ASUS ROG Rapture GT6 gaming Mesh system review
It is hard to imagine a modern comfortable life without Wi-Fi. Moreover, Ukrainian providers, at least in large cities, have been able to offer gigabit connections for several years now, which only improves the user experience. However, not every router is capable of providing large homes with good coverage, which makes such connections useless. This is especially true for demanding users who need to transfer large amounts of data, as well as gamers who need a fast and stable connection. How one of the top Mesh systems from ASUS – ROG Rapture GT6 – can help with this, we will analyze in today’s review.
ROG Rapture GT6 accessories
The ROG Rapture GT6 packaging differs from conventional Mesh systems only in its large box, which is stylized like other ROG products. However, its contents remain fairly standard for devices of this kind: two routers (there is also an option to buy only one), an Ethernet cable (5e, and the routers have one much faster port), and the corresponding power supplies, which have two versions of connectors for different socket formats.
That is, everything you need is in place. The routers do not have specific installation options, so they do not require any non-standard mounts or stands, and given the built-in antennas, the process of unpacking and installation will not require any extra steps (although yes, sometimes it is nice to twist the antennas on new routers and can be a meditative component of getting started).
Design and usability
With the gaming version of the Mesh system, ASUS expectedly gave more freedom to developers, so the appearance of the device is much more interesting than some usual variants. So, along with a large RGB logo, the case has many edges, stylized cooling slots, branded font markings, and transparent panels on the top and bottom. Now let’s talk about all this in turn.
The user will be offered a choice of black and white (Moonlight White) color options (white ROG laptops used to be called Mercury, which would be a better fit here). Depending on the placement of such a router, both options make sense, especially when the user collects certain color themes at the workplace (yes, there are not many such users, but ASUS hardly expects the ROG Rapture GT6 to become a bestseller).
The test version has a black body and looks like a device from a spaceship in a sci-fi movie. Personally, I really like this design, although I agree that in most ordinary interiors such a router can attract too much attention, especially with the backlight on. It can also be turned off, and otherwise there is a set of different backlight modes. It is also worth noting that the backlight is quite bright and not adjustable. Therefore, for example, in a bedroom, this logo will additionally act as a lamp, which will not appeal to everyone.
Additionally, there is one small diode on the front that signals the current network status. It doesn’t interfere with the view at all and doesn’t draw attention to itself.
Another rather interesting element, in my opinion, is transparent lids. There is a small trend for such design elements in smartphones, headphones, etc., so it’s nice to see it here. But, of course, dust also collects on such a surface, and over time, it can be damaged during cleaning or due to some accident. So from a practical point of view, it’s not the best solution, but it still looks great.
For symmetry, there are two such covers. But on the black case, the lower one is almost invisible (unlike the white case, where these panels remain dark). The bottom also has rubber feet and hidden WPS (can also perform other functions) and Reset buttons. In such a place, it is unlikely that someone will accidentally hit them.
A large cyberpunk case and a large backlit logo fully match the design of the gaming router. It’s a pity if the buyer doesn’t have a suitable place for it, as it will require more space than conventional Mesh systems (the case dimensions are approximately 178×172×78 mm and weighs 880 grams). However, the antennas built into the case will still save space, unlike those in gaming routers, which often have, for example, eight large antennas on all sides of a large case.
All physical communications in the ROG Rapture GT6 are at the back. The WAN port has a higher-than-standard speed of 2.5 Gbps, while three more LAN ports are gigabit (the first is labeled gaming). Next to them are USB-A 3.2, a power switch, and a power port. Of course, both routers in the box are exactly the same and have the same connection options. You can set up different connection configurations with the ports (Dual WAN), in which WAN, the first LAN port, and USB will work.
I’m sure this set will be enough for the vast majority of users. However, there may be some power users who may not need additional LAN or USB, although they are likely to use other solutions. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about connectivity, and it’s good that all communications are duplicated on both devices.
Each of the ROG Rapture GT6s supports Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), including AX10000. Thus, the 2.4 GHz (2×2) band has up to 574 Mbps, and the two 5 GHz (4×4) bands have up to 4804 Mbps each. At the same time, the second 5 GHz channel can be used exclusively to support communication between nodes, or it can also be made available to the user (spoiler alert: not the best option).
According to the company’s calculations, such a system should provide coverage of 540 m² (5,800 ft²). The 9 built-in antennas should help with this. At the same time, there is support for MU-MIMO, Airtime Fairness, 1024 QAM, OFDMA, Universal Beamforming, and 160 MHz modulation (the latter must be activated independently). To serve all this, there is a 1.7 GHz triple-core processor, 512 MB of DDR4 RAM and 256 MB of internal storage.
You can create a Mesh network with additional ROG Rapture GT6s (if your home is really large and you need better coverage), as well as with other AiMesh-enabled routers. Just keep in mind that devices of other models may not support certain technologies or standards, which may affect the network operation.
Since we have a gaming Mesh system, it additionally supports such features as Game Boost (an adaptive QoS option that prioritizes games), Game Radar (a server scanner for some games, such as Diablo III, Overwatch, StarCraft 2, etc,) WTFast (a third-party service for faster connection to game servers), ROG First (prioritizing ROG devices), gaming OpenNAT profiles, and Gaming port – the first LAN port to which you should connect gaming computers when you have a wired connection.
