When Asus designs a product with gamers in mind, it usually slaps a Republic of Gamers logo and branding on it. Now, though, the company is looking to bring a bit of gaming flair to its standard product lineup with the Asus RT-AC86U router.
As far as standard specs go, the AC86U is an 802.11ac MU-MIMO router with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor in the platic casing, coupled with 512 MB of RAM and 256 MB of flash storage. The AC86U offers up to 2167 Mbps on the 5 GHz band with a 4x4 antenna arrangement, and up to 750 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band in a 3x3 setup.
Aside from the Decepticon-like face of the router, the AC86U looks to be an upgraded version of the AC1900P, a router we quite liked. The form factor is the same, and so is the port loadout on the back of the box. You'll get 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, one each of USB 2.0 and 3.0 connectors, an LED on/off button, and buttons to toggle Wi-Fi and WPS functionality.
Like Asus' AC1900P, the router comes with drag-and-drop adaptive QoS, a feature that lets users prioritize services like file transferring, gaming, and media streaming just by ordering icons in a list in the router interface. The red accents on the front of the AC86U might scream "gamer" all on their own, but there's game-specific QoS on tap to court a low-ping, high-frag crowd. Asus has partnered with WTFast and added support for the Gamers Private Network, a service that promises to drop game ping times by 30% to 60% by optimizing routes between players and servers.
The AC86U has a built-in WTFast client and comes with a subscription that supports one device at a time with a limited traffic cap. Currently-supported games include popular titles like Dota 2, League of Legends, Diablo III, World of Tanks, World of Warships, World of Warcraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Asus and WTFast say that list will grow in time. Gamers that want to connect more devices to WTFast's service or raise the transfer cap can subscribe to the service directly.
The Asus RT-AC86U router isn't available just yet, but Amazon has it listed for $200.