Review and testing of the ASUS RT-AX86S Wi-Fi 6 wireless router


The ASUS RT-AX86U wireless router with support for high-speed Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5G Ethernet standards has been in the ASUSTek range for a long time. This device visited our test lab at the end of 2020 and left an extremely positive impression thanks to the wide expansion possibilities and powerful hardware that provided excellent performance indicators. It would seem that this is the perfect home wireless router, but potential buyers may be put off by the high cost of this product. In this regard, the appearance of the RT-AX86S model in the ASUS product line will be very appropriate for those users who would like to purchase a fast and functional Wi-Fi router, but at the same time save a little.


From the original version, the novelty inherited the high-speed characteristics of wireless connection and many advantages, but received a number of simplifications, which allowed to achieve a price reduction as a result. How justified this approach can be – we will learn from today’s review, and now you can get acquainted with the technical characteristics of the ASUS RT-AX86S.

Product page ASUS RT-AX86S
Modes of operation Wireless Router, Access Point, Media Bridge, Repeater, AiMesh Node
WAN connection Dynamic IP address, static IP address, PPPoE (with MPPE support), PPTP, L2TP, USB 3G/4G
Network standards IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, IPv4, IPv6
Data transfer speed 802.11a: 6; 9; 12; 18; 24; 36; 48; 54 Mbps
802.11b: 1; 2; 5.5; 11 Mbps
802.11g: 6; 9; 12; 18; 24; 36; 48; 54 Mbps
802.11n: 450 Mbps (up to 750 Mbps for 1024QAM devices)
802.11ac: 3466 Mbps (up to 4333 Mbps for 1024QAM devices)
802.11ax (2.4 GHz): up to 861 Mbps
802.11ax (5 GHz): up to 4804 Mbps
Antennas External, 3 pcs., internal, 1 pc
Operating frequency range 1 x 2.4GHz, 1 x 5GHz
Band width 20/40 MHz (2.4 GHz band)
20/40/80/160 MHz (5GHz band)
MIMO technology 3 x 3 (2.4 GHz band), 4 x 4 (5 GHz band)
Encryption WPA/WPA2/WPA3-PSK, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise
Firewall and access control Firewall: SPI intrusion detection, DoS protection
Access control: Parental control, Network service filter, URL filter, Port filter
VPN server L2TP/ PPTP/IPSec Pass-Through, PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec
VPN client PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN
System functions UPnP, IGMP v1/v2/v3, DNS Proxy, DHCP, NTP client, DDNS, Port Trigger, Port Forwarding, DMZ, System Event Log
Processor 1800 MHz, 2 cores, ARMv8 architecture
Memory RAM: DDR3 512MB, Flash: 256MB
The ports 1 x RJ45 10/100/1000 BaseT для WAN, 4 x RJ45 10/100/1000 BaseT для LAN, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A, 1 x USB 2.0 Type A
Buttons Power, Reset, WPS, LED on/off
Additional functions Link Aggregation IEEE802.3ad, MU-MIMO, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro, Parental Control, NAT Pass-Through, Mac OS Backup, Enhanced media server (AiPlayer app compatible), AiCloud personal cloud service, Print Server, 3G/4G data sharing, Download Master, AiDisk file server, Dual WAN, IPTV support, Roaming Assist, OFDMA, Beamforming, NVIDIA GeForce Now Cloud Gaming Optimization, WAN Aggregation
LED indicators 1 x WPS, 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN, 1x USB, 1 x Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, 1 x Wi-Fi 5 GHz, 1 x Power
Power supply unit, W 45 (external)
Dimensions (LxWxH), mm 242 x 100 x 164 (325*)
Mass, Mr 737
Cost 7739 hryvnias

* — height including antennas

Supply set

The box in which the RT-AX86S comes stands out for its solid dimensions, but does not come with a carrying handle. The design of the packaging can be called standard for ASUS wireless routers: the device itself is depicted on a steel-gray background, the model name is given, and the AX5700 speed class is indicated. In addition, a number of logos of key features such as compatibility with Wi-Fi 6, the use of a single-crystal system with a clock frequency of 1800 MHz, support for proprietary AiMesh technology to increase the coverage area, Mobile Gaming Mode and AiProtection Pro cyber protection complex are applied to the front surface of the package. The undoubted advantage of the product is the warranty period of 36 months.


The back of the box details some features of the ASUS RT-AX86S, among which it should be noted the ability to work with two Internet providers in load balancing mode, which allows you to achieve a bandwidth of up to 2000 Mbit/s, as well as the aggregation mode of IEEE802.11ad connection ports local network clients at a speed of 2 Gbit/s.


