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[Maylyn's Review] ASUS RT-AC87U

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Old 20-08-2014, 08:45 PM   #1
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[Maylyn's Review] ASUS RT-AC87U

First up, something to share

ASUS Networking Event 2014 - Pictorials

ASUS haven't came a long way in networking specializing consumer WiFi routers even that they are 25 years old company this year.

In the search of the incredible together with the expertise from years of manufacturing motherboards. ASUS networking has managed garner successful results in various regions (US/Europe/APAC) and they will continue to listen to feedback(s) and continue to innovate to satisfy the usual causal/mainstream users to the most extreme ones.

I'm pleased to announce that Singapore is the first country within APAC to release their next generation flagship - ASUS RT-AC87U.

History - From Left - Right



ASUS RT-N16



ASUS RT-N56 (Black Diamond Series)



ASUS RT-N66U - Dark Knight



ASUS RT-AC66U



ASUS RT-AC56U - the arrival of BCM dual ARM A9 cores



ASUS RT-AC68U



ASUS RT-AC87U - World's first 4x4 Wave 2 MU-MIMO router - 4 cores on board (BCM 4709 - 1000MHz) + Quantenna QSR1000 - ARC CPU - 500MHz and 5GHz radio

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Last edited by maylyn; 22-08-2014 at 02:42 AM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:45 PM   #2
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ASUS RT-AC3200 - Tri-Band Band Steering Router



Up close and personal with the first ASUS 4x4 Dual Band 2.4GHz/5GHz adapter.

ASUS EA-AC87





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Last edited by maylyn; 20-08-2014 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:45 PM   #3
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Do note that the ASUS RT-AC87U APAC retail packaging will be totally different with the US counterparts and the LED for both ASUS RT-AC87U/ASUS RT-AC87R for worldwide will be blue LED instead of white LED.

White LED are the very first ASUS RT-AC87R/ASUS RT-AC87U samplings, only a couple of peeps have it that's including the first batch of ASUS RT-AC87R.

ASUS RT-AC87U US Packaging





ASUS RT-AC87U APAC Packaging

Image Credits ~ Mr Monkey

White LED are the very first ASUS RT-AC87R/ASUS RT-AC87U samplings, only a couple of peeps have it that's including the first batch of ASUS RT-AC87R, you can take it as limited edition

Actually the reason why ASUS changes it from white to blue it's because it's too bright based on feedback.





ry0suk1 and bagger 288 like this.
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Last edited by maylyn; 20-08-2014 at 09:32 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #4
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Overview

So what is the ASUS RT-AC87U?

It's all begins from the CES 2014 announcement that ASUS together Quantenna will be shipping out the world's first 4x4 Wave 2 MU-MINO router.





Since then ASUS RT-AC87U product research and development has been feverish trying to deliver the results what is deem worthy to be their next generation ASUS flagship router.

Numerous ideas and hours and hours of planning are conceptualised and scrapped due to various stake holders good feedback & harsh criticisms, hence all of us will have to agree that most of us will be surprised why change of product appearance since it's appearance @ CES 2014.

Everything all designed from scratch and even the external antennas are designed to provide the maximum RF transmission, performance and extended range. ASUS can just easily take the short cut but they didn't.

They have ship out pre-production naked PCB without the casing and antennas for various affiliated developers that's includes RMerlin (Merlin's firmware) and BrainSlayer (author of DDWRT) for testing and debugging, citing the ASUS RT-AC87U casing and external antennas are not up to their expectations as yet.



Image Credits ~ RMerlin



Image Credits ~ BrainSlayer

Finally after weeks of brain-storming, numerous firmwares validation. ASUS RT-AC87U is deem worthy to be shown to the world and ready to ship.

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Last edited by maylyn; 21-08-2014 at 10:04 AM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #5
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Hardware

Let's meet the hardware, shall we?

2X Dual core design with offload implementation



It's powered by the main BCM4709 (Dual core ARM Cortex A9) 1GHz and BCM4360 for 3x3 2.4GHz 256 QAM, 5GHz operation is fully offloaded to Quantenna QSR1000 (ARC CPU - 500MHz and 5GHz radio). This allows the BCM4709 2x 1GHz CPU resources to be used for purely for it's main operation and other applications, this include USB 3.0 performance.

