Reviewing ASUS RT-AC67U: The most affordable AiMesh WiFi system!




Reviewing ASUS RT-AC67U: The most affordable AiMesh WiFi system!

ASUS RT-AC67U is a mesh WiFi system composed of two wireless routers. Their firmware was optimized so that they work as a mesh WiFi system while offering all the tools, configuration options, and benefits of a typical wireless router. All this at a price that is more competitive than the ASUS Lyra lineup of mesh WiFi systems. If we have stirred your curiosity, and you want to know what this kit has to offer, read our detailed review and performance comparison:

ASUS RT-AC67U: Who is it good for?

This whole-home WiFi system is a good choice for:
  • Secure smart homes with built-in anti-malware protection and intrusion prevention systems
  • Large apartments that require coverage on a large area
  • Users who want a mesh WiFi system without losing features like USB ports, Ethernet ports, and advanced firmware

Pros and cons

ASUS RT-AC67U has the following positives:
  • Advanced firmware with many customization options
  • Easy-to-use mobile app for remote management
  • Faster Ethernet connections than other mesh WiFi systems
  • Excellent antivirus protection and parental controls
  • It includes a 1-year license of Trend Micro antivirus for four devices
  • The 2-stations kit offers four USB ports
  • There are four Ethernet ports on each node in the mesh WiFi system
  • Great multilingual support and easily accessible Help documentation
There are some downsides too:
  • There are times when some network clients get randomly disconnected from the WiFi, for a few seconds
  • The firmware update process needs a bit of improvement so that it must not be handled individually for each node, but globally, for the whole system at once
  • A few configuration options in the firmware need their documentation updated
  • Restarts are slow
PRODUCT RATED
4/5

Verdict

ASUS RT-AC67U tries to combine the best of wireless routers with the best of mesh WiFi systems. It manages to succeed in most respects. You get the advanced firmware of a wireless router, combined with plenty of USB ports, many Ethernet ports, and a solid mobile app for remote management. Its performance is also on par with other mesh systems on the market. However, there are still a few quirks left to be ironed out in future firmware updates.

Unboxing the ASUS RT-AC67U AC1900 mesh WiFi system

The ASUS RT-AC67U AiMesh AC1900 Wi-Fi system comes in a large box that contains two wireless routers, each with their own accessories. As you can imagine, the box is larger than that of other mesh systems or wireless routers. On the top cover, you see a picture of the two devices that make up the kit, and a list of their most important characteristics. On the sides, you can find details about the hardware configuration of this mesh Wi-Fi system, and a description of what AiMesh is and does.
The packaging of the ASUS RT-AC67U
The packaging of the ASUS RT-AC67U
Inside the box, you find two identical white boxes, each containing a router, its accessories, and leaflets.
Unboxing ASUS RT-AC67U
Unboxing ASUS RT-AC67U
Each white box has the following items: one ASUS RT-AC67U wireless router, a CAT5 Ethernet cable, the power adapter, the warranty, the quick start guide, and a leaflet with an interesting offer from Trend Micro. For the whole year of 2019, ASUS and Trend Micro give you a 1 year-license of Trend Micro's antivirus product, that can be used on four devices. You can find information about how to redeem this offer, here.
ASUS RT-AC67U - what is inside the box
ASUS RT-AC67U - what is inside the box
The ASUS RT-AC67U AC1900 mesh WiFi system bundles everything you need to get started, including a useful offer for antivirus protection, from Trend Micro.

Hardware specifications and design

The ASUS RT-AC67U AiMesh wireless kit is made of two identical wireless routers, that are set up through their firmware to work as a mesh WiFi system. Unfortunately, the kit does not have a dedicated backhaul for connecting the nodes to each other, so they share the two wireless bands available both to communicate with network devices and with each other. ASUS is using a classical design for the two routers that make up the kit, similar to its lineup of affordable wireless routers. Each ASUS RT-AC67U has three external antennas, and it is powered by a dual-core Broadcom BCM4708 processor, running at 1 GHz. Each unit also has 256 MB of RAM, and 128 MB of storage space for the firmware.
ASUS RT-AC67U
ASUS RT-AC67U
ASUS RT-AC67U is an AC1900 wireless system, with a total theoretical maximum bandwidth split as follows: 600 Mbps for the 2.4 GHz band, and 1300 Mbps for the 5 GHz wireless band. It offers support for the 802.11ac Wave 2 (Wi-Fi 5) wireless standard and 3x3 MU-MIMO network transfers.
Each router in the kit has holes for mounting it on walls and other surfaces and plenty of ports: one USB 2.0 port on the back, and one USB 3.0 port on the front, the WAN port and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. On its back, you also see the Power button, the power jack, the WPS button, and the Reset button.
The back of the ASUS RT-AC67U
The back of the ASUS RT-AC67U
The USB 3.0 port on the front is easily accessible. Most probably it was placed there because there was no room left on the back. Each ASUS RT-AC67U has a size of 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.7 inches or 218 x 148 x 45 mm in width, depth, and height. It also weighs about 1.4 kg or 3 pounds.
The USB 3.0 port on the ASUS RT-AC67U
The USB 3.0 port on the ASUS RT-AC67U
If you would like to read all the official specifications of this product, go to this page: ASUS RT-AC67U (AC1900) Specifications.

