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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 review: The first Wi-Fi 6E gaming router is a beast

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 review: The first Wi-Fi 6E gaming router is a beast

The ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is Asus’ latest flagship gaming router. It is loaded with features that make it easy to set up online gaming connections and ensure that they take precedence over all other network activity.

Although the GT-AXE11000 supports the new Wi-Fi 6E standard, we found that its wireless performance wasn’t as fast as we’d hoped. However, it also has a super-fast 2.5Gbps Ethernet port and a host of great features for gaming and general home network management that very few other routers can match.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router review: What you need to know

The GT-AXE11000 is the first router of any type from Asus to support the new Wi-Fi 6E standard. If you have a compatible computer or network card, you can connect to it on the new licensed 6 GHz radio band and avoid interference from other devices in and around your home.

At the same time, it will work perfectly with older devices. There’s full support for standard Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, with claimed transmission speeds of up to 4.8Gbps and 4×4 MU-MIMO. Wired connections are also well covered, with four gigabit Ethernet ports in addition to the 2.5 GbE socket.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 review: price and competition

At £480 the GT-AXE11000 is pricey, but if you’re looking for a specialist gaming router with Wi-Fi 6E, there’s currently no other choice. The only other 6E-capable router we’ve seen so far is the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, which costs even more (just a bit at £550) and doesn’t have any gaming-oriented features. It currently wears the performance crown though. , so if your focus is on raw speed, the Netgear is well worth a look.

Another potential alternative is the Asus Rapture ROG GT-AX6000. It has the same gamer-focused design as the GT-AXE11000 and even improves connectivity with 2.5GbE support on both WAN and LAN connectors. The GT-AX6000 doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6E but it impressed us with the speeds it delivered on a regular Wi-Fi 6 link and, at £300, it’s significantly cheaper.

Then there’s the Asus TUF Gaming AX5400, a lighter Wi-Fi 6 router that has limited gaming features but brings the price down to just £120. Non-gaming options include the versatile Asus RT-AX82U, which will set you back £180, or the extremely affordable D-Link DIR-X1860, now available for £90.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router review: Hardware design

The GT-AXE11000 is a chunky slab of plastic measuring 250mm square, not including the eight scalloped antennae around its edges. A row of small white LEDs along the front indicate internet, wired and wireless connectivity status, while a set of clickable buttons in the opposite corner let you toggle Wi-Fi on and off. , enable WPS connections, and enable Game Boost mode, which I’ll get below.

On the back, you’ll find four gigabit Ethernet jacks and a 2.5 GbE connector. As always, it’s a bit limited to only have one multi-gigabit port, so if you want two computers to talk to each other at full speed, you’ll need an external 2.5GbE switch. However, it is possible to combine two of the regular LAN ports into a single 2Gbps connection, and the 2.5GbE port can also be used for a multi-gig Internet connection, if you are lucky enough to have one. .

Tucked away on the left side, a pair of USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) sockets let you connect external storage for NAS-style file sharing, or take advantage of the GT-AXE11000’s built-in media server and the capabilities of Time Machine. You can also share a USB printer or connect an Android phone to use its mobile Internet connection instead of regular wired service, which can be very handy in an emergency.

At the top, the glowing ROG logo lights up red by default, but if that looks dull, you can choose from a variety of multicolored light shows or set it to change color to reflect the state of the router. .

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router review: Software features

The ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 runs Asus’ dedicated gaming router firmware, which puts gaming front and center. You don’t even have to dive into settings to enjoy it: by default, any device connected to the 2.5 GbE socket is automatically prioritized over other clients, ensuring your PC or game console won’t get bogged down by other family members. watch Netflix or talk on Zoom.

Open the web console and you’ll find plenty of other gamer-friendly options. You can name any number of clients as gaming devices and enable the Game Boost option to automatically prioritize packets from popular gaming titles and platforms above all other traffic. You can use the boost button on the front of the router to activate this feature, although in the default configuration it does nothing more than turn the main LED on and off.

