We have a new offering from ASUS on the market – the RT-AC3200 wireless router. It was ASUS’s top dog (best) router before the arrival of RT-AC5300. It is still a solid performer and well worth the money if you are on the market for a high-end gaming or TV streaming router. Let’s see what this device has to offer in order to reserve its place on our recommended best gaming routers list.
Features and Design
The RT-AC3200 is no different from the usual Wi-Fi router form – it is black in colour, rectangular box that and follows the design of the previous generation routers, including the RT-AC87. It features a total of six external antennas – four on the back and two on the side.
On the front of the router, you’ll find nine LED status indicators. They are designed to provide information and status updates for both wireless networks – the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz ones, WPS, LAN port activities and more.
Smart connect is present on the RT-AC3200 menu and it works well. It also features SmartHome devices management straight from the router GUI, plenty of multimedia and file sharing options are present as well.
The router comes with four Gigabit LAN ports, a single Gigabit WAN port and two USB ports – one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. It would’ve been nice to include two USB 3.0 ports instead but on the other hand, USB 2.0 is more compatible with older devices and external storage solutions.
Wireless performance is the most important specification that we look for in a wireless router. After all, that’s the sole reason why we need a wireless router. No one likes a slow and laggy router that stutters while gaming or streaming your favourite movie or a TV show.
The RT-AC3200 is a three band device offering three separate networks – one on 2.4Ghz, compatible with older devices and two separate 5GHz ones for speed and performance on newer wireless devices. According to ASUS’s website, the theoretical speed is up to AC3200 – on paper this router should reach close to 3200 Mbps, but we all know that this is far from the truth in real life scenarios. Let’s see how it performs in real life tests:
2.4 GHz performance
On 2.4 GHz the router delivers around 175 Mbps at close range and it drops to around 80 further away This is respectable speed for streaming and gaming even when further away.
5 GHz performance
On 5 GHz the RT-AC3200 managed to reach around 544 Mbps in our close-range test and around 250 Mbps few meters away. Those are quite good figures, although they are a bit off the best routers on the market today. Still, pretty respectable wireless speed.
Let’s see how the RT-AC3200 measures up in wired networking. A lot of people play down the importance of wired networks as an outdated and unimportant tech but this far away from the truth. Cable networks are still an important part of any network configuration due to speed and reliability offer for a fraction of the cost. NAS devices are rising in popularity too and most of them offer superb cable performance and reliability. So here are the ASUS speeds as tested.
LAN to LAN
LAN to LAN is how the router performs when the WAN port is not included in the tests. This is only a test from one LAN port another. We test as we copy a large (8GB) file from one machine to another. In our LAN to LAN test the RT-AC3200 managed to record 785Mbpss. This is not really a good score as most of our tested routers manage well over 900mpbs.
WAN to LAN
WAN to LAN is testing the speed between the “external” WAN port to any LAN connection to the router. In our test, the router managed to achieve the disappointing 719 Mbps. That means that if you have a good gigabit fibre coming into your home you will only be able to use three-quarters of the connections – the rest will be limited by the router WAN port. These are not good news.
USB 3.0 performance
We haven’t tested the USB 2.0 port because most storage devices nowadays can easily offer higher throughput than what the USB 2.0 can offer. So let’s see how the USB 3.0 port is performing. We managed to record 82 MBps download and upload speeds to a drive connected to the port. That is impressive and it is one of the best storage results we achieved of most routers that we tested.
The RT-AC3200 is far from a slow router. Both wireless networks offer adequate speed and performance. While the price can be quite high for some, keep in mind that the ASUS offering is a high-end router offering superb wireless performance, stellar security features, fast USB transfers and an intuitive user interface. If you have the budget, you might consider the big brother – the ASUS RT-AC5300 – which offers a bit more advanced features, but if the price is within your budget, the 3200 is a great choice.
We rate it at 4 out of 5 stars due to finicky wired performance and issues with SmartConnect when connecting certain devices.