Introduction

External design and hardware

Setting-up and firmware update

Web-interface

Command line

Testing

Conclusion

Introduction

About a year ago our test lab reviewed ASUS RT-AC87U wireless router with the support of AC2400. Oh my, back then there were so many ironic comments about the number of its external antennae! After that we were really excited waiting for the upcoming model and wondered how many antennae it would have: five, six, eight... Now is the time to test the latest flagship device by ASUS, RT-AC3200 model. It's not hard to guess that the new model supports AC3200 wireless network, which means that its maximum possible transfer speed is of 3.2 Gbps. This is something really out-of-the-way! Actually, this model only has six antennae, but let’s takes our time and tell you about everything in parts.

External design and hardware

ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router comes in a black plastic case with the following dimensions: 290х188х58 mm, not considering the antennae, and weight of a tad over one kilo. To work properly the device needs an external power adaptor with the following characteristics: 19V and 2,37А (comes in the box). External design of this model is very similar to that of RT-AC87U we had already reviewed.

On the upper surface there is a 3D brand tag as well as subscriptions to the device status LEDs located on the edge between the front and upper panels.

Side panels are not remarkable at all and there is only a ventilation grate and antennae slots located on them.

The rear panel of the model under review has two buttons located on it: LED and Wi-Fi, which are used for enabling/disabling LEDs and Wi-Fi, respectively. Apart from it there is a USB 3.0 port hidden behind a special plate.

The bottom side has four rubber legs used for table mounting of the device. ASUS RT-AC3200 can also be fastened onto the wall and therefore it has two mounting holes located on its bottom side. A sticker with the brief information about the model and a ventilation grate are located here, too.

The rear panel has sockets used for connection of four external antennae, power socket with a power ON/OFF button, WPS and Reset buttons, and five Gigabit Ethernet interfaces (four LAN and one WAN ports).

Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.

The electronic stuffing of ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router is one textolite card which has all essential elements located on both of its sides. The model under review is only fitted with a passive cooling system and that's why the card has huge radiators fastened to both of its sides. Unfortunately, all elements are covered with protective metal screen and are not accessible for review apart from a 128 Mbyte Spansion S34ML01G100TFI00 flash memory module.

That is where we bring the review of the router hardware to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Setting-up and firmware update

Upon first access to the web-interface of ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router the primary setup wizard will get launched. It is used to set the administrator password and specify the main operation parameters of the device: device operation mode, connection type to the service provider, settings of the wireless network.

And though the firmware update is not necessary to be carried out in order to prepare RT-AC3200 for fully-fledged operation, we strongly encourage all users to do it.

Firmware upgrade is carried out in Firmware Upgrade tab, Administration menu item. Firmware upgrade may be carried out both in a manual and semi-automatic mode. In order to perform the latter one needs to be connected to the Internet. Actually, the manual firmware upgrade mode is not that difficult as it only requires a firmware upgrade file that was previously downloaded from the vendor's web server. The whole firmware upgrade process takes about three minutes and does not require any technical proficiency from the administrator.

Since RT-AC3200 router firmware is fitted with Trend Micro software, the user (only upon installation of ASUSWRT firmware latest versions) can update the signatures in Firmware Upgrade tab, Administration menu item, too.

In case of a problem during the firmware upgrade process, the router may change to the rescue mode during which the Power indicator on the device front panel starts slowly flashing. Another thing that may indicate the transition to the rescue mode are changes in TTL field value in ICMP echo replies: TTL=64 in the normal mode and TTL=100 in the rescue mode. One can recover RT-AC3200, which has entered the rescue mode, in a couple of different ways: The recommended restoration method is by using Firmware Restoration utility.

Since Firmware Restoration utility only works in Microsoft Windows, some administrators may consider another restoration method, which is by using a web-server built-in in the loader. In order to use the second method one needs to enter 192.168.1.1, HTTP, using any modern browser and specify the file with the firmware. Using the web-server may come in really handy in case if there are any problems with the settings, which lead to a failure in loading the device correctly.

However, we can't help but mention the third firmware restoration technique. When in the rescue mode, ASUS wireless routers traditionally launch a TFTP server built-in in the loader. In order to restore the firmware using this method one needs to send the firmware file to the router using a TFTP client and reboot the device.

