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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Built for 4K streaming
Optimal for gaming
Complicated user interface
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a big and bold tri-band Wi-Fi router that’s built specifically for gamers and technologically savvy buyers, but even the average user can appreciate its performance power.
If you’re ready to level up your home router game, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is one of the most robust and capable options out there. It’s an 802.11ac router that delivers support for everything a super-user could want—including VR, gaming, and 4K streaming, AiMesh, and top-notch security monitoring.
We spent some time with this powerful router and used it the way the average user might, paying special attention to aspects including speed, performance, customization options, and user-friendliness.
The manufacturer describes the GT-AC5300 as “battle-ready” for gaming, and it sure looks the part. If you want a router that’s slim and can blend into the background, this probably won’t be the ideal candidate.
The main body is a large square-like block that measures at 10 x 10 x 2.6 inches (HWD). It’s sturdy and quite heavy, weighing 4.41 pounds. Add the eight antennas to the body and this extends the size even further, creating an aesthetic that’s reminiscent of a spider. That’s reinforced by the web-like vents sprawling on the face of the router.
Depending on your tastes, this might be a selling point and an incentive for displaying this router loud and proud in your home. But it could also be a slight detractor, as this router will definitely require a healthy amount of breathing room. Since it’s built for larger dwellings, city-dwellers may want to consider whether they can accommodate this hefty piece of equipment.
Setting up this Asus router was relatively straightforward. After unboxing it, we easily and quickly placed all the antennas in their designated spots. Then we turned to the quick-start guide, which clearly laid out the installation instructions for preparing the modem, connecting the router, and customizing settings and credentials through the web interface.
We did run into a WAN disconnected error after following these steps and had no internet connection the first time around. This didn’t seem to be the result of a faulty network cable, but after some troubleshooting, ultimately resetting the router to the factory defaults, rebooting the modem, and following the instructions helped resolve the issue.
Once we jumped that initial hurdle, we were connected to our 150Mbps Xfinity service and good to go in about five minutes.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a tri-band router, which means it supports three broadcast signals. In the case of this router, that means you’ll enjoy the 2.4GHz standard along with 5GHz signals modern dual-band routers support, and you’ll also receive another 5GHz frequency. And because it’s built using the most up-to-date 802.11ac standards, also known as Wi-Fi 5, you can expect faster speeds than older routers that use the earlier 802.11n wireless standard.
You essentially have a dedicated gaming Wi-Fi router combined with the bandwidth you want to support other activities like streaming 4K content.
The intention is that you’ll assign one of those 5GHz frequencies for gaming and the other two signals can be used for all the other devices you use. This is where the GT-AC5300 stands out from other routers. You essentially have a dedicated gaming Wi-Fi router combined with the bandwidth you want to support other activities like streaming 4K content.
As for speed, this router falls into the AC5300 router class. This means the combined maximum potential Wi-Fi speed for all three frequencies is 5300Mbps. That breaks down as up to 1000 for the 2.4GHz band and 2175Mbps for the 5GHz bands. You’ll typically see tri-band routers in the AC3200 class, which means a theoretical bandwidth speed of up to 3200Mbps. While the GT-AC5300 is at the top of the totem pole when it comes to AC Wi-Fi router speed capability, it’s important to remember that this is merely an example of the possible performance output and not a guarantee.
Right out of the gate we performed a speed test using the Ookla SpeedTest tool. Using both the web browser and the mobile app over different periods over several days, the fastest speed we were consistently able to capture was a download speed of 127Mbps, which nearly tops out our ISP’s max speed of 150Mbps. Someone with a much faster service plan is likely to see a higher result than we managed.
Still, numbers aside, the difference was noticeable when going about routine activities on multiple devices in the home. We immediately noticed enhanced quality when streaming HD Netflix content and crisp 4K images. We also appreciated a near complete absence of any kind of lag or loading times we were used to seeing with the older dual-band router we had been using.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a tri-band router that’s packed with features gamers and power users will love.
