ASUS RT-AC87U and RT-AC87R

August 2014 The Best 802.11AC Router – RT-AC87U & RT-AC87R

If you are looking for the proverbial “best” high performance wireless router on the market look no further than the ASUS RT-AC87U or AC87R. With that noted wireless is a complex technology and requires many points of consideration including environment, connected devices and usage. In addition there is no “one fits all” solution. With that noted when considering real world performance and features and functionality more often that not the 87U will be at the top of the list when it comes to what you can experience with a high performance router. The new RT-AC87U has risen to the titles of best range, fastest throughput and best storage performance of any current 802.11AC consumer router. It features many first to including the first 4×4 ( 4 stream ) and MU-MIMO ready 802.11AC router. The AC87U and the AC87R routers are identical when it comes to their hardware and design, the difference in their naming comes in where they can be purchased ( the 87R being a BestBuy specific sku ) and the 87U being available at all other retailers an etailers. This new ultra high performance router is truly impressive in respect to its features and functionality as well as was its performance. In addition to a number of advanced hardware designs and advanced specification support the 87U includes a wide range of new features within its award winning ASUS WRT firmware some of these include dual WAN support, more extensive VPN functionality, new parental controls, new advanced security mechanisms powered by TrendMicro. Possibly the most exciting is an entirely new robust intelligent adaptive upstream and downstream QoS. While these features alone could justify a new router these additions are just some of what this new router is packing in regards to its newly improved firmware. As we move through this overview we will cover many of these new features in more detail as well as improvements to other aspects of the firmware including new UI updates and further improvements to the streaming, syncing and sharing functionality offered by the exclusive AiCloud. With the intro out of the way lets jump into more about what makes this router so special and perform and function the way it does.

 

A closer look at the 87U as well as features and specifications :

The 87U features a number of key specifications including the distinction of being the first “wave 2.0″ 802.11AC wireless router. I have detailed some of the most important features and specifications to provide a sense of what the unit brings to the table relative to other wireless routers currently on the market.

  • Ultra-fast Wi-Fi router with a combined dual-band data rate of 2334 Mbps and world’s fastest 5G at 1743 Mbps  ideal for multiple high bit rate video streams as well as local playback of HD or UHD video files,  large file transfers or system backups as well as low-latency online gaming.
  • World’s first 4-antenna, 4-stream design with AiRadar & universal beamforming offering the potential for expansive wireless signal coverage up to or greater than 5,000 square feet (over 465 square meters). Additionally featuring implicit and explicit beamforming ( universal beamforming ) for superior client reception and throughput and environmental response.
  • 2X dual-core CPU with dedicated 5G Wi-Fi processor and unique hardware structure for robust multitasking performance, superior stability and the best WiFi performance for 5GHz 802.11AC as well as simultaneous utilization of 802.11AC with USB 3.0.
  • 256MB DDR and 128MB DDR onboard memory enables roubust performance dedicated memory for each chipset.
  • Built-in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports with high power output design enabling robust connected device flexibility including USB attached storage streaming, syncing or sharing of files via AiCloud, FTP connections and locally connected PCs. Additional support for printers and multi function devices as well as support for ISP connectivity with support for 3G/4G devices. High power output ensures superior compatibility and performance with the widest range of bus powered storage devices.
  • ASUSWRT firmware with advanced graphical user interface for easy, CD-free / sofware-free 30-second setup whether it be on a desktop, notebook, smartphone or tablet. Additionally featuring robust network monitoring, management and control. A class leading firmware offering the most feature complete functionality of any high end performance router including parental controls, VPN, FTP, QoS, wireless parameter adjustment, iTunes media server support, media server interoperability with CE devices, dual WAN, WAN to LAN reassignment for 5 LAN ports, Guest Wi-Fi ( guest SSID ) and much more.
  • Advanced router security and protection with AiProtection with Trend Micro helps to assess and secure your router and minimize exploits, intrusions and other malicious attacks. Additionally it can assist in malware protection and prevention.
  • Newly design advanced Adaptive QoS identifies and categorizes home network traffic to intelligently allocate the optimum bandwidth for each application or  connected device. Based on advanced deep packet inspection  adaptive QoS offers robust optimization with easy management. Additionally it can co operate with NAT acceleration and enables per client prioritization and monitoring.
  • Updated ASUS AiCloud 2.0 to locally connected PCs and attached storage devices to access, sync, share and stream your files from home anywhere you have an internet-connected device. You can even remotely wake up locally connected PCs.
  • Two Stagae Hardware acceleration design “Hardware NAT” offers superior performance and routing throughput.

 

For Those of you interested in checking out an in depth video overview check out the video below.

 

 

Visual overview and connectivity :

RT-AC87U & RT-AC87R Visual overview and connectivity 1

RT-AC87U & RT-AC87R Visual overview and connectivity 2

Visually the 87U is a departure from the previous 68U and a return to the flatter and more angled profile of the AC66U. It incorporates new angles and lines though that offer it a clean but aggressive feel along with a element of premium design highlighted by the lattice finish used on the left and right sides of the unit.

RT-AC87U 1   RT-AC87U 2   RT-AC87U 3   RT-AC87U 4

The 87U has all the key connections one would expect from an enthusiast wireless router. Locally connectivity includes four ( 4 ) Gigabit LAN ports with support for a 5th LAN port via WAN to LAN reassignment available within the firmware. This is a great option for users who will utilize the 87U as an access point as opposed to it default operating mode as a wireless router. In addition the LAN ports supporting teaming functionality enabling the ability to offer higher throughput. Additionally the 87U is primed for multi ISP connectivity or for users who are looking for fail over support, Users can enable dual WAN functionality by reassigning any of the LAN ports to serve as a secondary WAN port. Going along with the robust LAN connectivity you have two USB ports. One port is located in the back and is USB 2.0 based. This connection is great for connection to a multi function printer or printer as well as USB attached storage. The firmware additionally supports connection of 3G & 4G enabled devices. Moving to the front the unit it offers a protected USB 3.0 port. This ports offers truly impressive performance especially under concurrent usage ( when Wi-Fi and USB ) are being utilized at the same time. Due to a dual dual core design and specialized topology the Quantenna 802.11AC 5GHz chipset can work essentially unaffected by the Broadcom 2.4GHz & USB chipset. This enabling outstanding storage performance who are looking for entry level NAS functionality as well as entry level NAS performance out of a router. Rounding out the back you have the remaining connections you would expect including a WPS button, power button, and a recessed reset button. For users who are interested in the DIY approach of potentially improving range and throughput through antenna replacement they will be happy to see the continued use of fully flexible and replaceable antennas.

Moving to the front of the unit there are number of easy to use elements including a quick on and off LED button as well as a Wi-Fi on and off button. In regards to the LEDs they are a soft blue and are present for all keys connections including internet ( WAN ), LAN ( all for ports ), USB, 5GHz and 2.4GHz and power.

What does 4×4 ( 4 stream ) and universal beamforming mean? How does it help me?

When looking at the the 87U one of the  most distinctive elements you immediately see if the utilization of 4 antennas. This is due to the wireless chipset offering true 4 antenna utilization ( 4 stream design ). This is different than other high end routers on the market which may similarly offer 4 antennas but cannot utilize them all at one time. The 87U can fully utilize these antenna by pairing with another 87U in bridge mode or connect to the upcoming EA-87 client adapter, access point, media bridge or repeater. The more important question though is can additional improvement be had in range and throughput with non 4×4 clients such as more entry level products that have 1 stream or 2 stream designs like basic 802.11AC USB adapters or the Wi-Fi in many smartphones, tablets and notebooks? They answer is yes it can. How is that? Two words, reception sensitivity. With the 4×4 design there is an improvement to reception sensitivity and this helps effective range and throughput for all 802.11AC clients including the most common 1×1 or 2×2 or mixed configurations adapters, clients or devices. I had overall improved throughput and performance with adapters like our USB-AC51, USB-AC53 and USB-AC56 as well as others compared to high performance 3×3 ( 3 stream ) wireless routers like the AC66U and AC68U. The great thing about this is users who are utitlizing the highest end performing 3×3 devices like our PCE-AC68 can still realize improvements as well being ready for the with with support for 4×4 client adapters when they become available.

In addition one of the biggest features of the 87U is support for MU-MIMO an advanced technology that can improve signal reception and range and effective throughput. This functionality is hardware ready but not yet enable within the firmware but will be enabled via a update at a later date. The great news is companies have already communicated design and development support for MU-MIMO devices coming as early as late Q4 of this year continuing into early 2015. For those of you who are early adopters of smartphones, tablets and notebooks this means your performance is only going to get better!

