At CES 2022, Netgear launched its latest RAXE300 Wi-Fi 6E router, which is a more affordable version of last years RAXE500. Asus, on the other hand, have gone the other way, launching what has to be the highest specced consumer-focussed router on the market.
The new Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is a quad-band Wi-Fi 6E router that utilises two 5Ghz bands, plugs a single 2.4Ghz and 6Ghz band.
What is the point of quad-band Wi-Fi 6E?
They are not the first company to implement quad-band technologies. Netgear launched the RBKE960 Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System last year, for which you can pre-order for an astronomical £1500 for the three-pack system.
The Netgear gives you some insight into what's the point of a quad-band system. With Wi-Fi 6e, if you want the best performance possible, you will want three bands, one for each frequency fully available to the client. Then the spare 5Ghz band can be used for a mesh backhaul channel.
Asus have featured AiMesh on their routers for a long time now, so I would assume that the 5Ghz band will then be used when pairing up with other Asus routers for a mesh system.
As well as having four bands, each band has a 4×4 radio, most home users won't benefit from this, but if you have a lot of people using Wi-Fi at once, this can help maintain throughout speeds. It will also be beneficial for the backhaul channel as that will connect using all 4 streams at 4804Mbps.
Multiple multi-gig Ethernet ports
One of my big gripes with all these fancy Wi-Fi 6 routers is the limited availability of Ethernet ports that go beyond gigabit.
You will frequently get just one port which is often designated to the WAN port.
Not with ASUS. They have that single 2.5GbE WAN port, which is faster than any Fibre product currently available in the UK, nor are there many international providers going beyond 2.5Gbps.
You then have two 10Gbps ports, giving you the opportunity for a proper multi-gig network.
Asus will even let you configure any or all, ports to work as WAN, providing extensive load-balancing and failover support.
With potentially massive Wi-Fi throughput, you also need a processor that can cope with it. The Asus uses a 2.0 GHz quad-core 64-bit CPU with 1GB of RAM and 256MB Flash.
Like most Asus Rog routers, you have extensive features available to you, including AiProtection Pro and Instant Guard. Game Boost adaptive quality-of-service makes it easy to prioritise gaming traffic with the click of a toggle. And integrated gamer VPN tech connects the GT-AXE16000 to gaming servers over optimised routes for less lag.
Asus Rog Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro
Asus also announced a lower-spec GT-AX11000 Pro. This is almost identical to the older GT-AX11000 but you now get dual 10Gbps LAN ports and a faster CPU and 1GB DDR4 SDRAM instead of DDR3.
Price and Availability
Asus expects the ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 to release first, in Q1 2022, for $649, while the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro is planned for the second quarter priced at $399.
No word on UK availability
The original GT-AX11000 launched for $449 on Amazon.com and is currently £389.99 on Amazon UK.