For years ASUS has held off into introducing its ROG brand into other product segments, saving it primarily for the performance components e.g. motherboards, GPUs as well as complete systems like gaming notebooks and pre-built desktops. That changed recently when ASUS has decided to fully embrace is ROG branding and introduce it a much wider range of products including keyboards, mice, headsets and other gaming peripherals. When we reviewed the ASUS RT-AC88U router, we mentioned how its touches of red and black had that hint of ROG in them without being branded as a gaming product nor falling under the ROG family. It was indeed a performance product, certainly one of the most powerful in its time but as technology progressed it was displaced by a new king, the RT-AC5300. Bearing the same design hints from an ROG product along with a more modern feature set than the RT-AC88U, the RT-AC5300 was the flagship router from ASUS but from out of nowhere, the ROG brand introduced the new flagship of ASUS’ consumer networking line: enter the ROG RAPTURE GT-AC5300.
Note the difference in naming. RT-AC5300 (ASUS), GT-AC5300 (ROG)
While its easy to assume that ASUS has just slapped an ROG logo on the older model and tweaked a few settings, it does actually go further than that. The ROG RAPTURE GT-AC5300 goes beyond a simple logo change and actually receive some beefy hardware upgrade as well as a firmware facelift. The original RT-AC5300 has a Broadcom BCM4709 dual-core chip powering it under the hood with 512GB of memory and 128MB NAND flash storage. This works in tandem with the BCM4366-powered radios for its tri-band setup. The ASUS ROG RAPTURE GT-AC5300 on the otherhand receives an upgraded Broadcoam BCM4908 quad-core SoC running at 1.8Ghz (the RT-AC5300 ran at 1.4Ghz) and doubles the RAM and storage with 1GB RAM and 256GB NAND flash. Still retaining a tri-band configuration, the RAPTURE GT-AC5300 does also get upgraded in this aspect with a BCM4366E powering its two 5Ghz band and one 2.4Ghz band. The GT-AC5300 is capable of 1Gbps via 1024QAM on its 2.4Ghz band and 2.16Gbps with 1024QAM on both its 5Ghz bands. The GT-AC5300 retains the same look and antenna arrangement as its predecessor with 8-antennas surrounding the square body of the router. Finally the GT-AC5300 offers a total of 8 LAN ports, two of which are dedicated gaming ports and another two capable of link aggregation which doubles the bandwidth to-and-from the router when used with link aggregation-capable (bonding) devices.
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Similar to the newer ROG products of this release year, the ROG RAPTURE GT-AC5300 is packaged in a relatively large, cardboard box with full colored print. The signature ROG styling is splashed on the packaging with a shot of the product in the front. The back of the box highlights a couple of features of the router with detail information on what they are.
Inside the packaging we have the GT-AC5300 router itself, eight antenna, a power brick, multiple outlet cords, and documentation.
As mentioned, the GT-AC5300 shares a similar mold with the RT-AC5300. The primary difference is the logo swap, with the ASUS logo being replaced by the ROG logo on the center of the router as well as the red highlight trims being changed to metallic bronze.
The rear edge hosts all the I/O for the GT-AC5300. This includes the DC port, the power button, two USB3.0 ports, a WAN port (blue) and the 8 LAN ports (black). There is guide on the upper part of the LAN ports which denote which number the port is as well as their function. LAN1 and LAN2 are dedicated LAN ports and LAN5 and LAN6 can be used in conjunction with a bonded connection (link aggregation) for a compatible client device.
One edge has the function lights which display the status of the router e.g. power on, WIFI antenna status, WAN status, etc.
There are a couple of buttons on one edge of the RT-AC5300 as well. These are for quick functions including a WiFi toggle buttton, a WPS button and a LED toggle button.
The included antennas screw-in and once tightened, will lock themselves in via friction with rubber grommets on the end of the male thread. The antennas have 2 points of articulation: they can rotate on 1 axis and have a 90-degree bend, with a 45-degree stopping point so you can angle it mid-way of a total bend.
If the login screen isn’t enough of a reveal that this is a total reskin, diving into the dashboard shows a heavily ROG-themed web UI. The main screen is the Dashboard wherein info including traffic and ping status can be viewed.
Game IPS is just ASUS AiProtection rebranded. IPS is the proper term for this feature as IPS stands for Intrusion Prevention System. This is a multipoint protection system which blocks malicious websites, infected devices and potential attacks on your network. This service is powered by Trend Micro and comes free with your ASUS router.
The Game Boost panel allows control over the QoS feature of the GT-AC5300. The first screen shows us the current activity in the network and a GameBoost toggle switch allows instant, 1-click activation of game prioritization. All game packets will be put on max priority when this is turned on. The QoS tab allows adaptive QoS and manual QoS to be setup. Another game-centered feature of the Rapture GT-AC5300 is the built-in WTFast GPN client. This service provides the fastest route for your gaming packets and offers a smoother, and a more responsive gaming experience thanks to reduced ping times.
- From the navigation panel, go to General > Game Boost.
- Create a free WTFast account via https://www.wtfast.com/
- Log into the WTFast account.
- From the WTFast Rules list, create the profile for the device that you want to use WTFast GPN on.
- Select a GPN server according to your location or select “Auto” and “Apply” settings.
- Enable GPN profile BEFORE you launch the game.
