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Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 802.11ac router review

Gordon Kelly




  • Recommended by TR

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Asus RT-AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC68U 2
  • AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC68U setup
  • Asus RT-AC68U AiCloud
  • Asus RT-AC68U wireless ac
  • Asus RT-AC68U 5GHz
  • Asus RT-AC68U 2.4GHz
  • Asus RT-AC68U USB
  • ac 2


Our Score:



  • Benchmark wireless performance
  • Class leading USB speeds
  • Intuitive CD-less setup
  • Remote media streaming
  • Very well built


  • No Cloud-based access to settings
  • Aggressive look may alienate some
  • Inevitable price premium

Key Features

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
  • Dual core 800MHz CPU, 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • WPA/WPA2 and WPS security
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: £189.99

What is the Asus RT-AC68U?

This is Asus’ second 802.11ac router and follows the hugely successful RT-AC66U - the fastest wireless ac router we have tested, until now. Asus isn’t sitting on its laurels though, as the AC68U upgrades almost every aspect of its predecessor and there is a new design, chipset, upgraded processing power and the addition of a USB 3.0 port. To say our expectations are high would be an understatement.

Asus RT-AC68U: Design

The AC66U was the most aggressively styled router on the market, but it has now given up this dubious honour to the AC68U. At 220 x 160 x 83mm (310 x 160 x 83mm including removable antennas) the dimensions are only fractionally larger, but its 685g weight is nearly 200g heavier which hints at all the new hardware squeezed inside.

Despite this the most obvious difference between the two is their form factor. Whereas the AC66U lay flat with an optional vertical stand, Asus has now clearly decided the latter is the way to go and the AC68U only sits upright. This makes it highly noticeable in any room, but it does take up less space thanks to its reduced footprint.

Aside from this Asus has largely preserved the external appearance of its RT-AC series with the same tasteful textured finish that repels fingerprints and dust in equal measure. It is also very well-built with Tonka-toy durability and a thick rubber non-slip base which combine to make a router which is second only to the oh-so-stylish but oh-so-disappointing 2013 Apple AirPort Express.

Asus RT-AC68U 2

Asus RT-AC68U: Features

While there are a number of external differences between the AC68U and the AC66U they are nothing compared to the alterations inside.

The big news is the 'AC1900' reference in its rather verbose official title. No wireless ac router has managed to boast combined theoretical speeds of above 1750 megabit (comprised of 1300Mb/s wireless ac, plus 450Mb/s wireless n) but the AC68U achieves a supposed 1900 megabit thanks to a boost in its wireless n speeds to a theoretical 600Mbit. Yes theoretical bandwidths have little to do with reality, but we'll take every bump we can get.

What causes the increase is a new chip, the Broadcom BCM4709, and its proprietary 'TurboQAM' technology. Interestingly TurboQAM primarily benefits the ageing 802.11n 2.4GHz band rather than 5GHz. TurboQAM compatible wireless adaptors (slowly rolling out onto the market) will benefit most, but it is said to aid all 802.11n 2.4GHz devices which is crucial for a band which is now looking long in the tooth.

Equally vital is AC68U's greatly bolstered horsepower. It is the first router we know to feature a dual core processor (Arm Cortex A9 clocked at 800MHz) and carries a healthy 256MB of DDR3 RAM. This should help the router boot faster and better cache and buffer data under heavy loads. Vitally it should also help USB connected storage rates finally increase... and coincidentally the AC68U is the first Asus router to upgrade one of its two USB 2.0 ports to USB 3.0.

Asus RT-AC68U AiCloud

Elsewhere the AC68 ticks all the right boxes: amplified 3x3 antenna array, 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports, WPA/WPA2/WPS security, parental controls and DLNA and IPv6 support. Asus also plies the AC68U with the mass of additional functionality seen on the AC66U, including an integrated media server, VPN and 'AiCloud' - the company's smart cloud service which allows users to access their network content remotely via a web browser or dedicated smartphone apps.