C:\>tftp -i 192.168.1.1 put c:\RT-AC3200_3.0.0.4_378_7838-gd7e6975.trx
Transfer successful: 39370752 bytes in 154 second(s), 255654 bytes/s

That is where we bring review of the getting started and firmware upgrade processes to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of the device web-interface.

Web-interface

We will not review all capabilities of the ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router web-interface, but only turn our attention to the new and most interesting features.

Network Map menu item features information about the connection to the WAN, the list of connected wired and wireless clients, essential settings of each of the three wireless ranges, as well as the RAM load and each of the two CPU cores.

One can receive detailed information about each of the connected clients, schedule the network access, block the access to the internet, and change the badge.

ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router supports up to three independent (in terms of frequency) wireless networks and that is why the administrator can create up to nine guest networks, three for every frequency band. Management of guest wireless networks is carried out using groups in Guest Network menu item.

AiProtection menu item provides the user a capability to manage network protection and parental control features. We will not review these capabilities in detail since we had already reviewed them in our article dedicated to ASUS RT-AC87U wireless router.

Adaptive QoS menu item lets the administrator manage the bandwidth distribution between the clients and application. Also, over here one can review the list of web pages visited by the users.

Traffic Analyzer menu item features not only the standard capabilities in traffic monitoring (Traffic Monitoring menu item) but detailed statistics, which is available in Statistics menu item, too.

By using Wireless menu item the administrator can carry out independent setup of each of the three connections: one in 2.4 GHz range and the other two in 5 GHz range.

A new feature that was added here is Smart Connect, which lets automatically distribute the clients between wireless connections in order to decrease their mutual influence. ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router will only announce one SSID upon enabling of Smart Connect feature.

Smart Connect feature parameters are located in Smart Connect Rule tab, Network Tools menu item. We believe that it was a bit strange to place Smart Connect Rule in Network Tools menu item. Most probably the vendor will transfer this tab to Wireless menu item in the near future.

ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router supports Dual WAN feature that lets the administrator get connected to two service providers at the same time; the corresponding settings are available in the same-named tab in WAN menu item. Internet Connection tab located in the same menu item lets one manage the connection to the primary and secondary service providers. It's worth noticing the appearance of DHCP query frequency feature, which allows specifying the frequency with which DHCP discover messages are to be sent out.

IPv6 menu item is used to manage the same-named protocol. ASUS RT-AC3200 supports several operation modes with IPv6. DHCP-PD feature came to be a nice addition; it lets one enable support of the prefix delegation by the service provider. One can read more about it in our article dedicated to IPv6.

Operation mode tab in Administration menu item lets the administrator choose one of the three operation modes of the device.

Appearance of the feedback form in the router web-interface came to be a nice addition. Now the user can inform the vendor about a certain problem directly from the device interface using Feedback tab in Administration menu item.

Also, we'd like to point out appearance of the feature that lets one scan a data carrier connected via USB, either once or on a regular basis.

 

That is where we bring a brief review of new and the most interesting capabilities of the device web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its command line. Those readers who would like to get more familiar with the device web-interface before buying it can use RT-AC3200 web-interface emulator made by ASUS.

Command line

Switching the access to the command line on and off is performed using System tab, Administration group in the web-interface. Support of SSH protocol, let alone the support of standard telnet protocol, came to be a nice feature. That's why we decided to use our PuTTY SSH client in order to access the router command line.

In order to access the device command line one must use the same log-on information as for the connection to the router web-interface. Firmware of the model under review is built on Linux 2.6.36.4 OS using Busy Box 1.17.4.