For reference I am including a chart for those of you to see what the differences are in peak speeds offered by different stream ( antenna configurations ). Keep in mind these are theoretical numbers and in the real world you have to factor aspects that affect these numbers including environment, overhead, number of connected devices, mixed Wi-Fi connectivity and many other factors that reduce these numbers. With that noted We have achieved real world throughput at ranges from 10FT to 25FT between 600 to 900mbps+. These are some truly impressive numbers considering not to long ago the best wireless was offering throughput speeds between 100 to possibly 200Mbps. What this ultimately means is the throughput ( speed ) is there for heavy real world usage whether it be streaming, syncing, sharing, downloading, uploading gaming or even backing up.

802.11AC Wireless Throughput

Boasting a true 4×4 antenna design, RT-AC87U gives you up to 5,000sq ft of wireless coverage¹ that’s 33% further than the latest generation tri-band routers¹, making it your ideal choice for large homes and multi-floor buildings. Thanks to AiRadar beamforming and unique multi user-MIMO technology, the more devices you use the more the throughput increases². While MU-MIMO is not yet enabled and the devices are not yet here the support for inherent implicit and explicit beamforming helps to ensure 802.11AC client adapters like the PCE-AC68 and the USB-AC56 which both support beam forming get the best performance and range possible.

RT-AC87U is the 1st router to support multi-user MIMO technology for up to 2 times greater performance than single-user MIMO when streaming or transferring data in multi-device environments. While single-user MIMO routers communicate with one client at a time, multi-user MIMO router communicates with 2 MU-MIMO enabled clients simultaneously to better utilize the router’s capacity and reduce the client’s waiting time.

SU-MIMO compared to MU-MIMO

* taken from Quantenna design implementation information. Beamforming is an important companion to 4×4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology for Wi-Fi wireless networking. When it is included, it enables dramatic improvement in Wi-Fi 802.11ac/n performance, reliability, range and coverage. Beamforming is a signal processing technique used to control the directionality of the transmission and reception of radio signals. The most effective type of beamforming is dynamic digital beamforming. This type of beamforming uses an advanced, on-chip digital signal processing (DSP) algorithm to gain complete control over Wi-Fi signals. By creating several independent signal paths to optimally focus radio energy to and from client devices on a per-packet basis, performance is dramatically improved. In the case of a two-stream configuration, this makes it possible to steer the energy of the antenna array in the independent spatial directions associated with both data streams, while simultaneously avoiding interference.

Overall you can see the 87U incorporates a slew of advanced Wi-Fi technology to ensure you have outstanding range, throughput and ultimately a great “connected” experience. The 87U does not stop there and feature some of the most specialized enthusiast class designs to help to ensure its performance and functionality across a wide range of aspects is class leading even when compared to other high performance 802.11AC routers. In addition for power users out there who like to tweak and tune there routers the ASUS WRT firmware offers a professional section off many tuning parameters for enthusiasts.

More than meets the eye, advanced hardware designs enable the best performance & experience :

 

2X Dual core design with offload implementation

Looking at the 87U it may look like there is not alot going on internally especially when compared to the visual complexity of motherboard. That would not be true though, below the clean stylized exterior lies some seriously impressive hardware as well as some impressive design implementations. So why are we going into this? Mainly because spec does not always define experience and usability. ASUS worked extensively on the hardware topology of the 87U to ensure outstanding performance in a number of ways. So lets take a closer look at the layout of the 87U to see how advanced design thinking enables the great real world performance.

87U Layout Block Diagram

As you can see in the block diagram there are two separate chipsets with their own associated memory one for the 5GHz 802.11AC ( Quanntenna ) and another for the 2.4GHz and USB ( Broadcom ). What this means essentially is that the RT-AC87U uses a dedicated dual-core CPU to handle complicated 802.11ac 4×4 algorithm and tasks. Due to the specialized linking mechanism and its hardware structure this design reduces the CPU utilization rate to a very low level and ensures almost 1 GHz dual-core computing power for other applications. The result is improve wireless throughput and robust multitasking performance especially when Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 are being simultaneously used. This affects users by creating superior storage performance as well as having additional processing power for other newly enabled advanced functions for monitoring and packet analysis and optimization.

For those that did not know what they were looking at in the block diagram a simplified version is shown below.

Simplified Dual Dual Core Design Implementation RT-87U

 

 

Gigabit LAN with hardware NAT

The RT-AC87U comes with 5 gigabit Ethernet ports for up to 1000 Mbps of throughput for each port. More importantly many enthusiasts will be excited about the inclusion of a hardware NAT that intelligently analyzes and optimizes traffic based on its type so whether you’re playing an online game, browsing the web or having a video call, you’re getting the best performance for your task at hand.

RT-87U Hardware NAT

 

 

Going a bit deeper in the NAT implementation on the 87U, it features two levels of acceleration. These can be managed within the ASUS WRT firmware. They are under the option of NAT Acceleration and reffered two as level 1 CTF or level 2 CTF. So what does these options mean or do?

CTF(Cut Through Forwarding) is software optimization technique to accelerate NAT.

FA(Flow Accelerator) is a hardware NAT acceleration mechanism design for accelerating wired  DHCP and Static IP connections.

Level 1 CTF = CTF

Level 2 CTF = FA + CTF

Another improvement and exciting aspect of the 87U design and firmware is that it allows the utilization of a new advanced QoS implementation to be used in conjunction with CTF. Historically this has not been the case requiring users to compromise on QoS or NAT acceleration. Now users can benefit from both.

Conditional implementation details for NAT acceleration are noted below.

Enabling of Adaptive QoS will disable FA.

Enabling of traditional QoS will disable both FA+CTF.

This advanced hardware design along with ASUS RF tuning and optimized topology and specialization design implementation help to ensure outstanding simultaneous connection performance. Of course this need to be validated. Below is some detailing on the testing process.

Simultaneous connection test

Advanced USB power design offers superior compatibility and functionality :

Many users may think that all specification implementations ensure a consistent experience but this is definitely not the case. Specification implementation like USB can be affected by topology and layout both negatively as well as positively. ASUS took considerable time in the specification implementation of USB to ensure optimal performance as well as usability in addition took care in routing to minimize RF interference. Moving beyond that how can a spec vary between devices featuring the same specification?  Some USB devices require more power than standard design implementations allow for. These devices may require a Y-cable to connect to two USB ports at the same time. For the best USB HDD compatibility, the RT-AC87U USB ports were designed to provide more power than the USB standard. This helps to ensure that both USB ports can be used as you would expect compared to some competitors solutions where both ports need to be utilized to power a single USB storage device or may not even correctly initialize the devices regardless as not all devices support Y-cables. Below you can see ASUS incorporates considerbly higher power output ratings to help ensure the best device initialization and overall compatibility.

87U USB Power Design

Superior range, throughput and storage performance with a power efficient design :

The 87U from its design onset was purpose built for performance normally the highest performing devices tend to consume the most power. This is not the case with the 87U. Through extensive design effort class leading performance was able to be achieved while also maintaining class leading power efficiency.

If you currently evaluate other high end 802.11AC routers you will see their power consumption and power adapters are larger and higher than the 87U.

87U Power consumption

 

 

Thermal design considerations and ensuring reliable operation :

One critical part of the design of wireless routers is their thermal performance and reliability. A wireless router is a fixture in your home. It is always on and expected to enable the connectivity for so many devices that enable the experiences you have each and every day. Whether it be streaming music or movies, playing games or downloading all of this and more is enabled by your router working day in and day out. ASUS takes this very seriously and in the course of the 87U design and development the design team went through extensive steps to ensure solid thermal performance through careful design implementation as well as extensive validation. Why is this important? Because with ever increasing complexity and speed of the internal components in a router thermals can not only lead to instability but lead to failure. Analysis is done with a focus on real world connections and utilization. Four computers are connected to the router, two are connected by LAN and the others are connected by Wi-Fi one for 2.4GHz and the other for 5GHz. Only if the unit passes operation under this load is it cleared. During this we also carefully evaluate thermal performance of the router. This is to ensure the thermal solution put in place works as intended.

The 87U actually features three independent heatsinks for core processing portions of the 87U. These heatsinks help to ensure stability under heavy load.

87U Heatsink implementation

 

Over 14 points are measured and tracked via thermosistors and thermographic imagery. This also with careful evaluation of different thermal dissipation implementations are measured and compared to find solutions that meet the demands of consistent long term usage and ensure effective thermal dissipation. This is done at multiple stages through multiple design revisions to the housing and layout topology. Once the units meets final design implementations and features final topology, component utilization and final ID ( the housing ) the unit is further re evaluated to ensure its thermal operating performance and reliability.

Thermal monitoring 1      Thermal monitoring 2

 

Interoperability and compatibility does it work with my device or adapter?

