allows the client to connect simultaneously via 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies GHz. Even without the 6 GHz frequency (which is not approved for operate in all countries), Wi-Fi 7 is faster, more reliable, and has lower latency as long as you have the hardware to operate it.

RT-BE88U specifications

(Image source: Future)

Wireless standard: WiFi 7
Maximum Wireless Speed ​​(claimed): 1376 Mbps (2.4 GHz), 5764 Mbps (5 GHz)
Ethernet ports: 8
PALE: 10Gbits
Editor: Quad core 2.6 GHz
Storage: 256 MB
USB: 1x 3.0 Type A
Dimensions: 300 x 188 x 60.5 mm
Libra: 1 kg
Price: $350 | 340 pounds

Yes, you’ll need a recent computer, phone, tablet, shrewd fridge, whatever to take full advantage of Wi-Fi 7 (though it’s backwards compatible, of course), whether you connect to the 6 GHz band or not, but making your current internet connection in a recent way may not be enough to catapult you to upgrade heaven. It’s better to get a powerful multi-gigabit fiber connection first and then worry about Wi-Fi.

So on to the Asus RT-BE88U and it’s a fairly standard-looking Wi-Fi router that Wednesday Addams might keep as a pet. It is black, has a wide wedge shape, has twinkling lights, has an air vent on top, and has angular legs/antennas sprouting from three of its sides. The antennas have a acute design with a hole cut into them, making them look like a sword that Hawkeye might operate after getting tattoos, and they should be tightened tightly when assembling the router to prevent them from falling forward like you forgot to water them for a month. Tall and proud, their black and brown color scheme is attractive, but it’s still something you’ll put on a shelf and then forget about.

On the back there is an unusual addition for a consumer router in the form of an SFP+ port. It stands for Small Form-factor Pluggable and is a hot-swappable network interface used for specific connections, such as copper wire or optical fiber, via a modular connector. Right next to it is a 10Gb Ethernet WAN port, which will be the plug of choice for most people and will almost certainly last for many years of internet updates. There are also plenty of other network ports on the back, making this router a great choice as a hub when building or upgrading a wired network. You get four 2.5 Gbit Ethernet connections and four more gigabit connections.

LAN4 is the gaming port you’ll want to connect your PC to to enjoy higher priority gaming traffic if you’re on a congested network. The proximity of the two rear Wi-Fi antennas to the Ethernet array means that it can be a bit challenging to get your finger underneath and out of the cable pile, although with eight available ports you probably won’t be able to do that very often. A single USB 3 port is located on the side, next to the power connector and its accompanying on/off switch. The vertical nature of the USB port is a good decision because it removes any restrictions that might be placed on the size of the flash drive that could be connected to it for sharing if it were placed horizontally.

But Wi-Fi speed is what you’re looking for in a Wi-Fi 7 router, and the Asus RT-BE88U offers enough even without the 6 GHz band. We prepared it for testing by separating the bands (squishing them into one that automatically negotiates the best possible connection is also possible) and testing throughput at close range, and again when there was a low distance and a few awkward bits of house between us at two points. Here are the results:

It’s not bad, and it’s certainly swift enough for streaming and gaming, although it’s not as good as top Wi-Fi 7 routers like the Eero Max 7 or Netgear RS700S, which can hit speeds of 700Mbps up close. p.

Setting up the router involves installing the Asus Router app on your phone and then scanning the QR code on the base of your device to connect to its Wi-Fi network. From there, you can auto-detect your internet settings if you’re directly connected, or select DHCP mode from advanced settings to configure it as an access point.

For advanced settings, you can log into the router’s web interface, which looks the same as any Asus router from years ago. From here you can separate the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks as needed, improve security, and add parental controls and other filters.

Buy if…

You must share: If you want to split a very swift internet connection between multiple wired devices and don’t care too much about the best Wi-Fi speed, the BE88U is for you.

Don’t buy if…

You have to have the best: If the thought of having anything less than the best disgusts you and you think having a home Ethernet network is a last-century idea, maybe spend double that on a decent Wi-Fi 7 device.

The router is compatible with Asus’ AI Mesh system, which allows routers to be daisy-chained to cover a larger area, so the ability to configure it this way is welcome. There’s also a dedicated SSID for IoT devices, which means the bulbs won’t clutter up the network you’re trying to play on with constant chatter, or your guest network when cousins ​​you don’t trust come to visit with their password.

It’s essential to note that the Asus RT-BE88U is almost half the price of other Wi-Fi 7 routers, so you might overlook the slightly slower transfer speeds and lack of a 6GHz network in favor of saving a few notes. The RT-BE88U also has the advantage of straightforward setup, and the presence of Wi-Fi 7 means you have future-proofing. Thanks to all these Ethernet ports, this router can become the heart of your home network for a very long time.

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