login as: admin
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..1.1's password:
ASUSWRT RT-AC3200_3.0.0.4 Tue Aug  4 03:51:56 UTC 2015
admin@RT-AC3200:/tmp/home/root# cd /
admin@RT-AC3200:/# uname -a
Linux RT-AC3200 2.6.36.4brcmarm #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Aug 4 12:09:58 CST 2015 armv7l GNU/Linux
admin@RT-AC3200:/# busybox
BusyBox v1.17.4 (2015-08-04 11:51:54 CST) multi-call binary.
Copyright (C) 1998-2009 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
 or: function [arguments]...
 BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
 utilities into a single executable.  Most people will create a
 link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
 will act like whatever it was invoked as.
Currently defined functions:
 [, [[, arp, ash, awk, basename, blkid, cat, chmod, chown, chpasswd,
 clear, cmp, cp, crond, cut, date, dd, df, dirname, dmesg, du, e2fsck,
 echo, egrep, env, ether-wake, expr, fdisk, fgrep, find, flock, free,
 fsck.ext2, fsck.ext3, fsck.minix, fsync, grep, gunzip, gzip, head,
 ifconfig, insmod, ionice, kill, killall, klogd, less, ln, logger,
 login, ls, lsmod, lsusb, md5sum, mdev, mkdir, mke2fs, mkfs.ext2,
 mkfs.ext3, mknod, mkswap, modprobe, more, mount, mv, netstat, nice,
 nohup, nslookup, pidof, ping, ping6, printf, ps, pwd, readlink, renice,
 rm, rmdir, rmmod, route, sed, setconsole, sh, sleep, sort, strings,
 swapoff, swapon, sync, syslogd, tail, tar, telnetd, test, top, touch,
 tr, traceroute, traceroute6, true, tune2fs, udhcpc, umount, uname,
 unzip, uptime, usleep, vconfig, vi, watch, wc, which, zcat, zcip
admin@RT-AC3200:/#

Let's see what processes are currently running using ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes.

admin@RT-AC3200:/# ps
 PID USER       VSZ STAT COMMAND
 1 admin     6076 S    /sbin/preinit
 2 admin        0 SW   [kthreadd]
 3 admin        0 SW   [ksoftirqd/0]
 4 admin        0 SW   [kworker/0:0]
 5 admin        0 SW   [kworker/u:0]
 6 admin        0 SW   [migration/0]
 7 admin        0 SW   [migration/1]
 9 admin        0 SW   [ksoftirqd/1]
 10 admin        0 SW<  [khelper]
 11 admin        0 SW   [kworker/u:1]
 52 admin        0 SW   [sync_supers]
 54 admin        0 SW   [bdi-default]
 55 admin        0 SW<  [kblockd]
 117 admin        0 SW   [kswapd0]
 164 admin        0 SW   [fsnotify_mark]
 172 admin        0 SW<  [crypto]
 244 admin        0 SW   [mtdblock0]
 249 admin        0 SW   [mtdblock1]
 254 admin        0 SW   [mtdblock2]
 259 admin        0 SW   [mtdblock3]
 282 admin        0 SW   [kworker/0:1]
 285 admin        0 SW   [mtdblock4]
 289 admin      664 S    hotplug2 --persistent --no-coldplug
 365 admin     6056 S    console
 367 admin     1504 S    /bin/sh
 372 admin        0 SWN  [jffs2_gcd_mtd4]
 444 admin        0 SW   [kworker/1:3]
 470 admin     6064 S    wpsaide
 477 admin     6064 S    ntp
 485 admin     1500 S    crond
 486 admin     1148 S    /usr/sbin/infosvr br0
 489 admin     6068 S    watchdog
 490 admin     6064 S    watchdog02
 491 admin     6064 S    sw_devled
 496 admin     6064 S    ots
 497 admin     1376 S    rstats
 505 admin     1192 S    lld2d br0
 507 admin     6064 S    disk_monitor
 508 admin     6064 S    bwdpi_check
 629 admin        0 SW   [khubd]
 732 admin     6064 S    usbled
 734 admin     1220 S    lpd
 874 admin        0 SW   [dhd_watchdog_th]