Game Profile is the rebadged Port Forwarding panel for this router. The name derives from the pre-defined list of games that you can load to ensure that your game isn’t being blocked by the router from accessing certain ports and services. You can also manually enter port details if your game is not in the list.One cool feature of this router is the Game Radar which has a pre-defined list of popular games and their server locations. The Game Radar pings these servers and displays average ping times to these servers letting you best analyze which server you can play on for maximum enjoyment without lag. WIFI Radar is a complex diagnostic tools which is meant for advanced users. It allows you to scan the area and check in-depth wifi details like other signals to see if there’s any congestion in your channel amongst others. The Traffic Analyzer gives you a quick snapshot of your traffic activity within the day, week or month. Activities can be broken down by users or by service. This is a great way to picture how your network is being utilized by other users and is a great information tool in how to manage your network traffic.
The traditional network map is pushed to the advanced settings segment of the router. This panel gives us a view of the network including which devices are currently connected, what ISP is in used, WAN details, USB details, WIFI status as well as the overall internal router status.ASUS’ rich assortment of USB applications are still here with Download Master being my favorite. This feature allows you to download files directly via the router and save them to a connected USB drive on the router without the need for a PC. Another great feature is the 3G/4G support which lets you use a 3G/4G USB modem to connect to the internet. Perfect as a final fallback should you have internet problems. Other features are Apple Time Machine support, Network Printer support, cloud file sharing and media services. The Wireless panel allows us to control several features of the wifi radios. The ASUS GT-AC5300 also includes SmartConnect feature letting the router decide which is the best connection for the connecting device.A recent update also introduced Amazon Alexa compatibility to the GT-AC5300. When paired with Alexa, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 can be controlled with simple skill commands to do certain things on the router e.g. turning the guest network on or off. ASUS also recently introduced AiMesh. In our detailed write-up about AiMesh, we talked about how you can improve coverage on your home by utilizing this new feature and save on buying new access points or buying a new router when you have this feature. By default all Aimesh-capable router are set to wifi router/aimesh router mode. You can also switch to an Access Point/aimesh router mode as well as Media Bridge and repeater mode. Lastly you can set your router as an AiMesh node which can serve as an expansion of your network.
Since we haven’t had a router to test in a good while, we’ll save comparatives for future revisions. For now, we glance at the performance of this router under load. We use LAN Speed Test to benchmark the router to and from our test server, a 10-core Core i7-6950X powered-unit with a Intel i218v LAN chip. The test is done with a Ryzen 2700X-powered Crosshair VII HERO with a Realtek 8822BE WIFI-AC built-in. The test unit and router are 3 meters separated with a thick, concrete wall. To simulate heavy network usage, two other test units are ran with LAN speed test with a variety test packets of 50, varying from 10KB to 500MB. The actual test will uses 50MB, 100MB and a varied load of 10KB-100MB.
Even under heavy network load we manage to pull a good sub-900Mbps on the wire on both read and write tests. If you’re heavy on networking file-sharing, this is a good sign. Moving over to the wireless line, signal does drop through the wall on this connection so we’re not getting the full potential of the wireless band but still, on a real world scenario, I don’t see anyone cozying up next to a router for the best signal. We’re pulling around 300Mbps on the 5ghz band under unrealistic load and the router is still pulling through although the range does dampen our performance a bit.
Setting up AiMesh is a pretty straight process. Once you have your new AiMesh-capable ASUS router like the GT-AC5300, just set it up as normal and you’re all good. Once done, we proceed to our AiMesh node which could be an older, compatible AiMesh-router like the RT-AC88U that we have here. You can setup your old router to be an AiMesh node as follow:
- Go to administration > Set to AiMesh node
- Wait for the unit to reset and restart.
- Go to your main router’s Network Map and hit Search on the AiMesh panel.
- If you’re setting up a Wifi-to-Wifi connection, make sure the routers are within 3 meters of each other.
- If you want to hardline your AiMesh node to an AiMesh router, connect a LAN cable from the router to the WAN port of the Aimesh node.
Once detected, everything’s automatic and you’re all set. AiMesh networks allow seamless transition from one area to another without introducing another wireless network. This is a great way of reusing your older routers and/or expanding wifi coverage without spending too much on access points or repeaters.
User Experience & Conclusion
If there’s ever going to be a big complaint about this router its always going to be the price so let’s get that out of the way. At $400 or Php24,000, it is simply far from any of its contemporaries and while its closest competitor may have a similar feature set, it doesn’t boast the same hardware so the possibility of anything keeping up with the Rapture ROG GT-AC5300 during load is highly debatable. Then again, if you’re in the market for something like this, you’re a no-compromise kinda person.
With that out of the way, you do get the best in class performance from the ROG GT-AC5300 gaming router. While throughput may be matched by other routers, the gaming optimization and other performance features do give this router the advantage. Having the peace of mind that having 20+ devices connected to your network, busy with their own thing, cramming your network traffic, and you still get great ping times, good enough to keep you on the top of those global leaderboards. It is exactly these kinds of situations where the Rapture GT-AC5300 shine. Its also got the traditional stuff down including security features to maintain your networks integrity and keep you at ease that nothing is going through. Other features like Dual WAN, Guest Network and Port Forwarding increase the scope of usage of the router to more than just a home router and make it a decent SOHO/business router.
If you’re the kind of person that has a large, busy network in your home or business and want utmost performance without compromise, the ASUS ROG RAPTURE GT-AC5300 is certainly a great choice. It may have a price premium, but if you’re a gamer then there’s that air of confidence that if you’re lagging and it ain’t your PC and it ain’t your router, then it’s something else.
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a uncompromising titan of a router packed with more gaming features as it has antennas. This is definitely the choice for champions.
ASUS backs the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Gold Award and B2G Editor’s Choice Award!