Setting up and using the ASUS RT-AC67U AC1900

Setting up the AiMesh system made up of the two ASUS RT-AC67U nodes can be done both using a web browser and a mobile app. The process involves the usual steps: providing the details of your internet connection, setting up the name and password for the wireless network on the two bands available, and entering the username and password that you want to use for managing the kit.
During the initial setup, ASUS also checks for new firmware and recommends that users install it. Adding the second node takes a few clicks, and the firmware takes care of rolling out all the settings automatically.
Setting up the ASUS RT-AC67U mesh WiFi system
Setting up the ASUS RT-AC67U mesh WiFi system
After you are done with the initial setup, you can access the administration user interface, and configure how ASUS RT-AC67U works, in detail. With AiMesh, you configure the mesh system as if it were a wireless router and not two or more mesh WiFi devices. This is positive for advanced users who appreciate the complete control offered by ASUS's firmware.
The firmware on the ASUS RT-AC67U
The firmware on the ASUS RT-AC67U
While configuring our kit, we noticed two aspects that can be annoying to users:
  • The restart procedure takes about three minutes and changing some settings always require a restart.
  • The firmware updates are handled separately, for each device, and this can become a complex task for home users who do not have a lot of technical knowledge. ASUS should simplify the firmware updates for ASUS RT-AC67U, so that they are handled globally, for the entire mesh system, just like on their ASUS Lyra systems.
The user documentation is accessible and well built. One neat trick is to move the mouse cursor over a setting that you do not understand, and a question mark is shown. Click on the question mark, and you will see information explaining that setting. One downside is that the documentation has not been updated to include information about the newest features included by ASUS in their firmware. Therefore, for a few settings, this trick does not work.
ASUS RT-AC67U - Help tooltips
ASUS RT-AC67U - Help tooltips
The firmware is available in 25 languages, which is something that you do not see often on other mesh systems. ASUS has always stood out in this regard, offering excellent multi-lingual support in their firmware.
ASUS RT-AC67U - the languages for the firmware
ASUS RT-AC67U - the languages for the firmware
If you want to control your wireless network from your smartphone or tablet, including when you are not at home, you can use the ASUS router app. This app offers many advanced customization options, including the ability to check on your children' devices, and set up rules for parental controls. The remote network diagnostics can be useful too when your family has problems with their WiFi, and you are not at home to help.
The ASUS router mobile app
The ASUS router mobile app
We connected about twenty devices to the network managed by ASUS RT-AC67U, including two desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, several smartphones, one wireless printer, two smart plugs, one smart bulb, and an Xbox One console. Then, we started sharing data and making transfers. In the week that we tested this kit, everything worked smoothly on some days, while on other days, once every few hours, we noticed brief disconnects from the wireless network, for some of the devices on the network. Those disconnects were random, lasted only a few seconds, and affected only a minority of our devices. This looks like a bug that can be fixed through firmware updates.
We also measured how data is transferred through the wireless network managed by ASUS RT-AC67U. Below you see a transfer on the 5 GHz wireless band, in the same room with the main hub. As you can see for yourself, the transfer was fast and stable.
ASUS RT-AC67U - A wireless network transfer on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - A wireless network transfer on the 5 GHz band
We repeated the same measurement in a room separated by two walls from the main hub, and by one wall from the second hub. This time, we noticed the brief and sudden drops mentioned earlier.
ASUS RT-AC67U - A wireless network transfer on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - A wireless network transfer on the 5 GHz band
If you want to know more about the real-world performance offered by ASUS RT-AC67U, including comparisons with competing mesh WiFi systems, go to the next page of this review.