 878 admin        0 SW   [dhd_watchdog_th]
 882 admin        0 SW   [dhd_watchdog_th]
 900 admin        0 SW   [kworker/1:0]
 930 admin     6064 S    /sbin/wanduck
 933 nobody    1080 S    dnsmasq --log-async
 986 admin      860 S    miniupnpd -f /etc/upnp/config
 1004 admin     3988 S    /etc/openvpn/vpnserver1 --cd /etc/openvpn/server1 --
 1009 admin     4084 S    /etc/openvpn/vpnserver1 --cd /etc/openvpn/server1 --
 1010 admin     1176 S    /bin/eapd
 1012 admin     1816 S    nas
 1013 admin     1620 S    /bin/wps_monitor
 1015 admin     1296 S    /usr/sbin/acsd
 1016 admin     6564 S    httpd
 1017 admin     1656 S    networkmap
 1019 admin     2196 S    u2ec
 1028 admin     2196 S    u2ec
 1029 admin     2196 S    u2ec
 1036 admin     2300 S    nmbd -D -s /etc/smb.conf
 1037 admin     6364 S    /usr/sbin/smbd -D -s /etc/smb.conf
 1045 admin     6364 S    /usr/sbin/smbd -D -s /etc/smb.conf
 1046 admin     1792 S    mt-daapd -m
 1047 admin     1792 S    mt-daapd -m
 1048 admin     1792 S    mt-daapd -m
 1049 admin     2140 S    avahi-daemon: running [RT-AC3200-4BE0.local]
 1051 admin     1792 S    mt-daapd -m
 1053 admin     5752 S    minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1057 admin     5752 S    minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1058 admin     5752 S N  minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1066 admin     1488 S    /sbin/syslogd -m 0 -S -O /tmp/syslog.log -s 256 -l 6
 1068 admin     1488 S    /sbin/klogd -c 5
 1076 admin     1488 S    telnetd
 1077 admin     1020 S    dropbear -p 22 -a
 1116 admin     1072 S    dropbear -p 22 -a
 1117 admin     1508 S    -sh
 1123 admin     1492 R    ps
admin@RT-AC3200:/# top
Mem: 57784K used, 197816K free, 0K shrd, 500K buff, 8452K cached
CPU:  0.0% usr  4.5% sys  0.0% nic 95.4% idle  0.0% io  0.0% irq  0.0% sirq
Load average: 0.00 0.04 0.05 1/78 1124
 PID  PPID USER     STAT   VSZ %MEM CPU %CPU COMMAND
 1124  1117 admin    R     1496  0.5   1  4.5 top
 1016     1 admin    S     6564  2.5   0  0.0 httpd
 1037     1 admin    S     6364  2.4   1  0.0 /usr/sbin/smbd -D -s /etc/smb.conf
 1045  1037 admin    S     6364  2.4   1  0.0 /usr/sbin/smbd -D -s /etc/smb.conf
 1     0 admin    S     6076  2.3   1  0.0 /sbin/preinit
 489     1 admin    S     6068  2.3   1  0.0 watchdog
 732     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 usbled
 930     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   0  0.0 /sbin/wanduck
 477     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 ntp
 490     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 watchdog02
 508     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 bwdpi_check
 470     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 wpsaide
 496   489 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 ots
 491     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 sw_devled
 507     1 admin    S     6064  2.3   1  0.0 disk_monitor
 365     1 admin    S     6056  2.3   0  0.0 console
 1053     1 admin    S     5752  2.2   0  0.0 minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1058  1057 admin    S N   5752  2.2   1  0.0 minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1057  1053 admin    S     5752  2.2   0  0.0 minidlna -f /etc/minidlna.conf -R
 1009     1 admin    S     4084  1.6   1  0.0 /etc/openvpn/vpnserver1 --cd /etc/