This is a big part of the time that goes into validation of a routers functionality and performance. It is also an aspect that does not generally get discussed as many reviewers based on expediency and bandwidth have limited opportunity to test different client adapters and devices. Of course in the real world we expect if a device is equipped with Wi-Fi then it should work with the router. In theory this is should be the outcome but in reality there are a number of factors that cause this to not be the reality of what occurs between Wi-Fi enabled devices and the routers they connect to. In this respect interoperability and compatibility has to be treated as an ongoing process that continually improves and considers the wide range of devices that are are utilized or can be utilized. Of course it is extremely important for a device to have launch ready compatibility and interoprability to ensure a wide range of users will have a positive experience in regards to connectivity and its associated performance. With that noted new devices along with current devices as well as the sheer number of different devices along with different wireless controllers / chispets makes this a difficult task to manage. With the introduction of a entirely new chipset it is even more challenging as it may not have the experience and fine tuning present that an older or revised wireless chipset has. In this respect ASUS worked extensively with Quantenna on what is refereed to as IOT connectivity and compatibility to ensure a wide range of devices had been checked to ensure great performance and overall a great connected experience. At the same time the ASUS team was able to leverage its FT tuning experience and optimizations for 2.4GHz from its implementation in previous routers like our 68U which utilizes the same chipset. Bring this all together and you can begin to see the level of work put into this aspect of design and development and validation.

In total over 20 different types of client devices and adapters were tested ranging from solutions based on 802.11AC chipsets from Broadcom, Realtek, Mediatek, Intel, Qualcomm and others. For users that also are looking for a great out of box experience consider ASUS’s own line of wireless adapters both USB based and PCIe based. These include the USB-Ac51, USB-AC53, USB-AC56, PCE-AC56 and PCE-AC68. All have been tested with the 87U and offer great range, throughput and performance. I was most impressed by entry solutions like USB-AC51 and 2×2 based solutions like the BCM internal Wi-Fi in many notebooks as well as our own USB-AC56 and the Intel 7260. Even at moderate distance and in noisy environments throughput and was very good and clearly improved compared to the 68U.

The heart of a router’s features, functionality and overall usability is firmware, ASUS WRT :

Many enthusiasts looking at a router can get stuck on some of the specifications of a wireless router whether it be the proposed wireless speed or  if it has USB 3.0 or whether it has external and replaceable antennas. All of these are important but are ultimately only part of the equation needed to produce a great connected experience. In addition the functionality associated with those specifications or connections are determined by not just the hardware but softwore or more specifically firmware. In this respect and much more firmware is the crux of a wireless router overall feature set, functionality , compatibility and performance and more. ASUS has for multiple generations now been continually refining and improving its firmware with the end goal of  meeting the minimum requirement of a useble and functional product that offers great interoperability and performance but also meets the needs and wants of progressing networking enthusiasts. Going back to the RT-N16 ASUS has been continually evaluating the features and functions users once previously adopted open sourced firmware which had robust features and functions but had no validation or specific tuning to the router it was installed on. With this in mind ASUS set out to incorporate the feedback of the users and the community and produce a firmware with close to equal advanced functionality and some ways superior functionality while offering superior ease of use and of course maintaining validation and per model optimizations. Flash forward to today and the N16 has actually still received firmware updates since its release in 2009 and many features and functions have come with those updates. 

We are not here to read about the N16 so enough about it, we are here to discuss the 87U. The 87U brings with it a slew of new ASUS WRT features many of which were specifically incorporated based community feedback. It woud be hard to cover the sheer range of functions offered in the firmware so we are going to mostly cover key features as well as popular features or functions that are present and have been improved upon or are wholly new.

CD free & software free wired or wireless setup

  • ASUS’s award winning QIS ( quick internet setup ) is maintained from previous versions allowing you to get up in running in as little as 30 seconds. New additions include password strength analysis and verification. These help to ensure you optimally secure your router. As always whether you are on a smartphone, tablet, notebook or desktop or any web enabled device all you need is a browser and physical wired connection to the router or connection to the wireless setup signal to get up and running.

New network map, networking homepage

  • The primary homepage for the router has been updated with more information to allow for quicker access and detailing to information information about your network and connected devices. Additionally aspects of customization have also been included.
  • Some of the new aspects are CPU utilization display and monitoring, RAM utilization display and monitoring as well as labeling for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Per connected client connection details including signal strength for wireless devices. For each device you can even defines its display icon and name making it easier for you to know what devices are connected. All devices are easily broken up as well under a general online status as well as more specific wired and wireless connections.

Dynamic network traffic monitoring, management and quality of service ( QoS )

  • Entirely new QoS ( quality of service ) implementation that still allows for NAT acceleration.  This new QoS is based on deep packet inspection and allows for easy prioritization of networking based on content type whether it be multimedia streaming ( music and movies ), web browsing, gaming, file sharing and more. Traditional QoS with advanced manual configuration is still offered allowing users of all types options best suited to their usage models and environments.
  • Rich network traffic analysis with integrated traffic monitoring for wired and wireless connections. For more advanced monitoring enabling of adaptive QoS enables application analysis offers per client monitoring of bandwidth and per client application bandwidth utilization. For administrators or parents looking for all the details on how the internet is being used set of tools.
  • Per client web history monitoring helping you to what sites are being visited on the network

Advanced router security with AiProtection featuring Trend Micro for network security and assessment and exploit resolution

  • Router exploit analysis, with the click of a button check for common exploits and vulnerabilities  as well as low strength parameters and resolve them or make recommendations
  • Integrated white list and black list malicious web site blocking, helps to easily ensure security and minimize infection or intrusion by blocking sites that can compromise your system. These includes sites know to have spyware, ransom ware, phishing, and spam content. These sites are updated automatically based on Trend Micro’s ongoing web site security analysis.
  • Infected device prevention with blocking support of controlling services that can remotely control your system, infected and access information. Infected device protection and blocking will automatically check connected devices destination URL or IP address and compare it to Trend Micros know C&C malicious server database.
  • End user email notification. You are notified if a suspicious, malicious or known C&C attack attempts to make connect to its corresponding server.

Rich parental controls offering content, keyword and site filtering and blocking. Limit time or device connectivity as well

  • Parents or administrators can access easy to control content filtering on the router. The integrated easy to enable content filtering groups make it much easier to control web browsing compared to specific site restriction. Content categories include, Adult, IM and communication, P2P and file transfer as well as streaming and entertainment. Categories are are based on Trend Micro’s website reputation system ( WRS ) cloud database and application signature database.
  • For parents or administrators looking to limit the time or system that can connect to the internet ASUS WRT firmware offers the ability to limit connectivity based on the client as well as based on time. Time parameters can be based on 12 or 24 hour intervals as well as day of the week granularity.

Advanced LAN and WAN reassigment with support for dual WAN and 5th LAN port

  • Users can easily configure their router based on their needs and environment. Should you need fail over support or load balancing you can enable a secondary WAN port by reassignment any of the 4 LAN ports to WAN functionality. The secondary WAN be be setup for DHCP, PPPoE, Static IP, PPTP, L2TP or 3G/4G USB enabled device.
  • For users who utilize the router in an access point fashion they can easily reconfigure the WAN port and reassign its function as a LAN port instead.
  • Users looking to maximize media bridge mode performance can enable teaming functionality allowing for greater than gigabit throughput.

iOS and OSX support with support for Facetime and Time Machine

  • iOS users and OSX users can equally benefit form portions of the ASUS WRT firmware by easily enabling Time Machine support.

Rich VPN functionality with VPN server and client support

  • ASUS continues its support of rich VPN functionality by expanding its VPN support to include PPTP VPN servers as well as Open VPN server as well as PPTP, L2TP and Open VPN clients. For security enthusiasts, media streaming tweakers and tuners as well as global travelers and road warriors this level of flexibility when it comes to VPN is appreciated.

AiCloud 2.0 for easy streaming, syncing and sharing of connected devices and locally connected PCs

  • Advanced integrated media and file sharing functionality is built into the router allowing users with web enabled devices and devices supporting the AiCloud app to stream, sync and sharing files from USB attached storage.
  • With AiCloud users can even access files from locally connected PCs on your local area network. Advanced control even allows you to wake systems from sleep or hibernation. No need to be dependent on syncing your files to cloud based services.
  • For users with two ASUS routers one in your home and another a friends or business location you can enable router to router file syncing.
  • Newly designed AiCloud app allows for easy visual navigation and access as well as playback of your digital files they be music or movies, videos or general files.

PC free file downloading with download master

  • Users can easily download files without the need to leave their systems on whether it be HTTP or FTP or P2P easily set your router to download your files to USB attached storage and then access the content on any connected PC or client.

