Fri. Apr 19th, 2024


Wi-Fi 7 has officially arrived, but there still aren’t many routers that can take full advantage of the wireless standard. ASUS revealed its new RT-BE88U router today, combining Wi-Fi 7 with cellular tethering, a local VPN, and other advanced features.



ASUS announced the RT-BE88U router today, which the company claims is “the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 router that offers up to 34 Gbps of combined wired network capacity.” That includes a 10 Gbps LAN/WAN port, a 10 Gbps LAN / WAN SFP+ connector, and four 2.5 Gbps ports, with speeds of up to 7200 Mbps over Wi-Fi 7. You probably won’t reach those speeds in real-life conditions with home walls and furniture in the way, but that’s still a lot of capacity and futureproofing.

Wi-Fi 7 can use 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequency bands to reduce network congestion, and features like Extremely High Throughput (EHT) and multi-link operation can boost speeds on supported devices. The RT-BE88U and other Wi-Fi 7 routers are fully forwards and backwards compatible—you’ll get all the advantages with devices that support Wi-Fi 7 (like the Galaxy S24 Ultra), but you can still connect older devices and use whatever features are available.


Black wireless router with four antennas.
ASUS

Even though Wi-FI 7 is the main selling point, there’s a lot more functionality packed into this router. The 10 Gbps LAN ports are ideal for NAS drives and local media servers, and there’s support for multiple wireless networks (you could have a main and guest network, for example). You can also connect a phone to the router’s USB 3.0 port and enable tethering to keep your entire home connected—that’s not the same as a dedicated cell backup (T-Mobile recently announced a similar service), but it can still be useful. ASUS included a VPN server too, so you can remote into your local network using the WireGuard protocol, and you have the option of adding ASUS AiMesh units to improve coverage.


ASUS made a point to highlight its “subscription-free” security features and site-to-site VPN in the press release. That’s probably a subtle dig at Eero routers, which have an optional Eero Plus subscription service that unlocks more features.

The ASUS RT-BE88U router looks fantastic, but it will almost certainly be incredibly expensive. There aren’t many Wi-Fi 7 routers, and all the current options are pricey—the one-pack Eero Max 7 is $600, for example. ASUS has not yet confirmed exact pricing or availability information.

Source: ASUS



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By John P.

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