A more simplified version.



Gigabit LAN with hardware NAT



The ASUS RT-AC87U comes with 5 gigabit Ethernet ports for up to 1000 Mbps of throughput for each port. More importantly many enthusiasts will be excited about the inclusion of a hardware NAT that intelligently analyzes and optimizes traffic based on its type so whether you’re playing an online game, browsing the web or having a video call, you’re getting the best performance for your task at hand.

Going a bit deeper in the NAT implementation on the 87U, it features two levels of acceleration. These can be managed within the ASUS WRT firmware. They are under the option of NAT Acceleration and reffered two as level 1 CTF or level 2 CTF. So what does these options mean or do?

CTF (Cut Through Forwarding) is software optimization technique to accelerate NAT.

FA (Flow Accelerator) is a hardware NAT acceleration mechanism design for accelerating wired DHCP and Static IP connections.

Level 1 CTF = CTF

Level 2 CTF = FA + CTF

***Important Note ~ SingTel Fiber now works with CTF2 when SingTel Fiber VLAN is used on AC87U 2678 firmware or higher.



Another improvement and exciting aspect of the 87U design and firmware is that it allows the utilization of a new advanced QoS implementation to be used in conjunction with CTF. Historically this has not been the case requiring users to compromise on QoS or NAT acceleration. Now users can benefit from both.

Conditional implementation details for NAT acceleration are noted below.

Enabling of Adaptive QoS will disable FA.

Enabling of traditional QoS will disable both FA+CTF.

This advanced hardware design along with ASUS RF tuning and optimized topology and specialization design implementation help to ensure outstanding simultaneous connection performance. Of course this need to be validated. Below is some detailing on the testing process.



Advanced USB power design offers superior compatibility and functionality

Many users may think that all specification implementations ensure a consistent experience but this is definitely not the case. Specification implementation like USB can be affected by topology and layout both negatively as well as positively. ASUS took considerable time in the specification implementation of USB to ensure optimal performance as well as usability in addition took care in routing to minimize RF interference. Moving beyond that how can a spec vary between devices featuring the same specification? Some USB devices require more power than standard design implementations allow for. These devices may require a Y-cable to connect to two USB ports at the same time. For the best USB HDD compatibility, the RT-AC87U USB ports were designed to provide more power than the USB standard. This helps to ensure that both USB ports can be used as you would expect compared to some competitors solutions where both ports need to be utilized to power a single USB storage device or may not even correctly initialize the devices regardless as not all devices support Y-cables. Below you can see ASUS incorporates considerbly higher power output ratings to help ensure the best device initialization and overall compatibility.



A power efficient adapter design

The 87U from its design onset was purpose built for performance normally the highest performing devices tend to consume the most power. This is not the case with the 87U. Through extensive design effort class leading performance was able to be achieved while also maintaining class leading power efficiency.

If you currently evaluate other high end 802.11AC routers you will see their power consumption and power adapters are larger and higher than the 87U.



*** Some parts of this post are extracted from ASUS DIY JJ's blog which i feel it's worth mentioning and i have added mine own as well while we do get the same official ASUS RT-AC87U media materials.
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Last edited by maylyn; 29-08-2014 at 03:19 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:47 PM   #6
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Thermal design considerations and ensuring reliable operation

One critical part of the design of wireless routers is their thermal performance and reliability. A wireless router is a fixture in your home. It is always on and expected to enable the connectivity for so many devices that enable the experiences you have each and every day. Whether it be streaming music or movies, playing games or downloading all of this and more is enabled by your router working day in and day out. ASUS takes this very seriously and in the course of the 87U design and development the design team went through extensive steps to ensure solid thermal performance through careful design implementation as well as extensive validation. Why is this important? Because with ever increasing complexity and speed of the internal components in a router thermals can not only lead to instability but lead to failure. Analysis is done with a focus on real world connections and utilization. Four computers are connected to the router, two are connected by LAN and the others are connected by Wi-Fi one for 2.4GHz and the other for 5GHz. Only if the unit passes operation under this load is it cleared. During this we also carefully evaluate thermal performance of the router. This is to ensure the thermal solution put in place works as intended.