Guest wireless network ( Guest SSID )

  • Households and business needing the flexibility to have multiple SSIDs ( wireless networks ) can easily enable up to three guest SSIDs per band.

Overall you can begin to see the level of rich features and functionality offered in the ASUS WRT firmware. More is planned and is being worked on for future implementation via easy to apply firmware updates which can be automatically checked within the routers firmware update portion. No other consumer router offers the wide range of usability and functionality offers by the 87U and its firmware which as noted will continue to be improved upon.

Multiple operating modes

  • ASUS WRT firmware allows user to easily enable three different operating modes, these includes wireless router, media bridge and access point.

A quick look at performance and conclusion :

So we have talked a lot about design, features, functionality as well as general performance and much more so what about numbers? We will be working on a separate article that goes a bit more into performance but to provide some visibility on the performance you can expect we have included some impressive results from 3×3, 2×2 and 1×1 based adapters offering you a perspective of performance across a range of 802.11AC enabled devices and respect speed class. Overall you can see the 87U steps up to offers some impressive numbers. Keep in mind these numbers are in a real world environment at the distance of approx 20 feet and with over 25+ wireless access points as well as an complex office environment with many RF transmitting based devices.

So wrapping things up is the 87U worth it? That is an easy yes if you are looking for a router that creates a truly expansive and wide level of coverage, offers considerably faster than 10/100 Ethernet speeds and gives you the most robust storage functionality. If you are pretty much looking for a wireless router with the best range, throughput and simultaneous storage performance and much more this is the unit for you. What about users that are already on the 802.11AC bandwagon? Users that already have great range and great throughput? This is a great question, if you have made the investment in a high performance router like the AC66U or AC68U or mid range wireless router like the AC56U. The biggest areas of improvement will be in storage performance and throughput. For users who are currently challenged by range especially with units like the 66U or 68U while improvements can be had you may want to look more closely at optimizing your environment and considering fine tuning parameters whether they be channel optimization, placement or incorporating repeaters or even replacing antennas or possibly a combination of all of these. Wi-Fi is a complex technology that has many affectors to its range and throughput but for many this router will offer the best experience of any wireless router when it comes to network connectivity, functionality and performance not to mention the experiences possible enabled  by the WRT firmware. This is especially true if you are coming from a non ASUS router.

Lastly for those of you wondering about how it fairs in the landscape of tri band enabled routers ASUS’s focus is currently to produce the widest range of wireless routers for the wide range of needs and environments that require a wireless router. This aligns with the truth that no one router works or will benefit every environment as such different devices are needed for different usage models and environments. Products like the upcoming AC3200 may potentially be a better fit for heavy mixed mode environments but will not offer superior throughput or storage performance or the same maximum range compared to that of the 87U. The unit of course though is still under design and development and as we get closer to the formal release more information will be provided. As always stay tuned for more information soon and feel free to leave questions, comments or concerns. We will updating the article over the next few weeks as few we have some time to include some additional points and respond to any questions. Additionally we will expand and detail common FAQs as well as always in the FAQ portion of the overview.

 

FAQ for RT-87U and 87R

1. When will it be available?

Availability for the 87R is currently active. You can purchase directly from BestBuy in store or online.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-extreme-wireless-ac2400-dual-band-gigabit-router/7230042.p?id=1219258061855&skuId=7230042

2. Is there a difference between the 87U and the 87R?

Bboth units are hardware identical and feature the same specifications, features and functionality the only difference is product availability based on retailer which is defined by the name of the router

3. Is the 87U faster and better than the 68U?

The RT-AC68U is a extremely high performance 802.11AC 3 stream router. While it offers impressive range, throughput and storage performance overall the 87U offers considerable improvements compared to the 87U in all aspects. The only exception is 2.4GHz throughput which is roughly the same. Due to a more advanced hardware design under concurrent loads the 87U can offer improved performance even under 2.4GHz connectivity. Users that are looking for a considerable range improvement should additionally consider other options outside of replacement of the 68U with the 87U. Depending on client device and environment it may be better to consider the use of a repeater to maximize range, signal stability and overall connected throughput.

4. What about the AC3200 is it better and faster than the 87U?

The AC3200 is still under design and development. As such immediate comparisons cannot be immediately provided. With this noted the overall design and differences in chipset specifications will not allow the AC3200 to offer superior throughput or storage performance. Additionally overall range should be superior on the 87U as well. As a whole the benefit first and foremost for the AC3200 will be heavy mixed mode Wi-Fi environments that also have varying standards ( both 802.11N and 802.11AC.

5. What about MU-MIMO? Is it enabled?

At this time MU-MIMO is hardware ready but has not yet been enabled via the firmware. It is still under firmware and chipset interoperability, compatibility and performance validation. Once this is complete the firmware will be released via ASUS support site ( support.asus.com ) as well as via the auto update mechanism in the ASUS WRT firmware. The firmware release should also align with initial MU-MIMO ready devices.

6. Is the firmware ready?

Yes the firmware is ready and useble and offers out of the box great performance and compatibility. Core features and functionality are working. With this noted the 87U features many entirely new features which are under continue refinement and revision for not only better performance but better usability. Primary areas still being improved focus on noisy environment optimization as well as QoS functionality and GUI elements. Lastly we are working on further enhancing USB performance even further by incorporating Broadcoms updated SDK. This along with additional features and functionality improvements will continue to be incorporated as new firmware is released. Overall users are advised to ensure they use the auto updating portion of the router during quick internet setup or download the latest firmware from the ASUS support site.

support.asus.com

7. What about USB performance has it been fixed?

As has designed the 87U for outstanding USB 3.0 performance. It designs as detailed in the overview allows for the best simultaneous WiFi and USB performance. It is important to understand ASUS currently is the only vendor who has enable advanced options within the WRT firmware to prioritize 2.4GHz range and throughput as opposed to USB 3.0 performance. This is down via an option within the ASUS WRT firmware. By default as most users prefer to have superior range and throughput for connected devices and 2.4GHz is a commonly used Wi-Fi standard USB 3.0 performance is not optimized. For users who prioritize USB 3.0 performance or are generally only using 5GHz enabled devices you can change this setting with little to no impact to your usage. If this setting is left in default position USB 3.0 performance is considerably reduced as noted to maximize 2.4Hz range and throughput. Due to this design implementation and firmware setting some users have incorrectly assumed or stated the USB 3.0 specification on USB 3.0 enabled routers has an issue.

For more information reference the whitepaper linked below.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/universal-serial-bus/usb3-frequency-interference-paper.html

8. I have more 802.11N based devices? Should I still get this router?

Depending on your current router you may still see considerably improved range, throughput and overall performance with N devices compared to your current router. With that noted overall the best improvements will come from 802.11AC connected clients ( whether they be 1×1, 2×2 or 3×3 ). Additionally 802.11AC routers are first and foremost tuned for optimal performance, compatibility with AC based clients as such a dedicated 802.11N router may potentially yield equal or superior client compatibility. ASUS is working extensively to ensure very strong 802.11N compatibility and interoperability.

9. What adapters do you recommend be paired with 87U?

In our testing entry level clients adapters such as the USB-AC51 have shown impressive range and throughput for an entry solution. For users focusing on best range, throughput and performance recommendations are Intel 7260 mini PCIe as well as the USB-AC56 which supports TurboQAM and beamforming. In addition for desktop users the USB-AC56, Intel 7260 desktop adapter as well as the ASUS PCE-AC56 and AC68 have shown to have exceptional range and throughput while also supporting beam forming and TurboQAM.

 

103 Responses to "August 2014 The Best 802.11AC Router – RT-AC87U & RT-AC87R"

  1. dallas
    dallas 4 months ago .Reply

    i still don’t understand what the real difference is between the 87u and the ac3200 can someone explain it to me

    • JJ
      JJ 4 months ago .Reply

      They are two different chipsets and designs. Ultimately the AC3200 is focused a complex or heavy client networks with a large amount of mix mode usage. From a general perspective though the 87U will offers better range, throughput and storage performance. Throughput of course can be dependent on number of devices connected as well as mixed device connectivity. Depending on your network environment and configuration one may be a better choice for you. The AC3200 is still under design and development though so our current focus is on the 87U.

      • RC
        RC 3 months ago .Reply

        Who is the speaker in the ASUS RT-AC87U overview video? Great job! In the overview video a comment made about another video which goes into detail on the firmware configuration options and what they mean? Cannot find this video.

        • JJ
          JJ 3 months ago .Reply

          That would be me. Thanks for the view and support. More content is planned some for additional video content including firmware overview and performance.

  2. righ
    righ 4 months ago .Reply

    when is this going to be available in the uk? plzz reply

    • JJ
      JJ 4 months ago .Reply

      Sorry cannot comment as we focus on North America availability. I would expect though it aligns with our availability so the end of the month going into early next month.

