Asus entered the market with their first MU-MIMO ready router in 2014, with the RT-AC87U.
More recently, in late 2015, they launched its successor – the RT-AC88U. Aimed more at the gamer, the 88U has a few extra features up its sleeve. These features include a Gaming VPN (using WTFast), which helps to keep your gaming traffic on the right path through the Internet and away from congested networks. Wifi with 1024-QAM modulation, and a more powerful processor to keep all these bits and pieces running along smoothly are among other features.
So, lets do a quick RT-AC87U vs RT-AC88U comparison.
The RT-AC88U AC3100 is aimed at the gamer
Features The 87U & 88U Have In Common
Both have Gigabit (theoretical) speeds over dual band. The 88U is an AC3100 router (2.1Gbps on 5GH, and 1Gbps on 2.4GHz). The 87U is an AC2400 (1.7Gbps on 5GHz ad a further 600Mbps on 2.4).
This technology (4×4) allows simultaneous MIMO connections (up to 4 clients at a time) between compatible wireless devices.
Like most other AC routers out there, there are two USB ports. A 3.0 port and an old skool 2.0.
The RT-AC87U AC2400 still holds its own
What’s The Difference Between The RT-AC87U & RT-AC88U?
As previously mentioned, the 88U is in particular marketed more towards the online gamer….oh and the streamer too.
So what exactly have Asus pumped into the 88U to make it more appealing?
The WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN) is a private VPN that your gaming traffic uses to play games. Why use it? Well, on the normal ‘Internet’ your ISP might not treat your gaming traffic with the care and dedication it needs.
WTFast routes gaming traffic efficiently and avoids congested networks to keep your latency down and help you enjoy a better gaming experience.
The 88U uses 1024-QAM modulation, branded ‘NitroQAM’ to increase wifi throughput speeds. The 87U uses 512-QAM modulation. 512-QAM is still pretty solid – and most other recently launched Wifi AC routers use it.
Port Bundling (Link Aggregation)
Link aggregation, or port bundling as it is also known, is by no means a new technology. It has been around for many years, used more for corporate hardware in businesses and/or data centers. The vast majority of home consumer routers don’t have this function.
It is a technology that allows for 2 links to be used for one device. This doubles throughput for that device, as well as having a redundant link.
Home consumers have more of a need for port bundling today, this has been brought along mainly because of the rise in popularity of NAS storage boxes, which often support this technology.
8 LAN Ports
Ok, so most home routers have 4 ports, including the 87U. Not the 88U! Asus have doubled the LAN port availability, partly because, when used, the port bundling feature sucks up extra ports.
The RT-AC88U has a 1.4GHz CPU, compared to the 87U’s 1GHz. Not surprising given that it’s a newer router with more features…
RT-AC88U vs 87U Prices
So basically, the 88U will set up you back an extra $50 or so (at time of writing). Most likely your choice will depend on your budget, and how much you want those extra features and ports! Otherwise, the 87U is still a great router…
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