The Internet has come a long way, when I was but a wee-fella internet was something that only the rich family member had, and to access it you would need to unplug your phone, yes the corded one, that many of you might not know.  For those who do, the fond dial-up noises will forever be etched into our minds and hearts, and the endless wait as pictures would render line for line.  Oh, those were the days…

Since then, a lot has changed, long gone are the days of dial-up speeds.  We are now in the age of gigabit line speeds to the home, and if you are not yet using at least a 20Mb Fibre line you are slightly behind the times.  Along with the leaps and bounds advancement of the internet so too the hardware that allows us to access the internet.  Routers are no longer just a little box with lights on them that allows us to get to the internet, oh no, they are seriously involved pieces of technology that is nearly as involved as a computer themselves.  ASUS sent us one of their “gaming routers” and we just had to see whether or not it makes a difference, let us jump straight in.

Specifications

Model TUF-AX5400
Wi-Fi Technology Dual-Band AX5400
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs 2×2 AX
Up to 574Mbps
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs 4X4 AX
Up to 4804Mbps
Backward
Compatibility
802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP Mode Yes
Mesh-ready Yes (AiMesh)
Channel Support 20/40,80/160MHz
Gigabit Ports 4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig Ports None
Link Aggregation Yes
(WAN and LAN)
Dual-WAN Yes
Parental Control Yes
Built-in
Online Protection
Ai Protection
USB 1x USB 3.0
Mobile App Asus Router
QoS Yes
Processing Power 1.5 GHz tri-core CPU,
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Dimensions TBD
Weight 600g
Antennas Six (non-removable)
Gaming Features Open NAT
Dedicated Game Ports
QoS

 

Design

 

 

Much like the internet, the look of routers has greatly changed, from the little box with a few lights flashing on it, to monsters that have beefier processors and specs than the computers of the past have.  Not only have the internals changed tremendously but so too have their designs.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 showcases the gaming-inspired design with a very aggressive design, that features many sharp lines and edges while having a spaceship-like look and many ventilation holes.  Don’t forget the six, yes six, external antennas that adorn the rear side of the router.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 would not be “gaming-certified” without some form of RGB.  That comes in the shape of the TUF logo, placed on the top of the router which can be controlled via the ASUS router app.

Apart from the TUF logo on the top, down the left side, there is TUF GAMING written in black, so as not to be too excessive with the branding.  The standard router light indicators can be found right at the bottom front lip nearly tucked in underneath a fold of the router.

The days of trying to hide your routers out of sight and mind are long gone, with elaborate designs such as the ASUS TUF AX5400, they are clearly made to be seen.

 

Hardware

 

 

The ASUS TUF AX5400 features a 1.5GHz tri-core CPU and 512MB of RAM.  This is more powerful than my first PC come to think of it…  This power allows the ASUS TUF AX5400 to be able to perform well even on congested networks.  The Dual-Band WIFI 6 radio can manage speeds of up to wifi6 with ease.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 features one of its four LAN ports as a dedicated gaming port.  This port will take priority over all the traffic going through the ASUS TUF AX5400 router.  This means, simply plug in your gaming platform of choice and connect it to that LAN port, and no one else in the house will be able to hog your bandwidth.  ASUS has also decided, much like their more expensive motherboards, to use metal-shielded ports, not only does this improve stability it also reduces interference across ports.

The USB port that is on the ASUS TUF AX5400 is not only for the usual firmware updates.  No, it can also be used for file sharing via WiFi, printer sharing, and even USB 4G modems can be plugged into it and used via the ASUS TUF AX5400 router.  And for all those MacOS users, TimeMachine backups can be done through the ASUS TUF AX5400.

 

 

Gaming features

 

 

As the design, and plethora of antennas suggest, the ASUS TUF AX5400 is a gaming router, therefore it should have gaming features, right? Right!  If you are a fan of mobile gaming, and you might need to squeeze a little more out of your connection, the ASUS TUF AX5400 features a mobile game booster via the ASUS Router App.  When this is active the router will prioritize and optimize the connection for the connected phone.  This will mean reduced ping and better stability, hopefully, meaning more Wins for you!  If you are a PC gamer then the AdaptiveQoS is the profile you want to be using.  It will, like the other settings mentioned above, help to optimize connection and latency for gaming connections specifically.   Don’t fret or fear console users, the ASUS TUF AX5400 features an OpenNAT feature that will definitely make many console users smile.  OpenNAT type is often a thorn in many console gamers’ sides but thanks to ASUS, those strict NAT type days are over!

 

WiFi Performance

 

 

The ASUS TUF AX5400 is a very capable router on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.  What does set it apart, even more, is the fact that it features  160Hz channels.  This might not be that impressive just yet due to not many devices being compatible with 160Hz but on paper, it should make about a 16-20% improvement on your WiFi speeds, which when downloading or uploading massive files, will make an enormous difference.  The performance on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz is terrific although 2.4GHz is old technology and should only be used for smart home devices.  Keep your consoles, PCs, and phones on 5GHz wherever and whenever possible.

If you have a large house and a single router is not capable of covering your whole house, the ASUS TUF AX5400 has AiMesh, this means it can wirelessly link with other AiMesh routers to form a link and extend your range.  However, the AiMesh feature is limited to only other ASUS products with the AiMesh functionality

ASUS Router App

The ASUS router App makes the use of the ASUS TUF AX5400 so much easier and simplistic.  Setup is a breeze and should take even the most technologically challenged a mere 10 minutes at most.  There is no longer the need to log in to your router via a PC.  You can now simply pull out your smartphone and hop on to the ASUS Router App and see and change whatever you need to.  Want to change the RGB on the router, want to active mobile gaming mode for your specific mobile phone, or do you simply want to see who is hogging your bandwidth.  The ASUS TUF AX5400 and the ASUS Router App give you access to all of that with one application.

The ASUS router app can also help protect the young ones from either too much internet time, or from stumbling onto something that they should not.  Thanks to AiProtection you can have full control over what and how much each device can do while on the network.  A handy category section allows you to place each device into an age-appropriate section which will allow it to have adequate blocks and time limits applied to it.

 

Verdict

The ASUS TUF AX5400 might be marketed as a gaming router but it is a great router for gamers as well as power users who need a router that can do lots while giving the user the ability to customize nearly every inch of the features that the router provides.  With the addition of 160Hz channels, the ASUS TUF AX5400 is definitely a router that can help you future-proof the near future, at least.  The great features in terms of optimizing and stabilizing connections via WiFi and LAN are something that should have most gamers sitting up, and for console gamers, OpenNAT should have you out the door and ready to buy immediately!

And as an added bonus, it looks great while doing all of the above as well… Win-Win!

 

 

special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content

 

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