Asus’ BRT-AC828 seems to offer the best of both worlds. It has no fewer than eight Gigabit Ethernet ports. There’s a hardware VPN server, a host of user and group access permissions features and a pair of Gigabit WAN ports – so if you have a backup internet connection, you can set the router to automatically switch over to it if your main line goes down.
The BRT-AC828 can even set up and host a branded customer Wi-Fi hotspot of the kind you come across in hotels and more upmarket cafés, complete with captive portal username and password entry.
The wizard in the router’s guest network section takes you through it all, allowing you to set up multiple usernames and passwords, each with their own internet access timeout limits. It’s even possible to add your own company background image to the captive portal page, so it doesn’t look generic. The router also offers support for Facebook Wi-Fi and standard guest networks. The only thing lacking is the ability to process payment: the feature is for setting up free Wi-Fi hotspots only.
This is a 4x4 stream 802.11ac Wave 2 device with a total theoretical throughput of 2,533Gbits/sec; that breaks down to 1,733Mbits/sec over 5GHz and 800Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz. In practice, you’ll never hit those kinds of speeds but we found the BRT-AC828’s overall performance was excellent in our tests.
Up close, we recorded average download throughput of 87MB/sec over 5GHz, which isn’t the fastest, but still plenty enough for most applications. It’s at long range the BRT-AC828 shines, delivering average throughput over 5GHz in our kitchen location of 21.4MB/sec – that’s not far off the excellent BT Whole Home Wi-Fi systems.
The Asus BRT-AC828 doesn’t come cheap, though: consumers should consider investing in Google Wifi or BT’s system instead. But for small businesses looking to provide reliable Wi-Fi for their customers without the hassle of buying a bespoke solution, it’s a great choice.