Even when we streamed 4K video on one TV, played a game on an NVIDIA gaming console from a second television, and streamed content from two iPhones, two Mac computers, and an Android tablet, there was never a blip in performance or speed. That could be because of the 4X4 MU-MIMO technology at work. MU-MIMO—which stands for multiple user, multiple input, multiple output—can serve up bandwidth to multiple devices at a time over four different channels. This eliminates the wait time or potential lags associated with older single-user MIMO routers that could only handle requests from one device at a time. Instead of having to wait your turn, this router can easily respond to data requests in multiple directions and multiple devices with no discernible disruption.
The caveat is that our home is a modestly sized city condo of about 1,100 square feet. We were impressed by the power in the space we have and find it easy to believe the claim that this router is built for very large homes. As a bonus, it can be set up with other Asus AiMesh routers to create a formidable whole-home Wi-Fi system.
The Asus web GUI that accompanies the GT-AC5300 is relatively easy to navigate, but it does contain a lot of possibilities for personalization and custom settings. It has the look of a gaming interface, which could definitely be a perk or point of appeal for gaming customers. For the average user, however, the web interface may feel endless in terms of options and decisions.
You’ll notice right away that the gaming-specific features are highlighted. There’s a gaming-specific dashboard that lays tools like setting up a gamer profile, Game Radar to locate the fastest servers, a gaming private network for heightened security and capturing the best connections, and what’s known as Game Boost, which can boost performance speed for optimal gaming. You can also set up a VPN to run alongside your gaming activities without any lags or interruptions.
If you have an exceptionally fast internet service plan and the technical know-how, you will find this router to be worth every penny.
And while this router comes with built-in protection against threats through the AiProtection system provided by TrendMicro, there is a whole slew of additional controls for security, networking, and server configuration that only the most advanced users will appreciate or use to their full potential. The more mainstream features most users will seek are easy to find from the web portal and the mobile app—like guest Wi-Fi settings and parental controls that allow parents to set time limits for use as well as block access to websites and apps.
While we chose to complete setup through the web interface, we did connect to the router through the Asus mobile app after installation. We found the app much more visually appealing and intuitive than the web app, but for the power users out there, the web GUI will probably be the preferred method for administering changes or monitoring performance or security.
The GT-AC5300 is not a bargain buy. The MSRP is $500, which makes this router a hefty investment. It’s possible to find a tri-band gaming router for much less, like the Jetstream AC3000, which retails for about $100, but you won’t get the benefit of the potential bandwidth speeds the GT-AC5300 boasts, and you also won’t be able to set parental or other security controls. Another option, the Asus RT-AC86U retails for about $300 less and comes with some gaming-enhancing tools that are suited for online gaming fans. But you’ll miss out on access to eight LAN ports, hefty theoretical bandwidth, and the same level of advanced feature control that the GT-AC5300 offers.
Some may be wary of the price, especially if complex networking or high-level gaming are not in your wheelhouse or interests. Still, if you have an exceptionally fast internet service plan and the technical know-how, you will find this router to be worth every penny.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is not completely on its own when it comes to competition. The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 is another tri-band Wi-Fi router that presents many of the same bells and whistles. Both retail for the same hefty price of $500, are similar in weight and dimensions (though the XR700 is slightly wider), and come equipped with three USB ports.
But there are a few differences as well. The XR700 can also support the 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, which comes with the potential of faster wireless performance. Netgear rates this router with the potential speed of up to 7133Mbps. Unlike the GT-AC5300, the XR700 comes with only four antennas and six LAN ports, and the three Wi-Fi bands include a 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz frequencies. This breaks down to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency, 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band, and 6000Mbps on the 60GHz spectrum.
Assuming you’re looking at both routers from the lens of supporting gaming activities, your decision may come down to the way you manage gaming-specific controls. The GT-AC5300 boasts an attractive assortment of traffic, security, and gaming personalization tools from a ROG-inspired (Republic of Gamers) dashboard, but the XR700 may be a more compelling buy if prefer the DumaOS interface.
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A powerful gaming router.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is a tri-band router that’s packed with features gamers and power users will love. Even the average user can appreciate the speed and power this router brings to a home network, but the range of options and interacting with the web interface could be daunting for those who don’t want to dive in too deep when setting up a home router.