This Asus router is built for business

With the Asus BRT-AC828, users can remotely access the business' internal network in a secure manner because the router supports IPsec VPN.
With the Asus BRT-AC828, users can remotely access the business' internal network in a secure manner because the router supports IPsec VPN.PHOTO: ASUS

High-end prosumer routers have often been used by small businesses that require more advanced networking features, like the ability to limit clients as well as throttle their connection speeds.

So it is not a stretch that Asus, known for its consumer routers, has released a router for small and medium-sized businesses.

The BRT-AC828 offers features that are not on standard consumer models, such as dual Gigabit WAN ports that can either offer up to 2Gbps aggregated bandwidth, or provide redundancy if one of your Internet service providers should suffer an outage.

It also comes with eight Gigabit LAN ports for wired devices.

And, for wireless clients, it provides combined speeds of up to 2,534Mbps on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $559

    ETHERNET INTERFACE: 2 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN, 8 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN

    STANDARDS: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

    SECURITY: WPA2, WEP

    ADVANCED FIREWALL FEATURES: NAT, DoS and SPI

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

To reduce the hassle of managing the client devices in the office, the router lets IT administrators manage groups of clients easily from the user interface.

External threats such as spam and distributed denial of service attacks are managed by an automated scanning of network traffic for malicious activities.

This intrusion-prevention system is part of the AiProtection feature using technology from security firm Trend Micro. Note that these features will affect the router's performance because of the extra overhead.

In addition, users can remotely access the business' internal network in a secure manner because the router supports IPsec VPN.

Unlike consumer routers, the AC828 comes with a built-in Radius (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) server that provides an extra layer of security, without requiring firms to install a separate server.

Another feature you won't find on a consumer model: the Asus router can set up a Wi-Fi hotspot for guests, including a custom Web page with your company's branding and terms of usage that pops up when guests connect to the hotspot. This is very useful for places such as cafes and clinics.

Like most routers, the Asus can work as a network storage device, too. But there is a twist: in addition to connecting an external hard drive to one of its two USB 3.0 ports, you can install a solid-state (SSD) module using the M.2 interface inside the router chassis.

While an internal SSD is more expensive (while offering less storage) than an external hard drive attached to the router's USB port, it is faster and more secure.

This business router uses the same user interface as Asus' consumer models. But there are even more settings now, which make for a rather cluttered look.

While it is still very functional, this user interface feels stodgy compared with the sleeker versions in other routers.

In my testing, the BRT-AC828 managed an average download speed of 323Mbps.

This is comparable to the performance of the Synology Router RT2600ac, which shares many of the same security and business-oriented features.

Vincent Chang

• Verdict: It may cost more than most routers, but businesses will appreciate its security and management features.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'This Asus router is built for business'. Print Edition | Subscribe