Wireless network performance

First, let's take a look at the apartment that was used in our testing and how it is set up. You can see that the central ASUS RT-AC67U hub is placed in the living room. When using wireless routers, the signal strength is not that high in rooms like the Kitchen and the Medium balcony. To improve the coverage of the network, we placed the second hub in the hallway, close to the entrance to the Kitchen, to cover most of the apartment, as well as possible.
The apartment where we tested ASUS RT-AC67U
The apartment where we tested ASUS RT-AC67U
Our testing was done using a fast 1 Gigabit Internet connection that is capable of uploads on the internet of up to 500 Mbps. We used an HP Spectre 13 laptop and a Lenovo Yoga Book for our measurements and several software tools.
We decided to compare the ASUS RT-AC67U with two competing mesh systems: TP-Link Deco M5 v2 and Linksys Velop WHW01 AC1300. Both of them are kits with two stations, just like the ASUS RT-AC67U.
We started by evaluating the 2.4 GHz wireless network and measured the signal strength offered in each room, using a tool named NetSpot Pro. You can see the evolution from room to room, in the graphic below.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The signal strength on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The signal strength on the 2.4 GHz band
We used SpeedTest to measure how fast the internet connection is when using 2.4 GHz band. ASUS RT-AC67U offered the fastest downloads in some rooms, while in others it was outperformed by its competition.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed in SpeedTest, on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed in SpeedTest, on the 2.4 GHz band
The same was true when measuring the upload speed with SpeedTest.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed in SpeedTest, on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed in SpeedTest, on the 2.4 GHz band
Continuing our measurements on the 2.4 GHz wireless network, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network. Again, ASUS RT-AC67U offered the fastest downloads in some rooms, while in others it was outperformed by its competition.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed on WiFi, on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed on WiFi, on the 2.4 GHz band
When we measured the upload speed, we noticed a similar story.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed on WiFi, on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed on WiFi, on the 2.4 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U is capable of offering fast Wi-Fi on the 2.4 GHz band, without being the fastest mesh WiFi system. It has some tough competition that outperforms it in some measurements.
We then analyzed the performance of the 5GHz wireless band. We looked at the evolution of the signal strength, from room to room. ASUS RT-AC67U delivered solid signal strength in all the rooms of our apartment.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The signal strength on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The signal strength on the 5 GHz band
To see how fast the internet connection is when using the 5GHz band, we used SpeedTest. To view the maximum potential of this mesh WiFi system, we used a PCI-Express network card with support for 4x4 MU-MIMO. When we used this network card, we obtained a maximum speed of 470.49 Mbps for the download and 346.96 Mbps for the upload.
ASUS RT-AC67U - maximum speed in SpeedTest
ASUS RT-AC67U - maximum speed in SpeedTest
To get back to earth, and everyday devices people use, we took our laptops and measured the download speed with SpeedTest, in every room of our test apartment. In most rooms, ASUS RT-AC67U offered the fastest downloads, while in others it was outperformed by its competitors.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed in SpeedTest, on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed in SpeedTest, on the 5 GHz band
When we measured the upload speed, ASUS RT-AC67U had the lead in a slightly bigger number of rooms.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed in SpeedTest, on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed in SpeedTest, on the 5 GHz band
For the last measurements on the 5GHz wireless network, we used the PassMark Performance test to transfer data between two computers connected to the network. ASUS RT-AC67U offered fast downloads, but it was often times outperformed by the systems we compared it to.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed on WiFi, on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The download speed on WiFi, on the 5 GHz band
When we measured the upload speed, ASUS RT-AC67U had very good performance on the 5 GHz band.
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed on WiFi, on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U - The upload speed on WiFi, on the 5 GHz band
ASUS RT-AC67U is capable of offering fast Wi-Fi on the 5 GHz band, without being the fastest mesh WiFi system in all measurements. It has some tough competition that sometimes outperforms it.

Wired network performance

To test the quality of the wired Ethernet connection, we used a desktop PC equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor, running at 3.20GHz, 16GB of RAM, a fast Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD, and a Lenovo IdeaCentre 610s mini PC.
We measured the speed of the internet connection with a 1 Gbps Ethernet cable, using SpeedTest. ASUS RT-AC67U is faster than other mesh WiFi systems, due to the fact that it is composed of wireless routers.
ASUS RT-AC67U - SpeedTest on Ethernet connections
ASUS RT-AC67U - SpeedTest on Ethernet connections
Then, we ran a network transfer between the two computers, using the PassMark Performance test. Both of them were connected to the main hub in the ASUS RT-AC67U mesh. Other mesh WiFi systems have only two Ethernet ports, and one of them is used for connecting the mesh to the internet. Therefore, Ethernet transfers between nodes always go through Wi-Fi, not cable. As you can see below, ASUS RT-AC67U shows that, if you need Ethernet connections, it is better to go for the AiMesh approach, instead of traditional mesh systems.
ASUS RT-AC67U - network transfers on Ethernet connections
ASUS RT-AC67U - network transfers on Ethernet connections
ASUS RT-AC67U offers more Ethernet ports than most mesh systems. If you need to connect multiple clients through Ethernet cables, ASUS RT-AC67U gives you faster transfers and a better user experience.

