For those who live their life by the “these go to eleven” philosophy, Asus has a high-end router for you. The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 ($450) includes nearly every feature you could reasonably ask for, then and adds in even more features for, as Nigel Tufnel would say "...that extra push over the cliff." If you're after a router that gives you lots of software tweaks and gaming-friendly options to prioritize your gaming traffic, it's a solid choice. But don't buy it for performance alone, because despite all those antennae, we've seen similar speeds on routers that cost much less—some of them from Asus' own product stack.
If you're after an unobtrusive router that can sit inconspicuously on a shelf, this is the polar opposite. The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a horizontal router with no less than eight antennas deployed circumferentially around its chunky, square body, two to each side. Even its 3.8-pound weight will preclude it from some shelves, and it is quite visually loud. Adorned with orange accents, it would look more at home on the spaceship set of an Avengers sequel than in most living rooms, so plan your placement accordingly. To complete the look, the ROG logo in the center of the router is lit by Aura RGB, which thankfully can be turned off for those times when, for some reason, you don't want to draw attention to the large techno-crab-looking beast at the heart of your wireless world.
|Processor||1.8GHz quad-core processor|
|Memory||256MB NAND flash and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM|
|Ports||RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 4, Multi-Gig Ethernet port 2.5G/1G x1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 x 2|
|Encryption||Open system, WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise|
|2.4GHz x3, 5GHz-1 x3, 5GHz2 x3|
|Dimensions||11.3 x 4.74 x 14.86 inches|
The specs for the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 are undoubtedly impressive. At the heart is a quad-core 1.8 GHz CPU, with access to 256MB of NAND and 1GB of DDR3 SDRAM. The connections include a WAN port, along with four 1 GB Ethernet ports, and a 2.5 GB Ethernet port. If we want to nitpick, that does leave a total of five Ethernet ports, aside from the WAN, and we would have liked to have seen a few more. There are also a pair of USB 3.1 ports for adding networked storage. Physical buttons are as follows:
- WPS Button
- Reset Button
- Power Button
- Wireless on/off Button
- Boost Key
Wireless specs here also aim to impress, with the ability to send out three simultaneous signals, better known as tri-band, that supports the Wi-Fi 6 standard (also designated as 802.11ax). For the older 2.4 GHz frequency that is up to 1148Mbps, and for the 5 GHz, each frequency is up to 4804Mbps. Peak theoretical throughput is achieved via use of 160 MHz-wide data lanes, and OFDMA with Beamforming.
Setup of the GT-AX11000 starts with manually screwing in the eight antennas for the router. After attaching and plugging in the requisite wires, we next fired up our computer’s browser and followed the prompts for initial setup, including setting a wireless password.
A glitch we initially encountered was that the shipping firmware on the router out of the box was not able to be updated, even when we purposefully triggered an update. We just got a message that the router could not connect with the server. Thankfully, the workaround to manually search for and download the firmware code from the Asus website and then manually upload it to the router was successful. After that, the router could then connect to the Asus server automatically for further updates.
The GT-AX11000 has bucketloads of features, and is sure to cover the needs of just about every reasonable use case for a gaming router. This includes integrated VPN, the ability to work with other Asus routers to create a mesh network, and a traffic analyzer.
Focusing on the gaming features, the GT-AX11000 starts with tri-band frequencies, with the recommendation of Asus to designate one of the two 5 GHz bands only for gaming to avoid congestion altogether.
Then there is Triple Level Acceleration, with prioritization of the Gaming Port; Game First V which is client-side traffic shaping; Game Boost, Asus' name for gaming priority adaptive Quality of Service; and WTFast, a gamer’s private network. Yes, that’s four, and perhaps should be renamed Quadruple Level Acceleration.
Finally, there is Game Radar, which can measure ping times to various servers of different worldwide locations. In the above screenshot, we are looking at latency to several Overwatch servers to choose the best one to minimize lag.
The GT-AX11000 has integrated security from Trend Micro, which supplies AiProtection Pro to the router for full network protection. Various functions are provided, which include a router security assessment to locate vulnerabilities and blocking of infected devices.
