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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: A compact but versatile router for gamers

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
300
inc VAT

A great little gaming router that delivers great speeds even without Wi-Fi 6E

Pros 
Fantastic short-range Wi-Fi performance
Numerous easy-to-use gaming features
Excellent VPN support, plus built-in parental controls
Cons 
Wireless performance drops off at range
Doesn’t support the new Wi-Fi 6E standard
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You can play games with any sort of router, but Asus’ ROG models come with an array of built-in features designed to improve the experience. For example, they’ll automatically prioritise your gaming connection to keep it fast and stable even if someone’s watching Netflix downstairs.

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is the newest model in the lineup. It slots in below the top-tier GT-AXE11000, but it has almost all of the same features for a much more palatable price – and it delivers impressively fast wireless speeds.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: What you need to know

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 works with all regular Wi-Fi 5 and 6 devices. It claims connection speeds of up to 4.8Gbits/sec on the 5GHz band, although it doesn’t support the 6GHz band that’s just coming into use with the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard.

It also has 4x4 MU-MIMO, providing the best performance to both individual and multiple devices, plus twin 2.5GbE ports – one for multi-gig internet, the other to provide a rock-solid, lightning-fast connection to a desktop PC or network storage device.

The hardware is only part of the story, however. The Asus GT-AX6000 also features a collection of custom traffic prioritisation and configuration features aimed at delivering a fast, stutter-free gaming experience, while maintaining a smooth connection for the rest of the household.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: Price and competition

The GT-AX6000 launches at £300; that’s par for the course for a gaming router, and a fair bit cheaper than the 2019 Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. The older model has two 5GHz radios to reduce contention, while the AX6000 has only one, but new bandwidth-sharing features in Wi-Fi 6 make that much less of an issue than it used to be.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Asus has also just released the TUF Gaming AX5400, which lacks some of the bells and whistles of the GT-AX6000 but costs a much lower £120. At the other end of the scale, the new Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 incorporates the full set of gaming features plus Wi-Fi 6E, which should allow faster wireless connections for compatible devices. At £480, however, it’s a big step up in price.

For those who don’t need dedicated gaming functions, there are plenty of cheaper routers with Wi-Fi 6. The £180 Asus RT-AX82U is one of our favourite all-rounders, while a decent budget option is the D-Link DIR X1860, costing just £90; check out our rundown of the best wireless routers and you’ll find recommendations to suit all roles and budgets.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: Hardware design

By the standards of gaming hardware the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is almost low key. The main body extends to a maximum footprint of 335 x 190mm but stands a mere 50mm tall, disregarding the four chunky antennas with their retro-futuristic red plastic flashes. On top, the Republic of Gamers logo glows in menacing red. You can change the colour of this, or pick from a range of pulsing and shifting light programmes.

There’s also an Event mode, which varies the colour to reflect a few variables such as your internet speed or whether gaming packets are being prioritised; it’s not exactly easy to read, but it’s pretty.

At the back, you’ll find six Ethernet ports, of which four run at regular gigabit speeds. One of these is marked as the “game port”, and any device connected to this socket gets automatic priority over the others – a beautifully simple way of giving a boost to a console or gaming PC. Naturally, the web-based management interface offers more control if you want it.

There’s also a multi-gig LAN connector and a corresponding WAN socket. These both support speeds of up to 2.5Gbits/sec over a regular Cat 5e Ethernet cable, but note that if you want local devices to communicate with each other at multi-gig speeds you’ll need a 2.5GbE switch. Alternatively, you can aggregate LAN ports 1 and 2 to create a 2Gbits/sec connection over a pair of Ethernet cables.

You’ll spot a pair of USB ports too, one running at 5Gbits/sec, the other limited to USB 2 speeds. You can use these to connect and share content from external hard disks, or to connect to a mobile internet service. You don’t even need a dedicated USB dongle for this – you can hook up a regular Android phone via a USB cable and use the router to share its connection across your whole network.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: Gaming features

Asus’ ROG routers come with several unique gaming features. We’ve mentioned the priority LAN port, and it’s partnered with a feature called Game Boost, which prioritises internet traffic going to and from recognised game servers. Most routers let you achieve the same effect with regular QoS settings but it’s nice that here you don’t have to bother. You can manually add other games, along with any other applications and services you wish to prioritise.