  3. beardsquad
    beardsquad 4 months ago .Reply

    JJ,

    I’m relying on the 87R to provide a 1.0+ Gbps connection to the multiple computers in my home because of a NAS. However, the only one currently capable of getting this is my desktop that I’ve put a PCE-AC68 into (I get up to 1.3 Gbps sometimes, but it never dips below 1.0; can’t complain). Many other computers on the same floor of the house as this desktop can’t get these kinds of speeds unfortunately (though they do have 3×3 AC antennae).

    1) Would an AE-87 benefit me if I were to put it on this floor of the house (one floor above the router)?

    2) Does the AE-87 behave only as an extender or does it expand bandwidth in any way?

    3) Any plans on offering a PCE-87 card? Nothing out there that can take advantage of the 4 stream yet as far as I’m aware.

    Thanks.

    • JJ
      JJ 4 months ago .Reply

      Are you referring to link rate or actual measured throughput. 1.0Gbps wireless connection is unrealistic generally even with a PCE AC68. What are you specific requirements in regards to the devices connecting to the 87U?

      There is no AE-87? Do you mean the EA-87?

      As for the 4×4 client we are developing solutions but currently those will be initially limited to a secondary 87U and EA-87. Keep in mind those as detailed in the article all stream / antenna configurations benefit from the 4×4 design due to improved receive sensitivity.

      • beardsquad
        beardsquad 4 months ago .Reply

        Yes, link rate, not throughput. Though is it wrong to assume link rate is indicative of a ‘faster’ connection? Basically I have a NAS connected to the 87R and I carry out huge transfers to and from (up to 50GB sometimes) so I just want that to happen as fast as possible via wireless. I’m already able to complete that transfer in less than 20 minutes but I still want to know if I’m getting everything I can out of this router by ensuring my computers have the best connections even a floor above the router. Link speed for the aforementioned desktop is 1.0 to 1.3 Gbps and a retina MacBook Pro with a 3×3 card hovers around 530 Mbps (and rarely surpasses that). When I have the laptop directly next to the router, it does, of course, get the full 1300 Mbps. Please do let me know if I’m obsessing over the wrong numbers/values though.

        Yes I meant AE-87, excuse the typo.

        • beardsquad
          beardsquad 4 months ago .Reply

          *EA-87 (typo again)

        • JJ
          JJ 4 months ago .Reply

          You are ok to assume that link rate is generally indicating faster throughput but the real numbers could be considerably different. It should be using loosely as an reference in regards to connection quality and associated speed ( especially as it can vary heavily on the driver ). Overall you look to be in a solid position. I would say you are getting healthy throughput based on what you have communicated. A couple of things to ensure are one do you have USB 3.0 performance mode enabled? Two have you spent time to analyze channels and ensure you are on the highest performing channel? I would say that technically you could possibly have further improved performance by using a EA 87 at the location you have your Macbook and then connect it via Ethernet or connect to the EA as an access point. THe additional antenna would help to further improve throughput and overall reception strength. One important factor though is driver optimization. I assume you are using OSX and not Windows on the notebook?

          • beardsquad
            beardsquad 4 months ago .

            I do not believe I have USB 3.0 performance mode enabled, but since my machines are connected exclusively to the 5GHz channel, would this still be relevant? In your article you mention: ‘… within the WRT firmware to prioritize 2.4GHz range and throughput as opposed to USB 3.0 performance.’

            I haven’t experimented much with the different channels. I’ve left it at 80MHz for the 5 and 20/40 for the 2.4, which is how it came out of the box I believe.

            For the case of the MacBook I would agree and blame drivers. The AC card in it is something I upgraded myself (because the first generation retina MacBook Pros did not come with wireless-AC). Apple and Broadcom do not distribute drivers as downloads on a website; rather any drivers that come through are supplied via software updates to the system, so I am waiting for the next 10.9.x update to see if it resolves my issue.

            But yes, I was reporting mostly on the OS X side. I am running Win 8.1 via Bootcamp on the other side and link speed is quite unfortunate at 40.5 Mbps. Definitely an issue with Bootcamp drivers that I need to resolve on my own.

          • JJ
            JJ 3 months ago .

            Specifically because you are using 5GHz only you should definitely be using the performance mode. Any USB 3.0 attached storage device will benefit from it being enabled.

            As for the channel you are referring to bandwidth but not the channel ( most likely it is on channel 149. Depending on your environment though you may have a much better performance or possibly worse on a different channel. It really depends on your local RF devices as well as other APs in your immediate area.

  4. Kenton
    Kenton 3 months ago .Reply

    JJ,
    Great video and information as always, a couple of questions about this router.
    1. Will AI-cloud support windows 8.1 phone app anytime soon? I have recently switched all of my mobile devices to windows 8 platform and it seems that I won’t be able to take advantage of this great feature with this router unless I have iOS.
    2. I would like to connect all of my living room devices to the EA-87 as you explained in the video. When will this be available for purchase?
    Thank you

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      We are looking into support but not at this time. I am with you as well as a very happy owner of a Windows 8 tablet and smartphone ( 1520 ). Many aspects of AiCloud are fully web based and as such you fully use them on a Windows 8 device. That being noted we have significantly increased the functionality with recent updates that do require a local application. We are continuing to collect feedback from our users on offering a Windows 8 application and if and when we release one we will definitely communicate it on here on PCDIY.

      • Kenton
        Kenton 3 months ago .Reply

        Thanks JJ! I also have a 1520 (that I love) and my table is the 2520. Any word on my question about the EA-87? I really appreciate the responses. Also, really great show tonight with Tek Syndicate, I learned a lot. I can’t wait for the x99 MBs!

  5. Greg
    Greg 3 months ago .Reply

    Why is one of the four LAN ports not running off the Broadcom SOC?

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      This is part of the design of the router and special design implementation.

      • Greg
        Greg 3 months ago .Reply

        What is the intent of this design choice? Would one of the LAN ports have better or worse routing and switching performance than the other three?

        • Mike C.
          Mike C. 3 months ago .Reply

          Good question, I am curious about this as well. It looks from the block diagram that the 1 LAN connected through the Realtek to the Quantenna may offer better throughput performance between say NAS device and 5GHz network clients perhaps? I have no idea given I don’t know of the performance capabilities of each set of components between the 2.4GHz clients and the 5GHz clients, but for that one LAN port the path is quite different WRT 5GHz clients and has one less component in the processing path fr 5GHz client as well… if the block diagram is “electrically accurate” and/or I am interpreting it correctly.

          • JJ
            JJ 3 months ago .

            In real world usage all LAN ports offer the same performance.

  6. gcfan88
    gcfan88 3 months ago .Reply

    When will this router be available on Canada?

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Availability should align for Canada at the same time it becomes available to general retailers and etailers beginning next week and moving into the first week of Sept.

  7. Ian
    Ian 3 months ago .Reply

    Will this router be given the ability to logically name attached devices (i.e. TIVO) rather than have to rely upon knowing and remembering a specific address? In short I want to fix my own IP addresses and name those devices so they can more easily be managed. Something that is available on say the Linksys WRT1900AC.
    Thanks

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Yes this is noted in the overview detailing. You can do this inside the WRT firmware where you can define the name as well as the icon for the connected device.

  8. sokhoon8
    sokhoon8 3 months ago .Reply

    New network map, networking homepage
    •The primary homepage for the router has been updated with more information to allow for quicker access and detailing to information information about your network and connected devices. Additionally aspects of customization have also been included.
    •Some of the new aspects are CPU utilization display and monitoring, RAM utilization display and monitoring as well as labeling for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Per connected client connection details including signal strength for wireless devices. For each device you can even defines its display icon and name making it easier for you to know what devices are connected. All devices are easily broken up as well under a general online status as well as more specific wired and wireless connections.

    So to help me out here. Does this mean I can fix an IP address say 192.168.1.155 and name the device “TIVO Family room”

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Any device that is registered on the network map and client list can have an associated icon and title. As for IP address that is entirely different. There are of course options to fix IP but this is more advanced level of functionality within the firmware.

  9. Mike C.
    Mike C. 3 months ago .Reply

    Routers are starting to remind me of razor blades as they progress (4 blades are better than three!). Of course routers actually benefit (my experiences so far anyway) vs. what “may” just be marketing with razors :). Just when I think that the only improvements possible are incremental until the next gen wireless is available, the 87U comes along. I have 2 AC66Us for coverage purposes and I was planning on adding a 68U but not anymore, sorry ASUS 68U, but I am now going to buy an ASUS 87U instead :). This 87U looks like a beast, it has more compute power than several devices that are on my network that are primarily designed for compute! The best part is that I don’t necessarily have to justify replacing one of my AC66Us, rather I can replace my primary 66U with an 87U and re-use what was the primary 66U to improve coverage even more… unless a wireless survey shows that the 87U provides adequate coverage for my purposes… I am excited to see what this thing can do.