Contents of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogs, as well as the output of sysinfo utility, are located in a separate file. For example, /sbin catalog features tcpcheck utility that lets the administrator find out whether a TCP port is open in a certain host.

admin@RT-AC3200:/# tcpcheck
usage:  tcpcheck <timeout> <host:port> [host:port]
admin@RT-AC3200:/# tcpcheck 5 192.168.1.1:23
192.168.1.1:23 is alive
admin@RT-AC3200:/# tcpcheck 5 192.168.1.2:80
192.168.1.2:80 failed
admin@RT-AC3200:/#

Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.

admin@RT-AC3200:/# cd /proc
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# ls
1              1076           486            bcm947xx       misc
10             1077           489            brcmnand       modules
1004           11             490            buddyinfo      mounts
1009           1116           491            bus            mtd
1010           1117           496            cmdline        net
1012           117            497            cpu            pagetypeinfo
1013           1215           5              cpuinfo        partitions
1015           164            505            crypto         scsi
1016           172            507            devices        self
1017           2              508            diskstats      slabinfo
1019           244            52             dmu            softirqs
1028           249            54             driver         stat
1029           254            55             emf            swaps
1036           259            6              execdomains    sys
1037           282            629            filesystems    sysrq-trigger
1045           285            7              fs             sysvipc
1046           289            732            interrupts     timer_list
1047           3              734            iomem          tty
1048           365            874            ioports        uptime
1049           367            878            irq            version
1051           372            882            kallsyms       vmallocinfo
1053           4              9              key-users      vmstat
1057           444            900            kmsg           zoneinfo
1058           470            930            loadavg
1066           477            933            locks
1068           485            986            meminfo
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# cat uptime
2568.92 5064.50
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# cat loadavg
0.00 0.01 0.05 1/78 1217
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# cat cpuinfo
Processor       : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)
processor       : 0
BogoMIPS        : 1998.84
processor       : 1
BogoMIPS        : 1998.84
Features        : swp half thumb fastmult edsp
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x3
CPU part        : 0xc09
CPU revision    : 0
Hardware        : Northstar Prototype
Revision        : 0000
Serial          : 0000000000000000
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# cat meminfo
MemTotal:         255600 kB
MemFree:          198072 kB
Buffers:             336 kB
Cached:             8000 kB
SwapCached:            0 kB
Active:            14576 kB
Inactive:           4272 kB
Active(anon):      11200 kB
Inactive(anon):      344 kB
Active(file):       3376 kB
Inactive(file):     3928 kB
Unevictable:           0 kB
Mlocked:               0 kB
SwapTotal:             0 kB
SwapFree:              0 kB
Dirty:                 0 kB
Writeback:             0 kB
AnonPages:         10512 kB
Mapped:             6556 kB
Shmem:              1032 kB
Slab:              29708 kB
SReclaimable:       1812 kB
SUnreclaim:        27896 kB
KernelStack:         624 kB
PageTables:          720 kB
NFS_Unstable:          0 kB
Bounce:                0 kB
WritebackTmp:          0 kB
CommitLimit:      127800 kB
Committed_AS:      25880 kB
VmallocTotal:     516096 kB
VmallocUsed:       30476 kB
VmallocChunk:     438140 kB
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# uptime
 03:43:12 up 43 min, load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.04
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc#

We can't help but mention nvram utility that allows changing certain important device operation parameters.

admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# nvram
usage: nvram [get name] [set name=value] [unset name] [show] [commit] [save] [restore] [erase][fb_save file] ...
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc# nvram show | grep admin
http_username=admin
size: 53278 bytes (12258 left)
http_passwd=admin
acc_list=admin>admin
acc_webdavproxy=admin>1
admin@RT-AC3200:/proc#

That's where we proceed to completion of the brief review of the command line interface capabilities and pass directly on to testing the device.

Testing

The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router boots in 92 seconds. We believe that this result is decent.

The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. The scanning has been carried out from the LAN direction. On the whole, there were 14 open ports discovered. The most interesting data are presented below.

Before getting down to performance tests we would like to get our readers familiar with the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 4790K 4 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
ASUS EA-AC87
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

 

At first we measured ASUS RT-AC3200 performance upon traffic routing as well as upon execution of NAT/PAT translations. The measurements in NAT/PAT test were carried out both with enabled and disabled hardware acceleration.

Router performance if using VPN connection to the service provider is important to many users based in Russia or in ex-Soviet bloc countries. That's why we measured routing speeds through a PPTP tunnel with encryption and without it. ASUS RT-AC3200 doesn't only have a built-in VPN client but can also perform as a VPN server. The list of supported protocols includes OpenVPN and we decided to show the device performance upon operation with this protocol on the diagram below, too.

Certain modern service providers already offer IPv6 connectivity. As a matter of course, we couldn't help but review the device performance upon routing of IPv6 traffic. The measurements were made for a native connection to the service provider without using any tunnels.

ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router is fitted with two USB ports: one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. We connected our test 750 Gbyte Transcend StoreJet 25M3 hard disk, which we successively formatted into three file systems, to the USB ports. It was formatted into NTFS, EXT2/3, and FAT32. We made two different measurements upon connection to the USB 3.0 port: with disabled and enabled Reduction of USB 3.0 noise feature located in Professional tab, Wireless menu item. Since frequencies used by USB 3.0 devices coincide with the one (2.4 GHz) used by wireless IEEE 802.11 devices, too little shielding of the cable or slots will make the process of data transfer via USB 3.0 have negative effect on the operation of the wireless network in the corresponding frequency range. Use the above-mentioned feature in order to minimize this effect.

