I was recently on the market for a router that would help resolve the lag that I was experiencing when streaming music. Watching movies was a non-starter. I often had to allow it to buffer before getting through a video. Indeed there had to be something better out there.
This is what led me to try the ASUS AC1200.
It is described by the manufacturer as a Super-fast concurrent dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi at up to 1167 Mbps. That certainly sounds like what I was looking for. It also helps that it is manufactured by a brand that I am familiar with. This article will share my experience with this router and provide you with a guide of what to expect if you were to get yours.
Who Should Use This Product?
This router is for those that are looking to improve the performance of their home network. It is also ideal for increasing the number of devices that can be simultaneously connected to the network without compromising speed.
I wanted to be able to get an adequate level of performance for streaming while other family members were doing the same on their own devices. Speed could not be compromised on seeing as we have a keen gamer in the home. Before this upgrade, there was no chance of streaming anything without buffering while he was gaming.
You would often find that any attempts to stream would also adversely affect his gaming experience. What made this router even more attractive for our use is that it has several ethernet ports. These are an excellent solution for reducing the pressure on the network by connecting some devices directly to the router.
Devices that require extremely fast internet connections for the best performance would do well when connected to one of these ethernet ports.
What You Should Know
There are various features of this device that I absolutely loved. Here are some of the key ones:
- It delivers Multiple Input Multiple Output Technology (MIMO).
- There are 2 x 2.4 GHz and 2 x 5.0 GHz transmission networks.
- Supports various encryption technologies: 64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, WPS support.
- Has both SPI intrusion detection and DoS protection.
- Features an Enhanced media server (AiPlayer app compatible)
- Has easy to set up parental control features.
- Allows you to set up guest networks.
- There are four ethernet ports on this router.
The various transmission networks make it easier to set up secure guest access on the network. There are in-built encryption and security features. These will keep your network safe from hackers as well as from Dos attacks. If an unauthorized user was to access the network, the SPI intrusion detection system would pick this up.
You can use the router as an enhanced media server. It helps that it is compatible with the AiPlayer, which is commonly used for such services.
Parental control features mean that families with young or vulnerable members can set features to safeguard them. There are some presets that you can use for this. If you had specific things that you wanted to restrict, this could be implemented with a few clicks in the web interface.
If you wanted to allow guests to access the networks without a password, or through less restricted settings than yours, you can set this up quite easily. A practical use case for this would be to have minors on their own network, with parental control features in place, while you retain access to the web without any restrictions.
My First Impressions
The first thing that caught my eye when getting the ASUS RT-AC1200 out of the packaging was the four antennas. I have never had a router with that many antennas. That ought to be a good sign for its capabilities. I could not have been more excited to set it up and see what it had to offer.
Now, the package contained the ASUS RT-AC1200 Wireless-AC1200 Dual band USB Router, 1x RJ-45 cable, 1x Power adapter, 1x Warranty Card and a Quick Start Guide. All of these came in handy immediately, except for the warranty card, which all of us hope to have but never need.
The front of the device has various LED lights that indicate performance and connectivity. They show you that the following things are active: power, USB, WAN, LAN and WiFi. When the lights are off, the respective option is inactive.
The Use Phase
Getting started with this router was easy. All of the information that I needed was contained within the QuickStart Guide. You also have the benefit of an interactive web interface that is just as easy to understand and use. It didn’t take much for me to set up the router to my preferences with the web interface.
I took my time to read about what each of the options did when I didn’t understand. Between the information that is contained within the web interface and what I found in the Quick Start Guide, there wasn’t much of a learning curve.
Unless you are an advanced user, you will not need to make too many changes to the default settings that the router comes with. If you need to make any changes, you will likely know what you are doing.
After the initial set up, I returned to the web interface a few times just to test options and see if anything would potentially improve performance. I just found it to be fascinating. Having used it for a little while now, the one essential tip I would have is to test out the performance difference between the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz networks. In my case, the 2.4 GHz was often better.
Once you know which one works best in your home, you would often want to make sure you are connected to that one when you encounter intermittent performance levels. If you are struggling to achieve your desired speed, you may also want to check the QoS settings. These can be found in the Traffic Manager section. Testing your speed with this setting enabled and disabled will give you an idea of which way you should go.
In my case, the speed was much better with the QoS setting disabled. I think there is thwarting involved once this is enabled. Your experience may be different, so it is worth testing it out.
My coverage has undoubtedly improved in the home. I get uninterrupted connections from all areas of the home. On the 2.4GHz network, there is a good reception when I am outside of the house as well. It’s perfect for a nice day in the garden.
The difference in my experience was the separate networks that the antennas allow you to create on this router. This meant that devices could be segregated. I think that is where better speed was achieved. The antennas enhanced the range in which I could access the network. It was certainly a win for me.
- The router is very easy to configure.
- It runs on dual band.
- The overall speed of the network improved.
- My network range at home improved.
- Comes with useful security features.
- The web interface allows you to customize the network to your own needs.
- Can be used with a VPN client.
- The 5.0Ghz network is not as reliable as I would have liked.
- There are better price products that are just as good.
If the router is not working as expected a quick reset my first port of call. There is a button on the router that does this and reboots it when completed.
I am quite pleased with how the ASUS AC1200 router has performed for me. My rating for it would be a ⅗. The deduction would be due to the issues that I encountered with the 5.0GHz networks being somewhat unreliable. While it does the job, I also found that other options on the market fall below the price point at which this one comes.
There are no regrets on my part. I would certainly recommend this router. Asus’ customer support has been exceptional on occasions when I have required their assistance. That is worth paying a little bit extra for.