The 87U actually features three independent heatsinks for core processing portions of the 87U. These heatsinks help to ensure stability under heavy load.



Over 14 points are measured and tracked via thermosistors and thermographic imagery. This also with careful evaluation of different thermal dissipation implementations are measured and compared to find solutions that meet the demands of consistent long term usage and ensure effective thermal dissipation. This is done at multiple stages through multiple design revisions to the housing and layout topology. Once the units meets final design implementations and features final topology, component utilization and final ID ( the housing ) the unit is further re evaluated to ensure its thermal operating performance and reliability.





*** Some parts of this post are extracted from ASUS DIY JJ's blog which i feel it's worth mentioning and i have added mine own as well while we do get the same official ASUS RT-AC87U media materials.
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Last edited by maylyn; 21-08-2014 at 05:55 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:47 PM   #7
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With impressive hardware under the hood, how about the software?

Introducing the brand new ASUSWRT 2.0

New network map

~ Show detailed device information
~ Include more customised modules

Dynamic traffic management

~ Real time network traffic diagram
~ Adaptive QoS
~ Traffic Control and Analysis
~ Web History

AiProtection with Trend Micro for the complete home network security

~ It's powered by Trend Micro's Smart Network DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) Engine
~ Internet accessible time scheduling
~ Webs and Apps Filter
~ Real-time traffic monitoring

AiCloud 2.0

~ New AiCloud Interface
~ A Better Cloud and Media Station
~ Upload files from mobile devices to AiCloud for improved AiCloud Experience.
~ Share photos to FaceBook, Flickr
~ Organise media files right in the AiCloud inteface



Let's talk slightly more on the AiProtection.

AiProtection powered by Trend Micro's Home Smart Network DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) Engine uses real time network monitoring to analysis traffic @ packet levels that allows one to be protected from harmful malwares, phishings and other intrusions in real time before it reaches one's PC or device.

There are three kinds of protection as shown below

~ Router Weakness Scan
~ Malicious Website Blocking, Vulnerability Protection
~ Infected Device Prevention and Blocking

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Last edited by maylyn; 24-08-2014 at 11:25 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:47 PM   #8
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Real life testings

For those whom care less about what's inside the ASUS RT-AC87U and just want raw infamous SpeedTest numbers that ASUS RT-AC87U is more than capable of delivering on wired max 1Gbps Symmetrical (Down/Up) in collaboration with ViewQwest.



Speedtests (task is running) are conducted and images are screengrab in real time.

Broadcom CTF Lvl 1 (CTF) only

Down



Up



Both tests show almost 100% CPU activity on the first core including 60+% activity on the second core as well.

Broadcom CTF Lvl 2 - (CTF + FA)

Down



Up



0% CPU activity !!!!

Readers are welcome to scrutinise these images.

I will redo these tests with USB 3.0 transferring in the background to simulate activities to prove that the CPU status isn't broken shortly.
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Last edited by maylyn; 24-08-2014 at 11:41 PM..
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Old 20-08-2014, 08:48 PM   #9
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Other information and addition

23/08/2014

ASUS RT-AC87U Dummy UI is live and up for perusal

~> ASUS Wireless Router RT-AC87U UI

24/08/2014

ASUS RT-AC87U Official Website is live

Networking - RT-AC87U - ASUS

29/08/2014

ASUS RT-AC87U Firmware version 3.0.0.4.376.2678

Enhancement and new features.

1. Added the application icons in Bandwidth monitor.
2. Enhanced the Wi-Fi and LED button response time
3. Added reducing USB 3.0 interference switch in network map USB part.

Bug Fixes:

1. Fixed OpenVPN UI issue. OpenVPN client shows disconnect but it still connect to VPN server.
2. Fixed the NTP sync error issue when manually assign the NTP server.
3. Fixed AiCloud compatibility issue when using IE11.
4. Fixed PPTP VPN server connection issue which is caused by special character.