In the near future we are going to change our 750 GByte test external HDD Transcend StoreJet 25M3 to a 256 GByte Transcend TS256GESD400K SSD. However, before we do so we decided to test the performance of both of them upon connection to our test PC directly as well as to ASUS RT-AC3200 router. The corresponding discrimination charts are presented below.

The received results make us believe that in the following reviews we will be able to see an increase in the data transfer speeds to an external data carrier not only due to the growth in performance of the equipment under review, but also due to the usage of a faster external data carrier.

Finally, it's time to show the measurement results of the data transmission speeds in the wireless segment. We decided to start with 2.4 GHz frequency range. ASUS PCE-AC68 NIC was used as a wireless client. The measurements were taken for two operation modes of the router: bandwidth chosen automatically (20 or 40 MHz) and manual choice of fixed bandwidth (40 MHz).

As one can see from the diagram above, wireless segment performance upon the fixed channel bandwidth of 40 MHz turned out to be higher. This can be explained by the presence of other wireless networks in the used frequency range, which made the router continuously decrease the channel bandwidth. We'd like to run ahead of the story a bit and mention that this effect was barely present in 5 GHz frequency range.

We used two different wireless clients for 5 GHz frequency:ASUS PCE-AC68 NIC and ASUS EA-AC87 access point and repeater, which we will review in one of our next articles. The measurements were made for the fixed bandwidth of 80 MHz and for the dynamically selected bandwidth of the wireless channel.

ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router is fitted with tri-band support. But what does it actually mean? The device operates in two standard frequency ranges: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, however in 5 GHz frequency range the router has two independent Wi-Fi modules. Availability of two modules in 5 GHz range lets clients get connected to them independently. We decided to test the speeds of wireless transfer of the user data when the clients get connected either to one radio or several radios. ASUS EA-AC87 NIC and a wireless NIC, which comes together with a motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS V EXTREME, were used as the wireless clients in this test. The above-mentioned NIC acted as 802.11N client. We didn't want to receive the highest possible speeds. However, we wanted to compare performance of the wireless network established by RT-AC3200 router that is operating in different modes. The diagram presented below shows the user data transfer speeds upon connection of only one 802.11N client, several clients to different frequency channels, several clients to the same frequency channels, and aggregate data transfer speeds for two clients upon operation of Smart Connect feature. Smart Connect feature lets intelligently distribute clients between the wireless modules of the router. One of our next articles will talk about this feature in more detail.

As one can see from the diagram above, performance of the wireless network upon using Smart Connect is similar to performance of the network in which the clients are distributed between the radios manually. Obviously, it's worth mentioning that manual client distribution is not an optimal solution since it doesn't consider the channel load dynamics. As of when the article was being written, we couldn't call Smart Connect function completely stable, but the vendor keeps continuously working on it.

That is where we bring the testing chapter of RT-AC3200 to a conclusion and pass on to summing it all up.

Conclusion

We are glad about ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router we tested. It showed excellent data transfer speeds both in the wired and wireless network segments. The model we have tested offers wireless speeds that no one could ever think of before, 3.2 Gbps, thanks to using three groups of frequency channels located in two frequency ranges: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The above-mentioned wireless speed is a theoretical value that can be achieved only by using at least three wireless clients at the same time. Enabling of Smart Connect feature lets one distribute the wireless clients between the radios of the router in the most optimal way, this way using the transmission media very efficiently. However, the high price of the device would probably make it something that only the telecommunications professionals and enthusiasts use.

The strength areas of ASUS RT-AC3200 wireless router are presented below.

  • Support of Tri-band technology
  • High traffic transmission speeds in the wireless segment
  • A powerful CPU
  • Advanced capabilities of QoS feature
  • Client network protection feature
  • Support of IPv6
  • Excellent IPv6 routing speeds
  • Availability of hardware acceleration of traffic upon carrying out of NAT/PAT translations
  • Support of two wireless frequency ranges
  • A built-in client and VPN server
  • Ability to create wireless guest networks
  • Good access speeds to the data which are stored on an external HDD

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention some of its drawbacks.

  • Relatively high price
  • The web-interface is not completely translated
  • Absence of the detailed description of newly added features in the user's manual

As of when this article was being written, the average price for ASUS RT-AC3200 in Moscow online shops was 19500 roubles.

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