Asus already makes the best router in the land with the face-melting RT-AC68U, but the company's not going soft just because it's in the lead today. At Computex 2014, Asus announced the RT-AC3200, which it calls "the world's fastest tri-band router," complete with an aesthetic to match the bold claim. Bristling with no less than six--yes, six--antennas, this thing looks like the home networking equivalent of Game of Thrones' Iron Throne.
The Asus RT-AC3200 sports six streams to mirror those six antennas and utilizes 802.11ac, the latest and greatest Wi-Fi protocol.
The router's all about optimizing your Wi-Fi connection; it packs tri-band MIMO to offer maximized bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously, beamform support to supercharge Wi-Fi connection strength, a SmartConnect feature than intelligently selects the best-performing spectrum band for connected devices, and adaptive quality of service bandwidth management to minimize traffic congestion on your network.
Asus says the router can achieve a maximum combined data rate of up to 3.2Gbps--that's the total across both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, not a single super-fast magic connection. Speeds to 802.11ac devices top out at 1.3Gbps, while the standard 450Mbps 802.11n speeds can be boosted up up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band if the client device supports Broadcom's TurboQAM technology--just like in Netgear's stellar Nighthawk router.
Beyond basic Wi-Fi, the Asus RT-AC3200 will also include "AiProtection" from Trend Micro designed to protect your network against outside attacks, along with Asus' SmartSync, AiCloud, and Media Station features. As far as hardwired connections go, the RT-AC3200 packs singular USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and four Gigabit LAN ports.
Asus didn't reveal pricing details, but considering that this router out-specs the $220 RT-AC68U, don't expect it to come cheap. Don't expect the RT-AC3200 to come soon, either: The router's targeted for a third- or fourth-quarter launch. Who knows? Maybe the delay will give the PC market time to release more 802.11ac-compatible laptops, desktops, and tablets.