Using our Netperf software for throughput testing showed some solid results between this Asus GT-AX11000 router and our Wi-Fi 6 client. The near test gets run at 8 feet away with a direct line of sight, and far is 36 feet away on a different floor with ductwork intervening. This also demonstrates the significantly faster speeds on the 5 GHz frequency.
|2.4 GHz near||2.4 GHz far||5 GHz near||5 GHz far|
Using our Netperf software for throughput testing showed some solid results between this Asus GT-AX11000 router, and the Wi-Fi 6 client. The near test gets run at 8 feet away with a direct line of sight, and far is 36 feet away on a different floor with ductwork intervening. It also demonstrates the significantly faster speeds on the 5 GHz frequency.
|Testing Configuration||QoS||FRAPS avg||min||max||8K dropped frames||Pingplotter spikes|
|Ethernet + 10 8k videos||No||110.549||96||137||38.54%||1|
|Ethernet + 10 8k videos||adaptive, gaming priority||106.933||94||137||35.80%||1|
|Ethernet, 2.5G port||No||110.883||95||137||n/a||0|
|Ethernet, 2.5G port, 10 8k videos||No||24.283||9||41||62.20%||10|
|Ethernet, 2.5G port, 10 8k videos||adaptive, gaming priority||101.717||56||133||13.40%||6|
|5 GHz + 10 8k videos||No||109.067||92||134||57.90%||0|
|5 GHz + 10 8k videos||adaptive, gaming priority||111.467||97||138||3.30%||1|
|2.4 GHz + 10 8k videos||adaptive, game priority||109.7||94||127||27.80%||4|
Next, we look at the network congestion testing of the GT-AX11000. It’s not that the results were not plenty solid—they were—but rather that the bar was set so high in our minds for such a top-end gaming router.
For example, the 5 GHz gaming test with the ten 8k videos playing and QoS set to adaptive/game priority shows us how well that staggering amount of network congestion is handled. Our Overwatch game played at 111.467 FPS, a rate that closely matches the same game on a wired connection, yet the dropped frame rate on our 8k video was low at 3.3%, much lower than the 35.8% rate that was seen when the same test was run on Ethernet.
The tests run on the 2.5G Ethernet port show no improvement compared to the 1G Ethernet. Given that our test laptop (an Asus G512LW-WS74) doesn't have a 2.5GbE port, that's not exactly surprising. But oddly, the 2.5G test with the ten 8k video streams had the highest of the dropped frames on the video with QoS disabled at a sky-high 62.2%, worse than the 1G Ethernet port. The reasons for this aren't entirely clear, but could be some combination of hardware and software issues with the 2.5Gb port. Without a faster 2.5Gb device to test with, it's hard to say. But if your laptop or desktop doesn't have a 2.5Gb Ethernet port, the safe bet is to stick with one of the 1GbE port alternatives.
We also found that compared to the Asus RT-AX82U midrange router (which costs more than $200 less than its big brother) the scores are pretty similar, making it hard to justify the price difference, at least from performance alone.
At a list price of $449, the Asus GT-AX11000 is clearly priced for the high-end market. The problem whenever you compare the top end of any product, such as a CPU, GPU or this router, is that you often bump up against the law of diminishing returns, with the price increasing substantially at the top end, while the features and performance are only a little better than the lower products beneath it. When analyzed from a pure value proposition, it is hard to argue in favor of the Asus GT-AX11000. But for those who want every possible bell and whistle in their wireless setup, then this Asus option makes a case for its crab-like self.
Overall, while the Asus GT-AX11000 doesn't offer the best bang for the buck, it does still provide a solid piece of gear for those that can afford this higher price point. The pros include the integrated gaming features such as WTFast, adaptive QoS, and Game Radar. We also appreciate the included security to protect the network. Some shortcomings are the automatic firmware upgrade issue we encountered, the benchmark results in our testing that did not significantly best Asus’ own midrange alternative and only five Ethernet ports. But for those who like its looks, and who want their router to go to eleven, this Asus GT-AX11000 is a feature-packed, aggressive-looking option.
Just note the one cutting-edge feature this model lacks is 6E Wi-Fi, which makes use of the newly uncluttered 6GHz spectrum. For that, you'll need to pay $100 or so more, at least on the Asus side, and opt for the ROG Rapture GT-AXE1100. You may have to wait a bit to find that model in stock, however, as availability when we wrote this was pretty spotty, not unlike some of the best graphics cards or best CPUs.