The GT-AX6000’s Open NAT feature also comes with built-in port-forwarding rules for more than 70 popular PC and console games, so you can enable online play with a few clicks. The “Game Radar” feature tracks ping times from various servers around the world for games including DOTA2, Overwatch, Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft, so you know which location will give you the lowest latency.

The router even integrates with the third-party VyprVPN service, which aims to optimise your gaming experience by using servers with fast direct connections to gaming servers while deflecting malicious DDoS attacks. It’s free for 90 days, then £75 a year for up to 30 simultaneous connections. If you’re already subscribed to a different VPN, you can use the router’s clever VPN Fusion feature to specify which client should use which service, so you can – for example – set your gaming rig to use VyprVPN while your smart TV uses a separate VPN to spoof its location, while regular phones and laptops go through your ISP as usual.

Basic network security features are included, too, such as automatically blocking dodgy websites and quarantining clients that are recognised as infected. A decent set of parental controls powered by Trend Micro provides per-client, category-based web blocking and access scheduling – not bad at all for a bundled feature.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: Performance

Asus claims that the 2GHz quad-core CPU inside the GT-AX6000 delivers up to 18% faster performance than previous models, while its proprietary RangeBoost Plus transmission algorithm increases effective coverage by up to 38%. These numbers are probably meaningless but they’re evidently intended to dial up our expectations.

Curiously, however, the GT-AX6000 defaults to an 80MHz channel width, rather than the maximum 160MHz. I enabled the latter for testing: this makes interference from neighbouring networks more likely but it also maximises the potential bandwidth available to connecting devices.

To measure wireless performance, I set up the GT-AX6000 in my study and connected its 2.5GbE port to an Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro NAS appliance. I then took a laptop running Windows 11 to various areas of my home, connected it to the router over Wi-Fi 6 and measured read and write speeds when copying files to a shared folder on the NAS.

Here are the results I saw. For comparison, I’ve also included the speeds achieved by the other Wi-Fi 6 routers mentioned above, plus the Wi-Fi 6E-enabled GT-AXE11000:

The numbers speak for themselves. Over short range the GT-AX6000 is a superb performer: impressively, it even came extremely close to a 6GHz connection from the bigger, beefier GT-AXE11000, suggesting that Asus’ RangeBoost Plus technology is more than mere marketing puff. Download speeds in the study and living room were so fast they approached the speed of a wired connection; when I repeated the test with my laptop connected to one of the router’s Gigabit Ethernet sockets, I got an average read speed of 96.1MB/sec.

Performance did drop off conspicuously once I moved one or two rooms away but it remained fast enough for everyday gaming, video streaming or any other activity. The only place where the GT-AX6000 really struggled was in the bathroom at the far end of the house, but even then, we’re still talking about a download rate of 13MB/sec – fast enough to convey the full bandwidth of a 100Mbits/sec fibre broadband connection.

If you need to boost coverage over longer distances, the GT-AX6000 supports Asus’ AiMesh system, so a spare Asus router can be turned into a range extender with a few clicks. Don’t expect to attain top speeds from a setup like this, though, as passing data packets back and forth between mesh nodes eats up bandwidth.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 review: Verdict

If you’re a gamer seeking a slick, stylish home network experience, the GT-AX6000 is a very attractive router. It looks pretty, it’s loaded with gamer-specific features and optimisations, and it’s capable of serving up brilliant speeds over both wired and wireless connections.

We do have some reservations. Most of the GT-AX6000’s signature gaming and QoS features can be replicated on other routers, albeit in more fiddly and complex ways, and wireless reach is disappointing for the price. Then again, the inclusion of security and parental controls is a real value boost, and we’ve yet to see a rival router with multi-VPN support.

There’s also the question of whether it’s smart to invest in a router that doesn’t support the incoming Wi-Fi 6E standard. But as our tests show, the 6E badge doesn’t necessarily guarantee top-tier performance. It’s possible that the GT-AXE11000’s speeds can be improved in the future with a firmware update but, when the Rapture GT-AX6000 fares so well over a regular Wi-Fi 6 link, most gamers will find this highly capable router more than meets their requirements.

See more at Asus


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