Monday, September 4th 2017

ASUS Announces the 802.11ax-enabled RT-AX88U Wi-Fi Router

At IFA 2017, ASUS introduced a number of new products, from laptops to routers. One of the more interesting announcements made by the company was the RT-AX88U Wi-Fi router, which packs technology that is actually ahead of its time. The 802.11ax specification is expected to be finalized and publicly released only by 2019, but as with previous improvements to the 802.11 protocol, products supporting the standard are already hitting the shelves. remember that support for unfinished specifications is always subject to change, but if you're looking to purchase a new router and want to be as future-proof as possible, it doesn't get much better than this.

The next-generation RT-AX88U 802.11ax Wi-Fi supports unprecedented combined speeds of up to 5952 Mbps - 1148 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4804 Mbps on the 5GHz band, with 4x4 MIMO in both bands. Only three companies - Quantenna, Qualcomm and Broadcom have 802.11ax-enabled silicon as of the end of August 2017; ASUS elected to use Broadcom's solutions. New technologies for the 802.11ax include OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, which should enable better spectral efficiency in convoluted network conditions) and MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO). Thanks to this, the 802.11ax technology provides 4x faster throughput than 802.11ac technology on connected devices in dense environments, while also increasing network capacity and efficiency. This means the ASUS RT-AX88U supports more simultaneous data transfers than 802.11ac MU-MIMO routers, allowing more devices to have faster network access at the same time without waiting for each other - perfect for homes with a growing number of smart, connected devices. RT-AX88U uses TWT technology to reduce unnecessary communications to 802.11ax devices, reducing power consumption and improving device battery life. Pricing wasn't announced at time of writing.
Sources: ETeknix, Network World, Computerbase.de
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17 Comments on ASUS Announces the 802.11ax-enabled RT-AX88U Wi-Fi Router

#1
Nuckles56
What, no mention of RGB lighting, what is the world coming to?
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#2
dirtyferret
No mention of of the fact there are no AX clients out there other then other AX routers, most people in the states suffer with ISPs providing 25mbps to their customers (if that), throughout drops like a rock in real world scenarios once you put a wall and some furniture between the client and router, range hasn't improved one but since N routers, and most people's issues such as streaming Netflix is an upstream issue not their router. The last two take up the majority of complaining on router message boards like SNB.
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#3
bug
Nuckles56 said:
What, no mention of RGB lighting, what is the world coming to?
No need for RGB lights per se, the advertised transfer speeds are the RGB lighting of the wireless world. Have been for a while.
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#4
TheLostSwede
Supposedly it'll have 10Gbps Ethernet as well, but this is as yet unconfirmed.

dirtyferret said:
No mention of of the fact there are no AX clients out there other then other AX routers, most people in the states suffer with ISPs providing 25mbps to their customers (if that), throughout drops like a rock in real world scenarios once you put a wall and some furniture between the client and router, range hasn't improved one but since N routers, and most people's issues such as streaming Netflix is an upstream issue not their router. The last two take up the majority of complaining on router message boards like SNB.
Not everyone lives in the backwards internet country of the US... Sorry, but some of us get decent internet, although I'm still dreaming of Gigabit speed, which is readily available in many neighbouring nations...

As for clients, that's generally always the case with new networking technology. Expect clients to be announced in six to nine months time.
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#5
RejZoR
dirtyferret said:
No mention of of the fact there are no AX clients out there other then other AX routers, most people in the states suffer with ISPs providing 25mbps to their customers (if that), throughout drops like a rock in real world scenarios once you put a wall and some furniture between the client and router, range hasn't improved one but since N routers, and most people's issues such as streaming Netflix is an upstream issue not their router. The last two take up the majority of complaining on router message boards like SNB.
Or the fact that AC and anything past that has like a range of 5 meters, zero walls. Put anything in between and it becomes like 2 meters. It's horrible. I only have RT-AC87 because it has excellent G and somewhat N coverage and awesome QoS subsystem. I can hardly get a reliable 5GHz connection just 1 floor above a router. It's pathetic. People don't realize how little range these new standards have. These are literally meant to have a router in your living room and only things connecting to it are actually in the same room.
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#6
TheLostSwede
RejZoR said:
Or the fact that AC and anything past that has like a range of 5 meters, zero walls. Put anything in between and it becomes like 2 meters. It's horrible. I only have RT-AC87 because it has excellent G and somewhat N coverage and awesome QoS subsystem. I can hardly get a reliable 5GHz connection just 1 floor above a router. It's pathetic. People don't realize how little range these new standards have. These are literally meant to have a router in your living room and only things connecting to it are actually in the same room.
Odd, my Netgear R7800 is doing a decent job on 5GHz, although as I live in a three story home (very few rooms on each floor). That said, it's too much metal in the concrete floors, so I have an extender on each floor above and below, but I can nearly max out my 200Mbps internet connection even when connected to one of the two range extenders.

Yes, 5GHz doesn't have the range of 2.4GHz, that's for sure, but it seems to vary hugely between routers, as the two I use as range extenders are not nearly as good as the R7800 on either band. However, 802.11ax is not shifting to a new frequency, it'll continue to use 2.4 and 5GHz, but apparently the Broadcom implementation doesn't support 2.4GHz which sucks, as this is where we might see some interesting performance improvements once the 802.11ax standard is ratified.