Updated Quantenna driver:

1. Improved long range performance in RT-AC87U connecting to RT-AC87U scenario.
2. Fixed ping test problem in noise environment.
3. Fixed RX buffer overflow in long time stress test.

~> http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/wir...0043762678.zip
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Last edited by maylyn; 29-08-2014 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 21-08-2014, 12:40 AM   #10
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Hmm, why not the striking box compared to the boring and cluttered box design that goes all the way down to the cheap N15U

And also, the more important question. Got any 台灣生產出(Made in Taiwan)的 AC87U?
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Old 21-08-2014, 12:52 AM   #11
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The EA-AC87 wireless AP?
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Old 21-08-2014, 02:53 PM   #12
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Hi

I have some qns.

Thinking to get this RT-AC87U router to replace my 5+year old dlink DIR-855.
As my room have weak signal from the old router. I using aztech homeplug to make one "lan" in my room and connect to a spare router to wifi within the room usage.

Will this RT-AC87U have a longer range coverage?

And Wat do the EA-AC87 really do? I dun understand its 3in1 usage and it have 5 lan port on it.

So the EA-AC87 will "receive" the signal from RT-AC87U and we have to use the port port for connection? Or can it still do "receiving" and "sending" out the signal for other device without lan?

THank you if someone can explain to me.
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Old 21-08-2014, 04:48 PM   #13
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Hi

I have some qns.

Thinking to get this RT-AC87U router to replace my 5+year old dlink DIR-855.
As my room have weak signal from the old router. I using aztech homeplug to make one "lan" in my room and connect to a spare router to wifi within the room usage.

Will this RT-AC87U have a longer range coverage?

And Wat do the EA-AC87 really do? I dun understand its 3in1 usage and it have 5 lan port on it.

So the EA-AC87 will "receive" the signal from RT-AC87U and we have to use the port port for connection? Or can it still do "receiving" and "sending" out the signal for other device without lan?

THank you if someone can explain to me.
Yes, the ASUS RT-AC87U does have improved WiFi range and performance be it on 2.4GHz or 5GHz over all the current ASUS routers SKUs due to better design but WiFi coverage is a hit and miss affair due to our heavily congested living environments. There are guides including hardwarezone's own version that offer some tricks and tips that on how to improve one's WiFi range and coverage.

A newbie's guide to home networking - HardwareZone.com.sg

EA-AC87 is currently still unreleased product and still under development. Final design might changed.

It's will be the first MU-MIMO peripheral that works with ASUS RT-AC87U to provide 4x4 MU-MIMO WiFi and LAN experience (short of having getting another ASUS RT-AC87U to pair)

I will let JJ do a more detail overview, (43 min 18 secs mark onwards)



So the EA-AC87 will "receive" the signal from RT-AC87U and we have to use the port port for connection? Or can it still do "receiving" and "sending" out the signal for other device without lan?
Yes, EA-AC87 dual band is able to receive and send between the ASUS RT-AC87U (media bridge mode) or use it to broadcast WiFi (access point) for now , if you are referring to repeater mode (receive and send from ASUS RT-AC87U and re-send and receive to/forth to another WiFi device, it's currently not available. I can't confirm whether repeater mode will be in the final design or not until i have more information from ASUS TW.
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Last edited by maylyn; 21-08-2014 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 21-08-2014, 04:52 PM   #14
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The EA-AC87 wireless AP?
What about the ASUS EA-AC87?
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Old 21-08-2014, 04:59 PM   #15
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Ok... a bit mixed here.

simple. Can the EA-AC87 do something like that.
1. RT-AC87U located in the hall.
2. EA-AC87 located in the room.

The EA-AC87 will be receiving signal from RT-AC87U and can the EA-AC87 function as following same time?
1. 1 lan wire connecting to PC.
2. same time able to have wifi signal for wifi use for tablet/phone etc?
Mean Wifi and Lan work same time to "feed" equipment in the room?

Thank you if u understand me.
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