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Asus RT-AX82U review

Strong performance, versatile controls and competitive price

Asus RT-AX82U
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The RT-AX82U ticks a lot of boxes. Its strong Wi-Fi 6 performance is ideal for gaming, video and music streaming, but doesn’t cost a fortune. The Asus app is quick and easy for newcomers to use, and provides good parental controls and security features. And, for gamers and more advanced users, there’s a powerful web browser interface available too.

For

  • High-speed Wi-Fi 6 router
  • Competitive price
  • Easy-to-use app, with optional browser interface
  • Good parental controls and security features

Against

  • The antennae need room to breathe
  • Default Wi-Fi network is not password-protected

Two-minute review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Asus RT-AX82U sent to TechRadar for review: 
Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Processor: 1.5GHz, tri-core CPU
Memory: 512MB
Storage: 256MB Flash
Beamforming: Implicit and Explicit for 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Ports: WAN = 1x Gigabit Ethernet; LAN = 4x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x USB 3.0
Dimensions (HxWxD): 165 x 275 x 185mm, 0.75kg

Asus has a very extensive range of networking products, which includes its specialist Republic of Gamers (RoG) brand that offers seriously high-end gaming products, such as its Rapture router, which pushes the envelope at close to $530/£400/AU$700. 

The Asus RT-AX82U isn’t in quite the same league, but this dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router is still far faster than conventional 802.11ac routers and is designed to appeal to a more casual gaming audience, as well as providing additional features for busy households that need fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

You can’t buy the RT-AX82U direct from Asus, and the online pricing seems to be somewhat inconsistent, but Asus says the RRP is £180 ($230/AU$310), so it’s worth taking the time to shop around before buying. 

Asus has clearly got its eye on the latest gaming consoles and mobile devices that support Wi-Fi 6, but that’s still a competitive price for a next-gen router such as this, making the RT-AX82U an affordable upgrade even for non-gamers. 

And, of course, new Wi-Fi 6 routers are also compatible with older devices that still use the 802.11ac version of Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility problems if you decide to upgrade your router.

Asus RT-AX82U

(Image credit: Future)

Design and features

It may not fall under the Republic of Gamers banner, but the Asus RT-AX82U has certainly got the right look for a gaming router, with a low-profile, sharply angular design and four large antennae stabbing out from the back panel. And, on the front panel, there’s a pair of ‘eyes’ - two small LED panels that glow with smouldering colours. You can even use the Asus app to choose a variety of ‘auras’ that strobe through different colour sequences. 

Gaming gimmickry aside, the RT-AX82U gets all the basics right, offering dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) with a top speed of 5400Mbps (5.4Gbps). 

There are faster Wi-Fi 6 routers - including the RoG Rapture which boasts a massive 11Gbps - but that’s a good speed for a router in this price range. The RT-AX82U doesn’t include a modem, so it provides a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to your existing modem or router in order to use your broadband connection. 

There are also four additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices, such as a games console or a smart-TV, that work better with a lag-free wired connection, with one of those being designated as the ‘gaming port and taking priority over devices connected to the other Ethernet ports. And, finally, there’s a single USB 3.1 port for sharing a USB storage device on your home network.

Asus RT-AX82U

(Image credit: Future)

Set-up and performance

BENCHMARKS

Here’s how the Asus RT-AX82U performed in our suite of benchmark tests: 
Ookla Speed Test - 2.4GHz
Within 5ft, no obstructions: 103Mbps/11Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 98Mbps/11Mbps
20GB Steam Download - 2.4GHz
Within 5ft, no obstructions:  12.5MB/s
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 11.7MB/s
Ookla Speed Test - 5.0GHz
Within 5ft, no obstructions: 103Mbps/11Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 103Mbps/11Mbps
20GB Steam  Download - 5.0GHz
Within 5ft, no obstructions:  12.5MB/s
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 12.5MB/s

The Asus RT-AX82U strikes a good balance between ease-of-use for beginners, and advanced features for gamers and more experienced users. 

The printed manual included in the box gives you two options for setting the router up, with the quick and easy option being the Asus Router app for iOS and Android devices, while a more advanced web browser interface is also available for people who don’t mind delving more deeply into their wi-fi and network settings.

We started with the Asus Router app and were pleased to see that it starts by giving you the option of setting up separate networks on the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, or merging the two bands together into a single network. 

The only minor oddity here is that the router’s default Wi-Fi network isn’t initially protected by a password, so you need to move through the set-up process and assign a password fairly quickly in order to keep your new network secure.

Asus RT-AX82U

(Image credit: Future)

Most people will find that the basic app provides all the features they need, including the ability to set up a guest network, and extensive parental controls that include content filters for a wide range of unsuitable material. 

There’s also a security feature called AiProtection that monitors your network for malware and hacking attempts from malicious web sites - and, thankfully, this doesn’t require an additional subscription as some routers do.

Asus RT-AX82U

(Image credit: Future)

The Asus Router app provides a Mobile Gaming mode that prioritises mobile devices for maximum performance, but you can also select specific tasks, such as video streaming, that you might want to prioritise as well. And, if you’re prepared to delve into the web browser interface, you can select other devices for gaming priority, and even use that USB port to set up a hard drive for Time Machine back-ups on a Mac.

Performance is also very strong for a mid-price router such as this. Devices in the same room as the Asus RT-AX82U managed to coax our normal 100Mbps broadband connection up to 103Mbps using the Ookla speed test on both the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, with Steam downloads also impressively steady at 12.5MB/s on both bands. 

Moving further away to a back office didn’t faze the RT-AX82U either, with the 5.0GHz band having no trouble maintaining those speeds, while the slower 2.4GHz band dipped only slightly to 98Mbs on Ookla and 11.7MB/s for Steam downloads. 

It’s hard to fault that sort of performance at this price, and with the Asus app and browser interface providing versatile features and controls that are suitable for both gamers and non-gamers, the Asus RT-AX82U is an excellent option for any household that needs a fast and affordable Wi-Fi upgrade.

Asus RT-AX82U

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You're a casual gamer
The competitive price of the Asus RT-AX82U is very much intended to attract casual gamers who enjoy playing on consoles and mobile devices, especially with features such as the ‘Mobile Gaming’ mode that is specifically designed for iOS and Android devices.

You've got kids
There are lots of high-speed routers that fall down when it comes to parental controls. However, the RT-AX82U provides good controls for protecting your kids, including content filters for unsuitable material, and a scheduling option to limit the time your sprogs spend online.

You're getting a new phone for Christmas
Existing devices that use 802.11ac Wi-Fi (aka Wi-Fi 5) will still work with new Wi-Fi 6 routers. However, you’ll need a new smartphone, tablet or other device that supports Wi-Fi 6 in order to get the full speed and other benefits of this next-gen Wi-Fi.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
The RT-AX82U is good value for money, but if your broadband connection is less than 100Mbps then you probably don’t need the full speed of a Wi-Fi 6 router. There are plenty of less expensive 802.11ac routers that will handle your home broadband.

You're not a gamer
Many of the features of the RT-AX82U are specifically designed for gaming. If you just want faster Wi-Fi for watching Netflix or Baby Yoda then a more conventional router - without glowing eyes and lots of pointy antennae - will do the trick.

Your gaming den needs a boost
If you’ve just got one room - such as a bedroom or gaming den - that has weak Wi-Fi then you might not need to buy an entirely new router. An affordable ‘range extender’ can boost your existing Wi-Fi network into an upstairs bedroom or downstairs den for less than $100.