I would advice against buying these early "draft" 802.11ax products though, as the 802.11ax spec isn't supposed to be ratified until 2019, so there's a lot of work to be done still. Considering what a mess 802.11ac is, it looks like we're in for another bumpy ride unless the Wi-Fi Alliance can pull their shit together and force people to adhere to the spec for a change.
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#7
LogitechFan
Early adopters are welcome! Also I don't like this yellow/gold theme tendency again, kinda worried about Z370/390 now -- it seems asus is back to it's "golden teeth" mentality which was very apparent during the Z87 era

Posted on Reply
#8
Divide Overflow
TheLostSwede said:
802.11ax is not shifting to a new frequency, it'll continue to use 2.4 and 5GHz, but apparently the Broadcom implementation doesn't support 2.4GHz which sucks, as this is where we might see some interesting performance improvements once the 802.11ax standard is ratified.
Huh?
Raevenlord said:
ASUS elected to use Broadcom's solutions.

The next-generation RT-AX88U 802.11ax Wi-Fi supports unprecedented combined speeds of up to 5952 Mbps - 1148 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4804 Mbps on the 5GHz band, with 4x4 MIMO in both bands.
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#9
Prima.Vera
Unfortunately not even the latest phones support this 802.11ax standard, not to mention that I cannot find anywhere a PCIE Wi-Fi card with this standard. Ready to purchase I mean.
Posted on Reply
#10
TheLostSwede
Divide Overflow said:
Huh?
The 2.4GHz band just uses another proprietary Broadcom TurboQAM tech to boost the speed. It won't work unless your device supports it, i.e. unless your device has a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip in it.

Maybe read up on the tech first?
Posted on Reply
#11
bug
Chill guys. Availability is no different than 802.11ac in its first days or 802.11n before it. We gotta start somewhere.
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#12
Xajel
Prima.Vera said:
Unfortunately not even the latest phones support this 802.11ax standard, not to mention that I cannot find anywhere a PCIE Wi-Fi card with this standard. Ready to purchase I mean.
Read the article again, they said the specification isn't finalized yet, it's expected to be finalized in 2019, so this router is just the first coming from the draft specification.

I still remember both N and AC spec. started like this, few draft spec. routers/AP's before the spec. was finalized.
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#13
Prima.Vera
Xajel said:
Read the article again, they said the specification isn't finalized yet, it's expected to be finalized in 2019, so this router is just the first coming from the draft specification.

I still remember both N and AC spec. started like this, few draft spec. routers/AP's before the spec. was finalized.
Then why the hell in the world anyone would buy this if they cannot use it for another 2 years?!?!? Fking mind blow!
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#14
bug
Prima.Vera said:
Then why the hell in the world anyone would buy this if they cannot use it for another 2 years?!?!? Fking mind blow!
You could have a few of these enable a fast local network in a larger building, for example. Use cases exists even if we can't imagine them ;)
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#15
Xajel
Prima.Vera said:
Then why the hell in the world anyone would buy this if they cannot use it for another 2 years?!?!? Fking mind blow!
There's peoples who need these stuff, As I said before in the early days of N and AC, there was tens of routers/access points with these standards in draft revision before they finalise it. later when the spec where finalised, some early drafts were incompatible with the final spec. making these not fully compatible with the final spec. not having the full features set.
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#16
dirtyferret
TheLostSwede said:
Supposedly it'll have 10Gbps Ethernet as well, but this is as yet unconfirmed.



Not everyone lives in the backwards internet country of the US... Sorry, but some of us get decent internet, although I'm still dreaming of Gigabit speed, which is readily available in many neighbouring nations...

As for clients, that's generally always the case with new networking technology. Expect clients to be announced in six to nine months time.
Our ISP do provide crappy speeds and charge us the most in the world. Your 200 mbps down is 8x faster then most people have in the States, I have 60 mbps down. The thing with clients is, most are still just 1200 AC years after AC has been released. Fact is a multi AP & hardwired internet set up will outperform AX for practically all users including you from reading your posts on your multi AP set up.

I also have three floors and use my old N600 router as an AP for the upstairs bedrooms. It delivers my full 60 mbps while my AC router covers the first floor and basement office.
Posted on Reply
#17
TheLostSwede
dirtyferret said:
Our ISP do provide crappy speeds and charge us the most in the world. Your 200 mbps down is 8x faster then most people have in the States, I have 60 mbps down. The thing with clients is, most are still just 1200 AC years after AC has been released. Fact is a multi AP & hardwired internet set up will outperform AX for practically all users including you from reading your posts on your multi AP set up.

I also have three floors and use my old N600 router as an AP for the upstairs bedrooms. It delivers my full 60 mbps while my AC router covers the first floor and basement office.
Oh, sure, wired is vastly superior, no question about it. Sadly I wasn't involved when this house was built and there are no drawings/blueprints, so I don't know how the cable ducts run. I've tried to pull cables, but the cable ducts don't seem to go anywhere in some cases and the rest don't end up where I need them to, so I'm screwed in that sense.

And yes, your ISPs are not particularly nice at all. In fact, you have some of the worst and most expensive internet access in the developed world. I suffer every time I go to the US, especially cheaper hotels are horrible.

The thing is, don't expect anything more than 2x2 AC1200 clients, at least not for a few more years until there's a process shrink or two in the manufacturing tech used to make the power amplifiers and Wi-Fi chips. Why? Because they produce too much heat today, so it's not possible to cram these things into smartphones and tablets, although it might work in notebooks. Then again, Intel and the industry in general seems to want to move to M.2 1216 modules which are soldered onto the PCB, which limits what can be put on there.

That said, MU-MIMO helps more devices get better Wi-Fi performance, as long as all your Wi-Fi devices that are actively using the network supports MU-MIMO, but that's highly unlikely... 802.11ax should further help improve things, but again, support for 802.11ax is needed first...
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