Another handy feature is the ability to apply pre-configured port forwarding rules for a large library of games, allowing you to set up online play in just a few clicks, while the Game Radar tool checks game speed and latency. global server for selected game titles, so you can see at a glance which location will give you the best performance.

As usual with Asus, there’s also an impressive range of regular router controls for those who want them. These include full control over your wireless settings and channels, with up to three isolated guest networks on each band, as well as customizable QoS per device and per application.

You can also set up a secondary internet connection, just in case your primary connection goes down, and I love the VPN Fusion feature which lets you set up up to 16 different VPN connections and send traffic from different clients to different servers.

Additionally, Asus’ AiProtection module, offered in partnership with security specialist Trend Micro, scans your network for vulnerabilities, blocks malicious websites and quarantines infected clients. If you have children, you can set schedules for their Internet access and optionally restrict them from accessing adult websites, peer-to-peer sharing servers, and instant messaging services. It’s not the most comprehensive set of restrictions in the world but, given that Netgear charges annual subscriptions for its security and parental controls services, it would be rude to complain.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router review: Performance

The fastest 6E Wi-Fi router we’ve seen previously is the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, and on paper the GT-AXE11000 should be more than a match for it. It claims the same maximum speed of 4.8 Gbps, but also supports the maximum channel width of 160 MHz on the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, while the Netgear only goes up to 80 MHz for the regular Wi-Fi 5 and 6 connections.

I tested actual performance in my usual way: by setting up the ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 in my study and connecting an Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro device to 2.5 GbE. I then carried a Wi-Fi 6E enabled laptop to various locations around my house and copied a set of 100MB data files to and from the NAS, using standard Wi-Fi 6 on the tape 5 GHz and Wi-Fi 6E on 6 GHz. The average upload and download speeds I’ve seen are listed below, along with the speeds achieved in the same tests by the other routers mentioned above.

The GT-AXE11000 undoubtedly earns its place among the high-end wireless routers. Download speeds approached an excellent 40MB/s at close range, and upload speeds were more than three times faster.

Still, it’s not as impressive as expected. No matter where I wandered, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 had a head start on both frequency bands. The gap was particularly pronounced in mid-range bedrooms and kitchens, where the Netgear performed about twice as fast as Asus’ flagship.

Perhaps expect the GT-AXE11000 to lose out to a router costing £80 more. Embarrassingly, the GT-AXE11000 also struggled to keep up with its own cheaper stablemate, the GT-AX6000. Although this router does not support Wi-Fi 6E, the download speeds provided over a standard 5GHz link were highly competitive with the GT-AXE11000’s 6GHz speeds, actually beating it in three out of six locations. of testing.

I have an idea why that might be. While the ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is new to the UK, the first units started appearing in the US as early as March 2021. In other words, this is a very early Wi-Fi implementation. -Fi 6E. The GT-AX6000, on the other hand, is really an all-new model, and it uses Asus’ latest Wi-Fi 6 radio design, allowing it to keep up surprisingly well with a first-gen 6GHz connection.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router review: Verdict

If you’re looking for a router with the widest array of gaming optimizations, look no further. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also delightfully easy to use, has a fantastic set of regular router features and, depending on what you think of the gamer aesthetic, even looks a bit badass.

However, when a new high-end gaming router ushers in the latest and greatest Wi-Fi standard, you’ve come to expect breakthrough speeds. It would be an exaggeration to say that this router offers them.

Let’s not be too harsh. In the midst of an online battle, I seriously doubt you’d notice a difference between this and the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 – unless, perhaps, you’re relying on a wireless connection from multiple rooms. And more serious gamers are likely to use a wired connection, so they’ll be more than happy with the 2.5GbE supply.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 offers an extremely similar package for £180 less. Plus, because this model achieves its excellent performance over a standard 5 GHz link, your current Wi-Fi 6 devices can benefit from it now, without the need to replace them with 6E-capable models.

No doubt when the ROG Rapture AXE11000 first appeared last year, it represented an impressive debut for Wi-Fi 6E. Today, with new rivals beating it on price and performance, it’s sadly hard to see why this router would be anyone’s first choice.