Note: This shootout was first published on 16 March 2020.
Before we begin, here’s a quick overview of Wi-Fi 6. If you didn’t already know, Wi-Fi 6 is the next big wireless networking standard.
It aims to improve Wi-Fi by making routers more efficient. The problem with routers today isn’t necessarily speed – Wi-Fi 5 routers are already capable of data transfer rates in excess of 1Gbps. Rather, it’s that they are inefficient at communicating with multiple client devices. Wi-Fi 6 rectifies this problem by leveraging on a piece called ODFMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access). This chops up a Wi-Fi channel into hundreds of smaller sub-channels, allowing a single Wi-Fi channel to accommodate multiple clients. To use a motorway analogy, think of Wi-Fi 6 as a wider highway. The speed limit hasn’t been drastically increased but the highway has been widened considerably.
At any rate, to read more about Wi-Fi 6, check out the guides below:
In this shootout, we will be focusing on the fastest Wi-Fi 6 routers that are currently available. These are tri-band routers that support a maximum data transfer rate of 11,000Mbps. These routers achieve this remarkable performance by transmitting 4 streams on all three frequency bands. The 2.4GHz frequency band supports a maximum data transfer rate of 1,148Mbps while each of the 5GHz frequency bands can manage up to 4,804Mbps. Let’s take a look at our contenders.
The design is distinctive but instantly recognisable as the ROG GT-AX11000 is almost indistinguishable from ASUS’ last flagship router - the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300. The only big change in design is that the ROG logo on the router now lights up and supports Aura RGB lighting with different lighting modes like breathing, colour cycle, and comet (check out our video of it in action here). Admittedly, the overall aesthetic is quite garish but then the concession can be that the ROG GT-AX11000 was designed with gamers in mind.
Handy LED status indicators make it easy for users to troubleshoot the router in case something goes wrong, and on the left side of the routers are three buttons for WPS setup, activate/deactivate Wi-Fi, and ROG Boost. ROG Boost is essentially a shortcut button that can be mapped to instantly activate or deactivate things like your Aura RGB or QoS settings.
Round the back of the router are all the ports. There are two USB 3.0 ports, which are handy for file and print-sharing. There’s also the usual lone Gigabit Ethernet WAN port and four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. Four is a little stingy, especially when you consider the old GT-AC5300 came with no less than 8 LAN ports. If it’s any consolation, the GT-AX11000 also comes with an additional 2.5Gbps LAN port, which can be handy if you have access to very high-speed fibre. And even though it isn’t explicitly stated, the ROG GT-AX11000 supports link aggregation on the first two LAN ports.
The ROG GT-AX11000 is managed by the ROG Gaming Center, which comes with gamer-centric features that are not found on non-ROG ASUS routers. And as you can see from the screen-caps, it’s very red and has a mood that’s fitting for a gaming router. The ROG GT-AX11000 has a ton of features but three worth mentioning are Game Boost, Game Radar, and Game Profile.
Let’s go through them now. Game Boost is an adaptive QoS technology that actively prioritises gaming data packets. Game Radar quickly shows game server pings time for a number of games, including Diablo 3, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, and many more. And finally, Game Profile, provides port forwarding presets for popular games like Diablo 3, CS:GO, DOTA 2, Call of Duty, and more.
Finally, like all other ROG routers, the ROG GT-AX11000 comes with a complimentary subscription to wtfast. It claims to be a private gamers’ network that provides the shortest connection possible to popular game servers, thereby minimising latency and ping times.
These are all features that are not found on its rivals. In addition, it's also the only router to support Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which lets the router use 5GHz channels that are normally reserved for use by government services. You can read more about DFS here.
Parents with children will be happy to learn that the ROG Rapture GT-AX110000 has, by far, the most robust and flexible parental control features. Unlike its rivals which have certain restrictions, parents using the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 have the freedom to block out specific hourly blocks each day.
Furthermore, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 also supports AiMesh, an ASUS technology that enables multiple ASUS routers to come together to create a mesh network. This is particularly handy if you are upgrading from another ASUS router that’s AiMesh-compatible since you can continue to use it to increase your Wi-Fi coverage. We've also tested this function previously and it worked quite well.
And like any high-end router today, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 can be remotely managed and controlled using the ASUS router app. It’s easily the most powerful and full-featured router app and can be used to control and manage just all about all aspects of the router. You can use the app to quickly share Wi-Fi passwords, remotely change QoS settings, change parental control limits, and more.