USB performance

We connected a portable SSD drive to the USB 3.0 port on the main ASUS RT-AC67U hub. Then we ran a few transfers from a desktop computer to this drive and back. We measured a speed of 415.85 Mbps for the download and 354.2 Mbps for the upload.
ASUS RT-AC67U - the speed of the USB 3.0 port
ASUS RT-AC67U - the speed of the USB 3.0 port
If you use the ASUS RT-AC67U mesh Wi-Fi system, you get four USB ports: two USB 2.0, and another two USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 ports are reasonably fast but do not compare with what offered by other high-end wireless routers from ASUS and other brands. However, most mesh WiFi systems do not include a USB port, so ASUS RT-AC67U has the upper hand in this regard.

Extra features

Security is a significant feature of ASUS RT-AC67U, and it is all provided by the AiProtection module that includes:
  • A comprehensive Router Security Assessmenttool which verifies whether your router's settings are secure. When it finds problems, it proactively informs you and takes you where you need to fix things.
  • Malicious Sites Blocking - an efficient cloud-based module that blocks malicious websites on all the devices that are connected to your network.
  • Two-Way IPS - an improved two-way intrusion prevention system that protects all your network from spam, DDoS attacks, network attacks and more. Additionally, it also scans the packets that are sent from your network to the internet.
  • Infected Device Prevention and Blocking - if your network devices get infected, and they become zombies in malware networks, they are automatically blocked by your router, and you are informed about this problem so that you can fix things.
  • Parental Controls - some of the best you will find on wireless routers, with cloud-based filters for internet content, that do not need manual maintenance based on user-created block lists. You can also use them to schedule how much time your child's devices are allowed online every day.
The ASUS RT-AC67U AiMesh AC1900 Wi-Fi system also includes many other features that you may find useful:
ASUS RT-AC67U - Adaptive QoS
ASUS RT-AC67U - Adaptive QoS
  • Guest Network - you can enable up to three wireless networks for each band, with individual security and access settings.
  • Adaptive QoS - an intelligent QoS (Quality of Service) tool that you can use to analyze and prioritize network traffic efficiently.
  • Traffic Analyzer - offers visual traffic statistics which give you a clear picture of how your network is used and by which devices.
  • USB Applications - apps that are designed to work with all kinds of devices that you can connect to the router using USB: external hard disks, printers, and 3G or 4G dongles or modems.
  • AiCloud 2.0 - a mobile app that keeps you connected to your data wherever and whenever you have an internet connection. With it, you can access the folders shared in your home network from your Android or iOS smartphone or via a personalized URL
  • IPv6 - modern support for IPv6 addresses that are replacing IPv4.
  • VPN - you can set the router to work as a VPN server, and you can also use it to turn your network-connected devices into VPN-enabled clients, without additional VPN software required.
  • Network Tools - for analyzing the network and identifying what's wrong. They are useful when you need to troubleshoot problems.
  • Dual WAN - excellent for both small businesses and professionals who require always-on Internet connections. You can also use a dual WAN to improve the quality of your internet connection and get the best possible performance.
  • DDNS - a service that allows you to connect to the mesh system from the internet, even if your internet provider gives you a dynamic public IP address.
  • Integration with Amazon's Alexa and IFTT (If This, Then That) - a service that automates tasks that might otherwise be repetitive or unable to talk to each other. With the help of these services, you can do things like "Alexa, ask ASUS ROUTER to upgrade the firmware" or get an email when your child gets home and connects his or her smartphone to the home WiFi.
The ASUS RT-AC67U mesh Wi-Fi system has many premium features and tools that are going to be useful to its users. Some of them are aimed at families, others at professionals, and many of them are useful to any user who wants security in their smart home.

What is your opinion of the ASUS RT-AC67U?

Now you know our opinion about the ASUS RT-AC67U AiMesh AC1900 WiFi system. Before closing this review tell us what you think about this kit. Do you find its features useful? Would you consider buying it? Comment below and let's discuss.


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