    Thank you for the incredibly detailed write-up and video JJ, considering past investments I have made on gear (my PC builds too, not just network), the effort you put into evangelizing each generation of ASUS solutions makes the difference between my investing in each generation rather than sticking with what I have already invested in for a few generations. This is even(especially) when underlying generations haven’t changed, like moving from the RIVE to the RIVBE on the X79 platform where your video comparing the two was what made the difference on my decision. No one else addressed the issue of breathing new life into X79 for enthusiasts (who are required and/or addicted to building/upgrading frequently) while we continued to patiently wait for X99(almost here, yay!), so ASUS putting the effort into the RIVBE was appreciated, and at least in my case an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

    Same thing here with the 87U 2.0 AC solution, an unexpected but pleasant surprise that takes consumer router/WAP solution options to the next level while we wait for the next generation(whatever that is, given ad and ah aren’t replacements :/). This is sorely needed given the proliferation of higher quality wireless devices combined with higher bandwidth demanded by better quality content for those devices… I expected having to take more drastic measures to support this in my home, now it looks like I have a much simpler solution.

    Generally speaking, I think ASUS does a the best job in the consumer industry WRT frequent iterations introducing fundamental improvements including both features and performance that fill the gaps left by the divergence in the speed of innovation in different industries producing related technologies. The current cadences for new architectures and specifications seems to be going slower and slower while the dependent technologies are improving at a faster pace (that is my impression anyway), I am glad ASUS exists to fill that gap so that we can take advantage of the features of the dependent technologies while we wait for new iterations of the underlying architectures to catch up.

    That said, demonstrating how ASUS helps consumers solve this problem is obviously important, and you do a great job JJ in explaining the relevant details without wasting everyone’s time with marketing BS (5x faster x3 my arse, competitor I am thinking of to remain nameless)… so thanks for your efforts and for not succumbing to spouting BS, hopefully ASUS keeps doing so well on new solutions so that you are never required to :).

    P.S. looking forward to the new peripherals as well!

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Thank you for your sincere and detailed feedback and response. I personally strive to provide insight and understanding regarding the products we design and develop. Just like you I am user and hope to find information to help me have the best experiences possible with my technology. Equally as important is finding information to help justify additional expenditure should it be needed. Here at PCDIY that is my long term goal to provide quality information in interesting ways that aligns with the interests of our users and the PCDIY community. Again thank you for your feedback and support. As a vendor we cannot produce a perfect product 100% of the time but we can strive to produce quality products that are well design and offer solid features, functionality and performance.

  10. Mike C.
    Mike C. 3 months ago .Reply

    P.P.S. can ASUS PCDiY t-shirt be purchased somewhere soon (or now and I have missed it?).

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      No it cannot be purchased. Stay tuned though for an announcement on clothing which will be available to PCDIY readers and viewers.

  11. Gerardo Gallegos
    Gerardo Gallegos 3 months ago .Reply

    Love this detailed article! I wish there was more articles like this!

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Thank you! Appreciate the feedback.

  12. Jo
    Jo 3 months ago .Reply

    JJ,

    Where I can buy this router here in Canada?

    Thanks!

  13. Seth
    Seth 3 months ago .Reply

    I just recently purchased the RT-AC87R and I cannot find any documentation or even a forum post regarding exactly what and how to use the “teaming” function on port 1 and 2. Any info would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      I have requested our support team update the support site to include the manual. For the teaming function it is enabled via the firmware ( enter into the firmware UI for the 87U ) and there you can enable this function.

      • Rivak
        Rivak 2 months ago .Reply

        @JJ, I still cannot find the option to enable the teaming ports (link aggregation) in the firmware Can you please point me in the right direction ?

        Thanks

  14. mpmbc
    mpmbc 3 months ago .Reply

    I am researching the AC3200 as a solution to a mini lab we have for students. Last week our Belkin only allowed 20 connections out of 37 devices, however that was not bad, I did not expect to have that many kids arrive. So I understand that the AC3200 will support up to 16 devices per each band (48 devices) – the question is what configuration are the 3 bands made of? We have 802.11N tablets and the kids have their laptops and tablets? Want to know it this would be a good fit for have 40 devices connected at one time. Our BW is 50MB down and 5MB up

  15. Mathew Teague (@MatTeague)

    Hi JJ love the design and can’t wait for this router =D! When will it be released in the UK?

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      Should be very soon. I would check with UK ASUS social media on specifics for the release date.

  16. A Dent
    A Dent 3 months ago .Reply

    I will need to set up a simpler AC bridge in a different room, connecting to the RT-AC87U with wired Ethernet. What unit would be a good partner for the router? (budget don’t allow for a next AC87 :-)

    • JJ
      JJ 3 months ago .Reply

      The majority of our routers can be used a repeaters it is built into our firmware. With that noted you could consider our upcoming EA-87U which is a purpose built media bridge. Otherwise i would consider the AC66U as the lowest cost option or you could do the RP-AC52 and then use a switch with it.

  17. A Dent
    A Dent 3 months ago .Reply

    What is the backbone bandwidth of the RT-AC87U?

    If 3 LAN ports are busy with local traffic between them, how will that affect the speed for the WiFi connected clients to the uplink?

  18. RC
    RC 2 months ago .Reply

    I’d just like help keeping the really nice hardware running. It keeps dropping all connections, with no error messages anywhere. I have the latest firmware. Disappointed, and weary of cycling power to get it going again.

    • EC
      EC 2 months ago .Reply

      I’m having the same issue. I’ve had one running for several weeks as an access point without issue, but just bought a second to use for the router, replacing the one supplied by AT&T (and switching to cable internet).

      Without boring you too much, I had a second internet connection utilizing an old D-Link as a router (w/o wifi) that worked fine for two weeks, albeit with less of a load on it. I cut over to the ac87R last night and have had to cycle the power no less than three times in 24 hours. What might be a minor annoyance for me is a huge hassle for the rest of the family. I hope this is something that can be fixed with firmware before long. I’ve got quite a bit tied up in two of these.

      • EC
        EC 1 month ago .Reply

        After another week of testing, the issue appears to be having the second AC87 as an access point. I’ve gone days at a time without issue with a singe AC87 serving as a wireless router, but after re-introducing the second AC87 in AP mode, I lose my connection on all networked devices (wired and wireless) after several hours.

        • Sharky
          Sharky 1 month ago .Reply

          I now ended up having 2 RT-AC87’s, and set up one as AP mainly to provide better range for some users.

          But I must say there has been/ and still are/ lots of issues. Some issues when using USB3 connected drive, other issues with WiFi disconnects and strange things. I really hope it is all down to firmware trouble and not the hardware itself. (Have updated to the latest)

          USB3: a Trascend StoreJet that usually performs very well. but when connected to the AC87, it do sudden disconnects, in the middle of writing/reading, which of course gives trouble in itself. When working, the max speed to it is less than 60KB/sec,.. which is incredibly less than the drive can perform when attached directly to USB3

          If I map a drive to the connected folder, (windows 8 SMB), No iTunes or DLNA enabled, it is still a random thing if it works or not, or when it all falls apart.

          After reading around on Forums seeing that others have similar experiences, I put it across on the USB2 side, but with similar results.

          Enabling/disabling the USB3 noice killer mode also does not make difference

          All cables used are good quality shielded.

          WiFi
          Many random short disconnects
          Have a test setup with only 6-7 mixed clients on each AC87, separate 2.4 and 5 SSID’s/connections

          The built in “roaming assistance” also does not seem to work as I understand it. Set to lowest of -70dB. Worse signal should disconnect the device so it can connect to a stronger one,.. but even on -98dB the devices still keeps connection – and I have to manually select the better net. Have experimented with some client equipment supporting enabling/disabling handovers – but the connection are kept even on bad signals.

          Some clients are locked to 5GHz net, others to 2.4, none are set to jump between them.

          I have tried to get in touch with ASUS “VIP support”, which have resulted in respons only to request the same info that I already have sent them – so I feel being kept in limboo with no real assistance at all.

          Hopefully I have only experienced a bad firmware, and a bad Monday with support staff, but I thought this was a high end top notch product that could handle the things it was sold to handle.

          I do understand that many external issues can have an impact, but it really seems like the current firmware / hardware is far from stable.

          To try and solve these issues, it would be of great help to have Asus call us and seriously look into things – but only if there are someone who really KNOW the product and who can trouble shoot (and who can read mails)

          • evora
            evora 1 month ago .