Lastly a welcome but simple touch is the addition of a physical LED on/off button. Given the AC68U has flashing blue LEDs for four Ethernet ports, Internet status, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connections, 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless activity and power it is very welcome once you're happily setup.


September 18, 2013, 12:59 pm

When will this become available. Any insights here??

Gordon Kelly

September 18, 2013, 2:31 pm

I'm told it will be at the start of October, but that some units may slip out to retailers before then.

Waqar Zia

September 19, 2013, 10:20 am

I'm curious as to why USB-attached HDD performs way slower than a NAS; does this means that the router's USB interface hardware is the culprit, and is it the case also with other routers?


September 19, 2013, 2:21 pm

No cloud based config/setup? For anyone that actually cares about their network security, that's a huge plus.


September 19, 2013, 5:41 pm

No cloud is actually a plus!


September 19, 2013, 8:43 pm

I take it this doesn't wall mount like the AC66U does. I'd like to upgrade but need it to wall mount.


September 19, 2013, 10:38 pm

is it bcm4709 or bcm4708?

I read somewhere else it is bcm4708

Gavin Martin

September 20, 2013, 9:43 am

My crappy sky-issue Netgear seems to have died overnight and needs immediate replacement....would I be disappointed with the AC66u since the AC68 isn't available yet? Thinking of making a long term purchase here....or is the Linksys 6700 a better bet?

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 9:50 am

No it doesn't. That is a downside of the design change.

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 9:50 am

Depends on your perspective and needs. Despite its controversial launch I've found Linksys' Smart WiFi to be incredibly useful.

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 9:51 am

See above.

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 9:52 am

There are numerous factors, but a lack of horsepower for properly caching the more resource intensive USB and powering the external drives themselves is certainly a factor. The former is clearly improving with the AC68U though and that can be seen from these speed results

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 9:53 am

Given you speak of a long term investment I'd wait the extra few weeks required. The AC66U is also a superb router, but when its successor just so close to market I think you'll that'll always grate should you buy the AC66U now.

Gavin Martin

September 20, 2013, 9:55 am

I've also realised - I'd need a separate DSL modem. So no snap decisions for today, I'm stuck using my HTC One Wifi Hotspot for now! It's been a few years since I bought any networking stuff so need to do my research! On another note I looked at what PC World are stocking and they don't seem to have any up to date routers - no wonder retail struggles when they can't stock new tech!

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 10:23 am

4709, as mentioned in the review ;)

Gordon Kelly

September 20, 2013, 10:24 am

You could say the same about networks and iPhone stock...!

But you're right to do your research. The Linksys EA6900 should be one to watch, but I recognise some dislike its Smart WiFi Cloud platform.


September 20, 2013, 11:24 am

This is my next router.


September 22, 2013, 5:57 am

Is WIRED performance any faster than on the Asus RT-N66U?

Jüri Pranstibel

September 22, 2013, 10:34 am

Is it wall-mountable?


September 23, 2013, 2:58 am


Did ASUS put a small fan in this one? The AC66U runs pretty hot and standing it up may help but a fan would really help.

Gordon Kelly

September 23, 2013, 10:39 pm

Nope. That is a downside

Gordon Kelly

September 23, 2013, 10:40 pm

No faster over wired - we're at the limits of Gigabit Ethernet rather than the limits of the routers.

There's no fan and the 68U runs fine, though I also had no problems with the 66U running hot.


September 23, 2013, 11:34 pm

How did you get your review unit so early? I don't see any other reviews yet, good job!


September 24, 2013, 2:42 am

The figure of 47.2 MBps (377.6 Mbps) is impressive in one sense, but on the other hand is only 29% of the maximum theoretical rate for 3x3 11ac (1300 Mbps).
Normally we would expect around 70% efficiency - so do you have any idea why this is so low?
At 2m the SNR should be high enough to support the maximum MCS, but maybe the line-of-sight MIMO channel can't support 3 spatial streams? Did you check the bit rate reported by the client (in Status)?


September 24, 2013, 9:24 pm

Hi, Will it support 3g dongle as internet source - once of the selling points of ac66u was this features.

Thanks, great review BTW

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