A set of functions familiar to modern ASUS routers is also available here. The user will have AiProtection, parental control, VPN (VPN Fusion, fast connection of mobile devices via Instant Guard, PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec, WireGuard servers), traffic analysis, a traditional set of USB device connectivity and AiCloud cloud services, the ability to control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants (configured via the smartphone app), and more. If you don’t take into account the set of gaming capabilities, most of these features are found in other routers from the manufacturer.
Traditionally, the user is provided with much more settings through the web interface. Although most of the necessary items are available in the mobile application. It is more convenient to configure the system and make small changes to the operation through the latter (for example, activate guest networks when they are needed), but all detailed changes can be made through the browser. By the way, as experienced ASUS users have already noticed, the administrative panel of the gaming router looks like its status, when in the mobile application you can choose other appearance options.
Application for iOS:
The only thing I didn’t find in the settings (and I would have liked to) is the backlight schedule on the ROG Rapture GT6 nodes. For example, during the day it doesn’t bother me, but at night it would be better without it, because even in dim light the logo becomes clearly visible, and the animation constantly reminds me of itself. It is inconvenient to turn it off manually every night, so there is a chance that users will turn it off altogether. But it’s cool, and I wouldn’t want that to happen. Otherwise, working with this router has no significant features.
For several years now, router manufacturers have been offering users a simplified pre-configuration scheme for the first connection. To do this, you first need to connect one of the routers to the network, install the application on your smartphone, connect to its network via a QR code, and follow the simple instructions to create a local network. After that, the second router should be turned on somewhere nearby, and then the system will configure everything on its own.
This can be done via the web interface, but, for example, in my case, it’s much more convenient to do it via a smartphone so that I don’t have to fiddle with a laptop at the place where I install the main router. In any case, the Quick Setup panel will still “guide” the user through the same steps, but the interface will be slightly different.
ROG Rapture GT6 in the works
We tested the Mesh gaming system in our usual conditions. Unfortunately, they are several times smaller than the 540 m² declared by the manufacturer. However, you can still get some idea of the capabilities of ROG Rapture GT6. And, as always, the test began with one device and banal Speedtest measurements. For this, we also have a gigabit connection. The clients were two laptops of the new ASUS Vivobook S line (one of them is also reviewed on our website) with Wi-Fi 6E support.
So, Speedtest measurements with a wired connection demonstrated almost the maximum speed – more than 900 Mbps in both directions. The 2.4 GHz band allowed us to see more than 200 Mbps download and almost 150 Mbps upload speeds. Both 5 GHz bands had similar performance with a maximum of 786/891 Mbps.
Moving to the farthest point of the apartment (where a second router was later installed), I repeated the measurements. In both bands, the speed has not fundamentally changed, although in 5 GHz the data sending speed has slightly decreased.
Next, we tested the internal speed between the two clients. The slower 2.4 GHz band allowed them to exchange data at an average speed of 65 Mbps when both clients were wirelessly connected. At the same time, it was practically the same in all homes. And by leaving one of the clients connected via LAN, this speed could be increased to an average of 172 Mbps near the router, and up to 122 in the most remote position.
Repeating the procedure in 5 GHz with both clients connected wirelessly predictably revealed more interesting numbers: the average speed near the router was 534 Mbps, while in the farthest location it dropped to 447. With a single wired client, these figures increased to 920 and 823 Mbps, respectively (again, the results of both 5 GHz “lines” are expected to be the same, with a completely insignificant error). So, yes, this system is a bit much for a small apartment.
The Ethernet connection of both clients was stable at 900 Mbps.
Next, I launched the second point at the maximum distance from the first. The connection between the routers is established via 5 GHz (although they have a wired Ethernet Backhaul function, there is no physical way to implement this in the room). I’d like to point out right away that in all test cases, the 5.2 band used to support the network showed a significant loss of speed, so it really shouldn’t be “open to the public” and we don’t take such results into account. Now we test according to the same scheme and start with Speedtest, which, along with the second router in 2.4 GHz, showed the same speed of 205/160 Mbps, and 5 GHz has already lost a part of it – 602/568 Mbps. Ethernet, for some reason, showed almost half as much (496/423).
Next, we test the connection of wireless clients connected to different routers. In the 2.4 GHz band, they managed to transfer data at an average speed of 58 Mbps, while in the 5 GHz band, the average speed was 258 Mbps.
By trying to connect the first client to Ethernet and leave the second on Wi-Fi, these results could be increased to an average of 146 and 564 Mbps, respectively. And by switching the second client to Ethernet, we could see not the most stable performance, but the average was 457 Mbps. Still, the use of Ethernet Backhaul could have significantly improved the situation, but it’s not bad at all.
After that, the network was transferred to Smart Connect, where it independently determined the required range for different devices, and thus it served the apartment for more than a week without any noticeable problems. Yes, the second node of the ROG Rapture GT6 was expected to have a higher speed, but in general it is difficult to say that it was lacking in everyday use. The operation of various devices within the network (for example, streaming video to Apple TV or exchanging data between clients) also did not disappoint. So overall, users are likely to be satisfied with the performance, especially if they can connect the routers with a wire.