To set it up you have to install the 3 external antennas, and it also has a 4th internal antenna, then you can either install the stand towards the back of the router if you want to mount it on a wall, or you can screw it in at the bottom of the router if you want to put in on a desk like I’ll be doing. Then setting up the router is very easy with it’s easy to use interface.
Design & Features
The design of the router is of course very attractive and gamery, even with the RGB turned off it looks very good with its angular aesthetics. It also looks nice from the back with all these vents that are actually needed because it does get kind of hot and it even has a heatsink inside it. And then you can of course turn the RGB on with press of a single button, so if you have any friends over at your home and they will know who the alpha male is. Just like Asus’ other products, the lighting can also be customised with aura sync, and you have all the effects that you would find on other Aura sync products. You can also configure it to show the status of the router, so for example if there’s some issue with internet or Wi Fi, it can light up with different colors to indicate that and it can also indicate the network traffic level.
On the left side you have the WPS button, the button to switch Wi Fi on and off, a small reset button below it, then a button to turn the lighting on or off, and finally there’s a customizable button with backlit ROG logo which can be customised to have different functions like change the color modes of the aura sync lighting, enabling Gameboost, DFS Channel Selection or GeForce now. It has pretty powerful hardware inside for a router, you have a Dual core processor with 512 MB RAM, it is a dual band router with beam forming and 4 x 4 MU MIMO support on 5 gigahertz.
You can use this router in its normal mode for internet connection, but it also supports access point mode, a regular repeater mode, a media bridge mode for which you will need another unit of this router, and then finally like many other Asus routers, this one also supports Ai Mesh, and that allows you to use another Ai Mesh supported router to create a mesh network, and mesh networks are much better than using repeaters or range extenders to extend the range of your Wifi, but unlike traditional mesh network routers that need identical units, with this router you can use a cheaper router to use it as an AI Mesh node and still have good performance. You also have some more advanced options that restrict devices from switching AI Mesh node but I didn’t explore those, and if we cover everything in detail this would really become a 30 minute video. T
he router supports different VPN methods including OpenVPN, it also has a VPN fusion feature that allows you to run a VPN Network along with the regular internet connection at the same time. And there’s also Open NAT which allows easy port forwarding.
The mobile app is also very feature rich and has a nice interface, it also allows good control and management of the features, You can of course view the connected devices, and also add family members and restrict them from using different kinds of content, you can select the devices specifically, and you can not only block obvious stuff like adult content, but you can also specifically block streaming, torrents, instant messaging, gaming or gambling services, and you can also schedule this ban, or block internet access completely, so if you have a teenager at home, you can really make their life miserable.
Firmware upgrade is very simple as the router is aatmnirbhar and can download the firmware directly on it and then you just need a single click and it will install it itself. At back you have the 4 gigabit LAN ports, along with a WAN port, then you have 2 USB ports at back, one of which is a 2.0 and another is a higher speed 3. Gen1. You could use the slow ports for things like printer, or slower speed storage, and the 3.0 port can be used for hard disks and pendrives, and that kind of turns it into a NAS so you can put all your legally downloaded videos on your hard drive, and then you can stream those files to any device on your network like your phones and TVs.
Not only you can access and store files to an external hard drive, you can also format it directly from the router and check for errors which are some features that I haven’t seen in other routers. You also have a lot of other cool stuff that you can do with the USB ports, like you can use it to share the files on the disk over the internet and make it like a cloud server so you can access your files from anywhere in world, and not just on your local network.
Then another really cool feature is that you can connect a 3G/4G dongle or smartphone to it and use its internet network, which is really cool and when my internet goes down, I need to connect every device to my phones hotspot, so this is a really great feature as you can use your phone network with all devices at home.
GameRadar allows you to checkout pings of different servers in the world so you can select the one that’s best for you, and this can be a very useful feature and it also looks really cool, but I wish there was a way to have more games in it and also have it regularly updated, because it doesn’t include some very popular recent games.
Then Wi Fi radar allows you to survey nearby Wi Fi networks and check out interference on different channels which is very cool. GameAcceleration has different modes, so it can prioritize gaming traffic specifically to ensure you get the most stable connection with lowest pings, then it has their GameFirst V acceleration, so if you have an ROG device, or an Asus motherboard like me, it will recognize it specifically and accelerate gaming traffic in a more special way.
Asus has also collaborated with WTFast which is a paid service that should route your gaming connection in a way that reduces its ping, and you get access to it for free. This is one of the few GeForce now certified routers, so if you are among the people who have access to this Nvidia service, then you are certified to get the best experience with this feature. T
raffic Analyzer allows you to check how much data different devices are using, and what kind of traffic they are spending data on, so if you have employees in a company you can check if they are wasting their time on Facebook and Whatsapp, and you can even check which websites they are visiting which is kind of creepy and I am almost scared of this router because all this power and features are too much in hands of a person who doesn’t have good intentions and respect for your privacy.
You can even control the router with your voice with Alexa or IFTTT and with that there’s also a long list of features, for example you can block Wi Fi to playstation because PC Master Race, and you of course have a firewall which can protect you from hackers and malicious websites.
Now my PC was not able to connect to it with 5 GHz wifi with 160 MHz channel selected, but even without it I was able to reach transfer speeds of up to 640 mbps while downloading a file from a hard disk with the router and motherboard antenna next to each other, and if you search on internet, other people who tested this router were able to reach over 900 mbps on 5 gigahertz network, With 2.4 gigahertz network I was able to reach 225 mbps speeds, and then Lan connection of course provides a gigabit connection so you get around 950 mbps speeds.
So you are getting really fast speeds, especially on the 5 GHz network, and the bottleneck for most people will probably be the devices that you have connected to the router and not the router itself. This also makes it a very suitable option for business users who will have lots of devices connected to it. Coming to the range on this router, I have to say that even though I was expecting it to be great because of the price point, it is even better than I expected.
So I have two flats that I need Wi Fi in, and I generally have to use repeaters because of the very large area I need coverage in, but with this router I was almost able to get full coverage in both my flats. It was only in kitchen where I wasn’t able to get a usable signal, and the signal I am getting in other parts is the 2.4 gigahertz Wifi, not 5 Gigahertz Wifi which has a lower range, so I was getting around 30 to 50 mbps, which is still very usable performance for general browsing, and keep in mind that this is through 4 brick walls and the extra furniture, so if you have a single very big home or a flat, then I think you should have complete coverage there with good speeds.
So in conclusion, the ROG GT-AC2900 is a very feature packed router that not only has very specialized features for gaming, but it also offers some very advanced features for networking nerds. The connectivity and USB device features are awesome, the software features, configuration interface, and mobile app are all very well designed, and it offers the performance that matches its excellent aesthetics, and if that is not enough, you have RGB on it, which is also executed very well and not added just for the sake of calling it an RGB router. At a price of around 18000 Rs. or 180 US Dollars, it is definitely a premium router, but considering everything it offers, the price tag is actually pretty good.
Now you may be able to find some budget Wi Fi 6 router in this range, and you will also find some Mesh Wi Fi router combos which could offer a better range, but those routers will not have nearly as many features a this one, they may not offer similar gaming performance, you may not get many benefits from Wi Fi 6 over the AC standard, and you can add an Ai Mesh supported router to this and convert it into a mesh network.
So if you are a competitive gamer, you could definitely find use for some of its gaming features and performance, and even for non-gaming audience, I think it can be a great choice because it’s not easy to find all of these features in other high end routers. This can be an overkill for a lot of people, but the rule with shopping for tech products is that there’s no kill like overkill.