            I have the same issue with regards to a second one acting as an access point. I think it’s the firmware. It’s almost like the system runs out of RAM (just a wild guess)… you can barely access the control panel as it becomes so slow…it’s unable to service any IP traffic). Mine also loses the device IP address although keeps all other settings. It reverts to 169.254.39.3 after a reboot. Latest firmware doesn’t help. Any others having this issue?

  19. RC
    RC 2 months ago .Reply

    Unfortunately I returned the RT-AC87U because the wireless signal strength was not what I expected. I switched to the Netgear R7500 which increased my wireless signal approximately 40%, I consistently use ASUS products and have been very pleased with their motherboards. This was the first ASUS router I have purchased. I would consider myself an experienced computer builder but a newbie with respect to networking. I initially thought of purchasing two RT-AC87U (one as the router and the other as an AP). I decided to purchase the Netgear router instead because I was not educated enough on the differences between AP, Bridge and Repeater options (which is better so to speak). So I elected to go the simple route and purchased another manufacturers router. Hopefully the signal strength will improve in the future and I will most likely purchase another ASUS router and try again. FYI… My home is 2500sq ft with a basement. With the ASUS router I barely had a wireless signal on the far side of the second floor. With the Netgear router I receive the signal just fine.

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      Interesting were you connecting on 2.4GHz or 5GHz? Additionally if you did not change the channel at all it could just be a difference in the channels utilized.

      • RC
        RC 2 months ago .Reply

        I was connecting on 2.4GHz. Never changed the channel, let it to auto if I recall.

  20. DP
    DP 2 months ago .Reply

    While away from home, is there a set up guide or video that outlines how to access server connected to Asus RT-AC87R Router?

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      You use AiCloud you can find information on this at the ASUS support site. Overall it is pretty simple either you will navigate to the AiCloud custom webpage you create or you access your content via the application ( on iOS or Android )

  21. bob
    bob 2 months ago .Reply

    jj i have a question why is the router in the usa 279.99 and in the uk its around 200 bucks?

    • Devin Ogden
      Devin Ogden 2 months ago .Reply

      Where did you find this router available in the UK still looking for it.

  22. Brent Phillips
    Brent Phillips 2 months ago .Reply

    JJ I have to say that every time I see you talk about a product, I’m impressed with how educated you are. Great job!

    Now on to a request. I just got the Asus RT-AC87U and so far I’m only missing one feature. That is the ability to configure a “custom” DDNS so I can use Duckdns.org. I made the move when DYNDNS started charging and it works fine with DDWRT, but it is missing from the Asus firmware.

    Can you pass the request on to the team who is handling the firmware updates? I’m fine with either them just adding it as an option or adding a custom option like in DDWRT.

    Thanks!

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely pass along the request to our team. Additionally thank you for the kudos.

  23. Tim
    Tim 2 months ago .Reply

    I plan on buying this router shortly. I inted to use it as my primary router while using my current 68U as a repeater. My question is, if I use the 68U as a repeater, can I use theLAN ports on the 68U while in repeater mode? Also, do I connect the 68U to the network as well?

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      You would be using the router as a media bridge or access point. You can setup the route to offer this level of functionality.

  24. XboxUser
    XboxUser 2 months ago .Reply

    Hello JJ, thank you for the awesome help! I purchased one of these and love it, but I’m running into UPNP issues with having two xbox’s going. They come back with moderate or strict nat when trying to play. I don’t get that on my older 68u, any chance the upnp issues will be fixed in future firmwares? Are they aware of the issue?

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      Have not had any issues in our internal testing with XBOX 360 or XBOX one. Have you modified any parameters in the firmware or is this under pure defaults just basic setup? Additionally is it via Ethernet connectivity or WiFi connectivity?

  25. Patrick
    Patrick 2 months ago .Reply

    I’ve been using mostly default settings on the newest firmware, 2768 I think. I turn on QOS and have the LAN acceleration set to off. I’ve tried turning on the CTF 1 and 2, as well as turning off QOS and it get this moderate or sometimes strict NAT. Not sure why.

  26. John Miles
    John Miles 2 months ago .Reply

    I have a Brother HL-5370DW laser printer which I am attempting to use via the RT-AC87R router. The router shows it as attached when I plug it into either of the USB ports, and the “Add a printer” control panel app in Windows 8.1 sees the printer but it will neither show the printer as an available printing device or print a test page

    • JJ
      JJ 2 months ago .Reply

      Did you install the software for the print server? You can download the utility at support.asus.com

  27. Palle Korreborg
    Palle Korreborg 2 months ago .Reply

    Will the smart QoS come to the AC-68 or do i already have to buy a new router? I LOVE the AC-68, but i can’t figure out the QoS :)

  28. Brandon
    Brandon 2 months ago .Reply

    Quick question jj Why won’t my Netgear Wg111v2 Usb Wifi Card connect to the Netgear Wg111v2 Usb Wifi Card but only get like 10kb/s download but my other router will give me a lot more. Almost like it isnt working. another thing my phone will connect to the 87u flawlessly.

    • Brandon
      Brandon 2 months ago .Reply

      connect to the RT-87u sorry

  29. Patrick
    Patrick 1 month ago .Reply

    Can the ASUS AC87 be used as a VPN client? So that all devices connected to it will be linked to a remote VPN. If so, is Open VPN supported?

    • JJ
      JJ 1 month ago .Reply

      Multiple VPN types are supported on ASUS routers it is part of our firmware. You find more information in the article regarding this. In short though yes you can configure the VPN “internally” on the router via the firmware.

  30. don
    don 1 month ago .Reply

    I am also having the miscellaneous short drops in connection. Never had this issue with my linksys before this. I am not sure if my phone is hyper sensitive to this problem as my other devices do not seem to be having it. Can someone offer a starting point to start looking for a solution.

    • JJ
      JJ 1 month ago .Reply

      This type of issue can be difficult in a debug. I would first recommend changing channels and testing to see if that makes any difference.

  31. idprism
    idprism 1 month ago .Reply

    i see from the video that ASUS decided to include WPS. i mentioned in the discussion during R&D that implementing WPS puts users at risk, and they should be informed of this security risk.

    i also see that some people have trouble bridging 2 87U routers at the same time as using stand-alone clients to connect. has that issue been explored/resolved by asus yet?

  32. Mike
    Mike 1 month ago .Reply

    Is this or the 68U “dual console” compatible?

    • JJ
      JJ 3 weeks ago .Reply

      Can you clarify your inquiry / question?

  33. rapide
    rapide 4 weeks ago .Reply

    I am having issues with the 87U (set up as AP mode with static IP):

    1. Laptop connected to the 5GHZ band. The thing is that the connection does not drop and I remain connected to the 5Ghz band, but I will lose connectivity to other devices after a while. Windows will show there is no Internet access. I will not be able to ping any other devices – even the 87U itself from the laptop. The issue does not exist if I’m connected to the 2.4GHz band and I am able to continue to ping any devices on the network after the same period of time. AP isolation is disabled on both 2.4/5GHZ settings. I tried to modify the DTIM/Beacon intervals on the 5Ghz band from default 3/100 to 1/100, 1/50, 3/50 but still does not resolve the issue.

    2. In the Wireless UI, the pull down selection for 2.4/5Ghz will be stuck as showing 5Ghz all the time. The only workaround possible is to click on the SSID name on the top for the respective bands and it will pull up the right settings page but still show Freq band will still be stuck at 2.4Ghz. This issue was resolved when I downgraded the firmware to 2061, restored defaults x3, upgraded to 2678, restored defaults x3, upgraded to 2769 and restored defaults once again for three times. Then the UI seems to be fixed and i’m able to select and pull down the correct UI page for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz respectively correctly.

    3. Static IP settings in AP mode:
    IP settings in AP mode is not kept after a reboot. This is soft reboot or even hard reboot of the 87U. The IP assigned to 87U is outside of the DHCP range and within the same subnet mask. So at this point, what I can do is just make sure I do not reboot the 87U for it to stick to the assigned Static IP.

    thx

  34. Jonathan
    Jonathan 4 weeks ago .Reply

    The 5Ghz is amazing, fast and has a good range. But I am also having the short drops in connection once a day, even with the latest firmware. After a while 2.4Ghz is broadcasting again but the 5 Ghz doesn’t reappear.The problem is that only after a factory reset, everything works fine again. Any suggestions?

  35. Bob
    Bob 4 weeks ago .Reply

    WHY WHY WHY is there still no documentation on how to implement aggregation. I can find no settings in the web gui anywhere. Why advertise port teaming and then ignore the option!!!!!?

    • JJ
      JJ 3 weeks ago .Reply

      I have sent an inquiry to our networking firmware team as it was planned for incorporation. Once I have an update I will post as an update in the FAQ section of the article.

