If you are in the market shopping for a Wi-Fi router for the home or office, you may find yourself dithering between two of the industry’s best products: the Asus EA-AC87 or the Netgear AC3200-Nighthawk X6. To provide a definitive solution to the dilemma, I set about testing both routers in a home network and these are the insights:
The Asus EA-AC87
The Asus EA-AC87 is a dual-band wireless router which, if set just right, can deliver stupendously fast speeds on your local network. It is the first dual-band router of its kind to come with four antennas, all which can transmit data simultaneously. To get the most of the router, you may have to pair it with another RT-AC87U to act as a bridge.
On the 5Ghz frequency band, the RT-AC87U can deliver a maximum physical link rate of 1734 megabits per second on four spatial streams (802.11ac mode). Configured on the 2.4GHz frequency though, the wireless router has a maximum link rate of 600 megabits per second. Most other routers can only transmit at 450 megabits per second on the 2.4GHz frequency. The Asus EA-AC87 router manages the feat by the unique capability of supporting 256QAM client adapters.
What Makes the The Asus EA-AC87 Special?
The Asus EA-AC87 is an industry first; at the moment there is no other 4×4 wireless router in the market and is as such blindingly fast as well as versatile. At the heart of the router is an altogether new Quantenna 4×4 MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) chipset. This essentially means the router can deliver faster throughput and even more improved coverage range, especially on the 5GHz frequency band.
Netgear’s AC3200-Nighthawk X6
Up until now, the best wireless routers have come with dual-band capacity: the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. Netgear has turned this state of affairs right on its head by offering the world’s first and, as of yet, only tri-band wireless router: the AC3200-Nighthawk X6. The router has the usual 2.4Ghz band on top of two functional 5Ghz bands. It is a timely design which suits the current state of affairs in both home and office networks: the need to manage and link up multiple devices sharing a common network resource.
The AC3200-Nighthawk X6 is the first truly functional router meant for managing the Internet of Things (IoT). The Nighthawk X6 manages to do this seamlessly by configuring its two 5GHz frequency bands on different channels so that your network does not suffer performance wise with addition of more gadgets.
What Makes the AC3200-Nighthawk X6 Special?
With a single glance at the Nighthawk X6 you will notice that it is a different sort of animal, literally. With its six spindly antennas, it resembles an upside down robotic insect. It is also bigger and much heavier than your run-of-the-mill wireless router (weighs 2.5 pounds). I was immediately impressed by just how easy and intuitive it is to set up and integrate it in your network. But in the final analysis, the greatest value of this router is its ability to optimize performance on multiple devices on a single network without sacrificing the least bit of performance.
Between Asus EA-AC87 and netgear AC3200-Nighthawk X6, which is best?
There is no straightforward answer to this. It all depends on what you want. If raw speed is your biggest preference, the Asus EA-AC87 makes an excellent choice but you have to pair it with a similar router configured as a bridge in order to get the best out of it. On the other hand, if your interest is to add as many devices as possible to your network without suffering crippling latencies, the AC3200-Nighthawk X6 by Netgear offers the best alternative.