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Wireless Reviews

Features

The RT-AC5300 runs ASUSWRT OS and includes the Game Boost section that includes the new WTFast feature. I covered this in the RT-AC88U review, so won't repeat myself.

Since this is basically an RT-AC88U with a second 5 GHz radio, the wireless professional settings are also the same. So I again refer you to the AC88U's review for the details.

One thing the AC5300 has that the AC88U doesn't is SmartConnect. So here's what the default settings look like in the Network Tools > Smart Connect Rule screen.

RT-AC5300 Smart Connect Rule

RT-AC5300 Smart Connect Rule

The Smart Connect rules have evolved from those in the 3.0.0.4.378_4129 RT-AC3200 firmware version I reviewed.

RT-AC3200 Smart Connect Rule

RT-AC3200 Smart Connect Rule

If you look closely, you can see changes in the RSSI levels, PHY Rate and Target Band settings. The latest SmartConnect firmware also adds a VHT selector to the Interface Select and Qualify Procedures section.

SmartConnect remains a neat idea that may or may not work for you. If it doesn't work, it's not all SmartConnect's fault; some devices just don't like being told which band to connect to and resist efforts to steer them.

Another thing the AC5300 doesn't have is support for wireless bridging. If you want a 4x4 ASUS router on the other end of a wireless bridge with the AC5300, you'll need to use an RT-AC3100 or RT-AC88U.

Like the AC88U, the AC5300 supports link aggregation on LAN ports 1 and 2.

RT-AC5300 switch control

RT-AC5300 switch control

 

Storage Performance

The Router Charts graphs below show the top end of the storage benchmark write and read charts using our standard procedure with USB 3.0 connections and NTFS drive format. I disabled the Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting in the 2.4 GHz Wireless Professional settings tab and also disabled iTunes, DLNA and FTP servers before running the tests.

There is obviously something wrong with the RT-AC5300's USB 3.0 connection, given it yielded only 31 MB/s write and 34 MB/s read. But I got the same result on multiple attempts, so there is likely something at the driver level that needs tweaking. If you check the other benchmarks, you'll see similar throughput.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured using our standard router test process with the router loaded with 3.0.0.4.380_838 firmware. Table 2 summarizes the results and includes the NETGEAR R8500 and RT-AC88U for comparison. All three routers have similar performance as you would expect from such similar hardware platforms.

Test Description ASUS RT-AC5300 ASUS RT-AC88U NETGEAR R8500
WAN-LAN (Mbps) 751 802 761
LAN-WAN (Mbps) 795 791 809
Total Simultaneous (Mbps) 1362 1406 1546
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 36,468 35,938 38,424
Firmware Version 3.0.0.4.380_838 3.0.0.4.380_858 V1.0.0.56_1.0.28
Table 2: Comparative routing performance

For the unidirectional tests, the IxChariot chart below is typical of what we see with other current-generation routers. Uplink throughput is slightly higher than downlink.

ASUS RT-AC5300 routing throughput unidirectional summary

ASUS RT-AC5300 routing throughput unidirectional summary

The start of the simultaneous bidirectional test shows the usual IxChariot quirk.

ASUS RT-AC5300 routing throughput bidirectional summary

ASUS RT-AC5300 routing throughput bidirectional summary

The drop in WAN > LAN throughput within the one minute test period for both the AC5300 and AC88U is certainly interesting. Note LAN > WAN (uplink) is unaffected in both cases.

ASUS RT-AC88U routing throughput bidirectional summary

ASUS RT-AC88U routing throughput bidirectional summary

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