    • JJ
      JJ 3 weeks ago .Reply

      Any users should be aware this is unofficial and is not supported in any way. All officials betas are posted to the formal support site along with validated ( non beta ) firmware.

      • TabMorty
        TabMorty 3 weeks ago .Reply

        Where can we sign up to get access to Beta FW updates? yes I am aware they are Beta for a reason, but for me the official released also looks like early beta, so It would not hurt to try to see if some of the issues I am experiencing has been resolved

        Does Asus have a beta site we can access?

        • JJ
          JJ 3 weeks ago .Reply

          formal beta releases are posted on our support site ( support.asus.com ) Any new announcements I will generally try to post here on the support site under our hot off the press updates for firmware. Going forward the plan is to have the hot of the press being a recurring update on Mondays every week as that is when we release large amount of firmware. You can subscribe to the page to be notified of new updates as they are posted.

  36. rapide
    rapide 3 weeks ago .Reply

    Tested the new FW drop 2784. 87U is connected to a Gigabit switch. DHCP router is connected to the same Gigabit switch.

    1. Issue on 87U losing static IP in AP mode still exists. Loaded FW 2784 and upon completion, system asked for a hard reboot. Disconnected power to 87U unit for 5mins, reconnected power, booted up, can’t find 87U using previous static IP address. Again, the 87U was assigned to an IP that is outside of DHCP range but within the same subnet mask. Using router DHCP list, 87U has automatically picked up an IP address that is “within” DHCP range. Loaded defaults, rebooted, set to AP mode, assigned static IP (no conflicts on the network) and repeated the same steps, 87U still decides to automatically picks its own DHCP IP. Rubbish.

    2. IP connectivity issues on 5GHz still persists. Established connection from laptop to 87U using 5GHz band. Full bars and connected at 300Mbps (2×2). Able to ping gateway in CMD PRMPT. Able to access any web pages successfully. Let system idle for 3-4mins. Repeated CMD PRMPT ping to gateway and destination host unreachable. Funny thing is laptop remains connected to 87U with full bars at 300Mbps. Reopened IE and tried to goto any site, fails. Disconnected from 5Ghz band and reconnected to 2.4GHz band. Repeated the same steps, no IP connectivity loss. What a load of crap.

    disappointed.

    • TabMorty
      TabMorty 3 weeks ago .Reply

      @Rapide to your AP/static IP issue… I have 1 87U connected as AP for a next 87U, which also is used for DHCP

      What I had to do, After I assigned it with a static IP, was to also set it up in the “Manually Assigned IP around the DHCP list” in the DHCP settings of the other router. Then it would be assign the same IP after all reboots.

      Not a fix, but a temporary workaround until Asus can push out a FW fix.

      I must admit that although I get relative good range on all bands with the 87U, it lacks stability in the FW. Options that does not work as they should etc.

      Most likely the 87U was released premature, – but Asus could also handle this better by being proactive and give us some feedback.

      The support, or VIP support they have, is at best Terrible.
      You can email them a question and supply information, only to get a response where they request the same info that you already submitted. So either these support people does not Understand English, or its a political way to say they do have support, but not a functional one.

      So for now, I am 50% happy with the routers, 20% happy with the FW, and 0% happy with the support, and for the features that works, the device is overpriced. IF things had worked as promised in the marketing, it would be OK,.. but it is not…. yet ,..sorry.

      • JJ
        JJ 3 weeks ago .Reply

        Thank you for the feedback as I am sure you can understand wireless and networking as a whole is complex and has a wide range of permutations that can affect aspects of functionality, performance and more. We go through extensive testing prior to the launch and I can assure you this was the case with the 87U. This of course does not mean you do not have the issue you have communicated but it is part of the reality in wireless devices as there are users who have the same router without any issues. We are working very hard currently to find better ways to support users with issues and assistance but this is a long term process that may aspects of consideration. Should you have specific feedback regarding features or functionality please feel to email it directly to PCDIY@ASUS.COM please be aware though this is not a support email but an opportunity to provide feedback.

  37. rapide
    rapide 3 weeks ago .Reply

    @TabMorty: SO the static IP issues does really exist and i’m not the only one having it. Funny thing was the VIP support acted as though i’m the only one in the entire world to report it and they have to pass it on to their “R&D” department to investigate. Doesn’t sound anything close to “extensive” lest “complete” testing if you ask me. No matter how they try to sugar coat it, if Asus wants to release a ‘halo’ product and charge an huge premium for it, they better make sure the basics work. The static IP functionality is very trivial that any router should be able to do.

    Subscribe to the hardware forum, at least some guy is releasing some FW drops that you can cross your fingers and test rather than leaving you high and dry checking their “official” support site everyday if Asus miraculously decide to release something. There seems to be another new drop FW3561. Haven’t tested it yet, but if this still does not work, I will need to start thinking of how to auction off the 87Us cheaply before they lose anymore value.

  38. Bryan
    Bryan 2 weeks ago .Reply

    I have recently purchased the AC87U. It appears that my 5G sinal drops out periodically. Is that possible> Also I am using a transmission Power of 100%. Does tranmiting at hi power make it more unstable??

    • JJ
      JJ 2 weeks ago .Reply

      There is no need for your to modify the transmission power with the latest firmware we automatically optimize channels and other information especially if you have a client which supports beam forming. I would recommend you check for the a new driver for the client adapter.

    • TabMorty
      TabMorty 2 weeks ago .Reply

      We have also seen similar, but only related to non AC clients (802.11a/n)

      Should not be anything to do with the power.

      Perhaps you can experiment with lowering the Beacon Interval?

  39. Jonathan
    Jonathan 5 days ago .Reply

    Hey JJ thanks for all the info. I’ve been following ASUS products for along time. Last year I bought the 56u and I’ve been very pleased. However, I continue to add more devices and the 56u does struggle sometimes when my family of five are using their at the same time. For a long time I planned to buy the 68u but now the New 87u is out. This Christmas I plan to add 5-7 new devices, which include 3 tablets(all Asus) , ps4, Onkyo receiver and a HTC phone. I’m considering the 87u as well as the new EA-87u media bridge. I was thinking of connecting my TV, both PS4/PS3 and the Onkyo to the bridge. My concern is this ok to do? Several of my devices are not AC yet but they will be. Plus I would like to be future proof. Is this the way to go? Please give feedback.

    • JJ
      JJ 4 days ago .Reply

      This is a tough call the 56U is a solid router but depending on your concurrent usage yes you may be pushing it. I would agree the 87U is a good choice due to being able to manage and prioritize traffic to specific systems as well as monitor and seem which systems and devices need prioritization. overall you will have an increase in range and throughput regardless but the best performance gains will be with 802.11AC based devices. As you are using a mid range router currently all the way around you are getting considerable improvements so feel the upgrade makes sense and is justified now and in the future. Best of luck!

      • Jonathan
        Jonathan 4 days ago .Reply

        Thank you I will make the up grade. I do have some AC devices and plan to get more. What about the EA-AC87? I was considering getting that as well for my TV, PS4/PS3, and Onkyo. I just thought it would be easier than running hard wire. What’s your thoughts?

  40. Sting
    Sting 2 days ago .Reply

    Does RT-AC87 router support encrypted Time Machine backups to hard drives connected on the USB ports of this router?

    • JJ
      JJ 2 days ago .Reply

      The 87U supports Time Machine backups. As to whether encryption is additionally supported I will need to verify.

      • Sting
        Sting 2 days ago .Reply

        Is this something you can verify and post back? This is important for me to make my decision to buy this router. And I when I mean encryption I mean enabling encryption from the Time Machine settings on a Mac by checking the encryption check box so the content of the Time Machine backup is encrypted on the USB drive.

        • TabMorty
          TabMorty 2 days ago .Reply

          Many of us are experiencing lots of issues with the 87 as soon as any USB device are attached. Extra bad is it if you also have one 87U set as AP into the mix.

          Issues range from the router becoming almost non-responsive, to USB devices being premature disconnected – with all the problems that gives.

          From having tested with 6 87U units in various mixes, I can not in any way recommend using it in any backup solutions. Better to get a NAS to connect via wired.

          Hopefully Asus is working overtime to bring a stable firmware out – so the devices can start working as promised.

          • Sting
            Sting 1 day ago .

            Thanks for your feedback, appreciate it!!!

  41. Ravi
    Ravi 2 days ago .Reply

    Hi,

    Does the asus firmware support vlan on the RT-AC87?

    Thanks,

    • JJ
      JJ 2 days ago .Reply

      Yes supports VLAN.

  42. Ravi
    Ravi 2 days ago .Reply

    Hi,

    I had even looked at the manual but it does not have any topic related to vlan. is there a guide as to how to enable and setup vlan on RT-AC87?

    Thanks again,

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