The set is standard for this class of devices, it consists of:

  • three removable Wi-Fi antennas;
  • network adapter AcBel ADH011;
  • power cable with CEE 7/4 plug;
  • patch cord Cat5E with RJ-45 connectors about 1 meter long;
  • a set of paper documentation consisting of a quick setup guide, instructions for using the ASUS Router mobile application and a warranty card.


The power supply unit produces 45 W at a voltage of 19.5 V and a current of 2.31 A. It is intended for operation in alternating current networks with a frequency of 50/60 Hz and a voltage of 100 to 240 V.


Speaking about the design of the novelty, one cannot fail to note its complete identity with the ASUS RT-AX86U in terms of shape and dimensions, which are 242x100x164 (325 including antennas) mm, while the weight is slightly different: the ASUS RT-AX86S weighs 0.73 kg against 0 .81 kg in the older model. The device is equipped with three SMA connectors for installing Wi-Fi antennas, the antennas themselves, about 16 cm long, have hinges that allow you to tilt them at an angle of 90° from the vertical. The body is made of matte black plastic, in the upper part of the front panel there is a large ventilation grill, in the center of which is inscribed the golden logo of the manufacturer.


Closer to the base is a series of LED indicators that signal the operation of the WPS function for quick connection of wireless clients, the status of the four LAN ports and the connection with the Internet service provider, the activity of the USB ports and Wi-Fi networks in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands , as well as the availability of electricity.


The LEDs emit a bright white light, but the indication can be quickly deactivated by pressing the corresponding LED on/off key, which is located on the right side of the case. The WPS — Wi-Fi Protected Setup — activation button was symmetrically located on the left.


The back panel of the ASUS RT-AX86S is dotted with ventilation holes, and in its lower part there is a socket for connecting a network adapter, a power button and a Reset button for resetting the firmware settings. To the right of them are two USB ports of versions 2.0 and 3.2 Gen1, respectively, as well as five RJ-45 network sockets, of which one is intended for connecting to an Internet provider, and four are used for connecting local network clients, and the first of of them is labeled as Gaming Port — it provides higher priority for gaming traffic. All ports work in 10/100/1000 BaseT mode, and this is the first difference between the new product and the ASUS RT-AX86U, which boasts an additional 2.5G Ethernet port. The second difference is in the configuration of the USB connectors: in the RT-AX86S, one of the connectors functions in USB2.0 mode, while in the older model both ports support USB 3.2 Gen1 devices.


In the lower part of the device, you can see ventilation grills with slats of red color, characteristic of ASUS products of the Republic of Gamers series, which clearly hints at the positioning of the new product as a solution for fans of computer games. The device rests on the surface with two longitudinal protrusions of the case, which are glued with porous rubber for better adhesion to smooth surfaces. The design of the housing does not allow for wall mounting, this fact should be taken into account when placing the RT-AX86S.


As for the hardware, the ASUS RT-AX86S is based on the Broadcom BCM4906 SoC, which is complemented by 512 MB of DDR3 RAM and 256 MB of NAND flash for storing the control microcode. The single-crystal system is manufactured using a 28-nm process, and includes two ARMv8-A computing cores operating at a frequency of 1800 MHz. In addition, the SoC includes a controller for two USB ports and a five-channel Gigabit Ethernet switch. So, in terms of platform, the subject of today’s review differs from the ASUS RT-AX86U, which uses a quad-core Broadcom BCM4908 system-on-chip and 1024 MB of ROM, but is largely similar to the ASUS RT-AX68U, which has a similar SoC and configuration of storage devices. Instead, in terms of the radio node, the RT-AX86S is a complete analogue of the older model: the Broadcom BCM6710 chip with IEEE802.11b/g/n/ax support and MIMO 3T3R configuration is responsible for the 2.4 GHz band, which allows for a transmission speed of up to 861 Mbit/s. The Broadcom BCM43684 chip is used for the operation of wireless networks at a frequency of 5 GHz, the use of which ensures the operation of Wi-Fi 6 in MIMO 4T4R mode, which, together with a channel width of 160 MHz, gives a throughput of up to 4804 Mbit/s. As can be seen from the specifications of the ASUS RT-AX86S, it has everything necessary for high-performance work and, not least, is equipped with an effective cooling system, which allowed to keep the temperature of the single-crystal system within 65-70 °C. On the other hand, the router showed a moderate level of power consumption: from 8 W at no load to 12.5 W at maximum load, so a fairly economical platform also contributed to low heating.


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