You have the most powerful gaming computer, the best peripherals, a high-refresh rate monitor for smooth visuals and perhaps even a comfortable gaming chair. What else can you buy to level up your gaming experience, especially with competitive online games?
Asus' answer is the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 router, which is equipped with gaming features.
Firstly, it comes with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, because Wi-Fi, despite improvements in recent years, is still not quite as reliable or as fast as a wired connection.
Two of these ports are reserved for gaming devices - network traffic here is given top priority. Two other Gigabit Ethernet ports support link aggregation, which means they can be configured to work together to provide 2Gbps of bandwidth to a single client, like a PC with two network adapters or a network-attached storage device.
Secondly, the Rapture has built-in support for WTFast's virtual private network for gaming. WTFast operates multiple servers around the world to provide optimised online routes from your computer or console to game servers. Because these routes are reserved for its customers, users experience lower latency and fewer lag spikes.
Do note that the bundled WTFast service supports only a single device at a time - you have to upgrade to a higher-tier plan to use the service on multiple devices simultaneously.
ETHERNET INTERFACE: 1 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN, 8 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN
SECURITY: WPA2, WEP
ADVANCED FIREWALL FEATURES: NAT, DoS and SPI
VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5
WTFast support was introduced by Asus on its dual-band RT-AC88U router in 2015. The difference here is that the Rapture is a tri-band router with two 5Ghz wireless bands and a 2.4GHz band.
There are other gaming features besides the Gigabit Ethernet ports and WTFast support, but I am not convinced by some of them.
For instance the router has an intrusion prevention system (IPS) - dubbed Game IPS - which is powered by Trend Micro technology that "protects your gaming network from external attacks and threats". However, this same Trend Micro-powered IPS is found on high-end Asus routers, but without the gaming slant.
The new model also has a tweaked Web-based user interface that puts its gaming settings at the top of the screen, as well as having a red-and-black appearance to fit its gaming theme. Overall, it feels even more cluttered than the typical Asus router interface.
The companion Asus router app (available for iOS and Android) follows the same gaming look. It is a convenient tool to monitor your network and adjust basic settings.
The Rapture did not disappoint with its performance.
It achieved an average download speed of 546Mbps in my testing, which is comparable with other high-end routers.
•Verdict: Gamers looking to optimise their online gaming experience may find this router, especially the WTFast service, useful.