For home office and small business: review of the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 Wi-Fi router
ASUS has long had in stock not only products for ordinary users, but also solutions for businesses. For example, we occasionally receive Expertbook laptops of various modifications (1, 2, 3) which offer good opportunities for both work and “home” tasks. However, the manufacturer is no longer limiting its lineup to laptops, so today we’re going to take a look at the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 router, which the manufacturer offers for both small businesses and home offices.
Package contents of ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63
Despite its positioning, the device’s package remains quite standard for most routers. So, along with the device itself, the box contains an Ethernet cable and a power supply with two versions of connectors for different outlet standards.
Given the availability of mounting options, it would have been convenient to have a mount for vertical surfaces, but the manufacturer left it up to the buyer.
Design and usability
The ExpertWiFi line is not limited to a single router and also includes a Mesh system, a PoE access point, a separate VPN router, and a switch. All of them have a similar minimalist design and are available only in white. At the same time, ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is the only one with traditional external antennas. That is, in a prominent place, the router will definitely be a recognizable device, unlike Mesh systems, which not everyone has yet gotten used to.
ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 also has installation options. In addition to having the aforementioned wall (or ceiling) mounts, the router can be placed both horizontally and vertically on a table or other surfaces. For this purpose, it has a sliding stand. Rubber feet are also provided, which will allow the device to stay in place a little better and not damage the surface in case of movement. However, for some reason, there are no feet in the horizontal position.
The front panel also has a lot of white status diodes. There are eight of them in total, and all of them are quite bright. They can be a nuisance near the workplace, but there is also an option to turn them off. There is no fundamental difference in informing the user compared to conventional routers: the operation of individual network bands, connected LAN devices, and so on are displayed.
The antennas can change their angle to adjust to the router’s position. However, they cannot be rotated. There are also fixed angles, so the antennas will maintain a symmetrical position relative to each other. They don’t spoil the overall appearance, but devices with built-in antennas still look neater.
All ports are located right between the antennas. There’s nothing that can’t be found in regular user versions: four Ethernet ports, one WAN, two USB-A (3.0 and 2.0), and a power port. The standard Power, Reset, and WPS buttons (which can be programmed for other functions) are also nearby.
In general, this is a fairly ordinary-looking router that will generally fit into the interior of an office or small cafe. Apart from the bright diodes, there is nothing on the device that should draw attention to itself. However, perhaps in some cases it would be nice to have options for the color of the case (black, dark gray, etc.). However, the device really looks good and there are no critical comments on the design.
The ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is designed for small businesses or home offices. In general, the capabilities of simpler models are quite enough for such tasks, but ExpertWiFi devices are still capable of providing more functionality and logically have some differences in administration compared to the manufacturer’s custom versions of routers.
This is a Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 router, so in the 2.4 GHz (2×2) band, the maximum speed is expected to be up to 574 Mbps, and in the 5 GHz (2×2) band, up to 2402 Mbps. The device is equipped with a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 256 MB of storage. Of course, there is support for MU-MIMO, OFDMA, Beamforming, 1024-QAM modulation and 160 MHz bandwidth.
The operating modes include both “router” and “access point”. Of course, EBR63 can also support AiMesh ExpertWiFi. It is able to act as a master device in a local network and connect to other devices on site. In addition, there is support for the Ethernet Backhaul function, if the infrastructure is prepared for it. However, in the case of Mesh, there is no separate range for device communication (which is available in ASUS ExpertWiFi EBM68).
Most of the popular features are also present. There are various VPN connection and setup options, AiProtection (as always, in collaboration with TrendMicro) with tips and detailed statistics, traffic monitoring, Adaptive QoS, web filters, and more.
The router is also capable of supporting connections to more than one network, so you can connect a couple of providers at the same time, as well as have additional backup connections via USB. This way, the loss of connection due to technical problems with the operator or a power outage should not interfere with your work under normal conditions.
But something new (for the average user) here will be “Self-defined Networks”. While conventional routers allow you to create a main network with an additional six guest networks, ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 has more options with various additional features. This way, you can get separate networks for employees, smart devices, a guest network or portal, a separate “line” with VPN, VLAN, etc. In addition, this router allows you to connect more clients than user devices (up to 100 connections).
Six different networks can be created if all of them are designed for two bands. In our case (for the experiment), we managed to create seven more networks with the main network, two of which were limited to one band (only 2.4 and 5 GHz, respectively).
The administrative panel, as you can see from the previous screenshots, looks different from the usual user routers of the manufacturer, although it has a similar logic. It seems that there are a few additional features here (such as DNS Benchmark, which I don’t remember in regular models; or the aforementioned creation of additional local networks), but in practice, simpler models have more or less everything you need. On the other hand, for obvious reasons, there is no parental control here, because a more advanced alternative is offered.
At the same time, a separate version of the mobile application called ExpertWiFi is used for business line routers. There are not many changes compared to the app for the simpler routers, and there are fewer settings than in the web version. However, the design and general logic are still similar and convenient.
First setup of ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63
With ExpertWiFi, the manufacturer has kept things simple for owners, so the first time you connect, the administrative panel or smartphone app will guide you through a few standard steps to quickly change the preloaded login parameters and create a basic local network.
However, there is also something interesting here. In the box with the router, among the usual set of “accompanying papers” there is a sticker with a QR code for easier connection, and with the standard settings, passwords are a little more complicated than eight digits. All of this, of course, can be immediately replaced by the user, and the sticker will lose its relevance.
ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 in action
According to the manufacturer, this router can cover an area of up to 230 m² with a local network. This should be enough for small businesses, not to mention small apartments (depending on the layout, of course, but still). For our usual test home (a two-room apartment), this is even too much, and two gaming laptops of the ROG Strix line helped with the speed test (SCAR 16 and a slightly larger SCAR 17).
The local network can work both in Smart Connect mode and traditionally display two separate bands. Logically, the latter option was used for the tests. Traditionally, I took the usual route and started with Speedtest, even though I had a gigabit connection. At this point, the wired connection showed a speed of almost 900 Mbps for downloading and 864 for uploading. Moving on to wireless networks, in the 2.4 GHz band, 224/200 Mbps could be obtained near the device, and 144/121 in the most distant location. In the same positions in the 5 GHz band, the performance was much better – 853/776 and 826/777 Mbps, respectively. That is, you can see the speed in the whole house with almost no losses, which is not so common.
The following situation occurred within the network between the two clients. In the 2.4 GHz band, with a wireless connection and being close to the device, we managed to get an average speed of 66 Mbps (maximum – 85). This is not very fast, but the requirements for such a network are hardly high. And the speed did not drop at a distance – 67 Mbps.
If we leave one of the clients with a wired connection, the results increase: the second client showed an average speed of 167 Mbps near the device, and 116 Mbps at a distance. At the same time, the maximum speed briefly reached almost 190 Mbps, but it could not be sustained.
Of course, 5 GHz speeds are both significantly faster and more stable. With both clients in wireless mode next to the router, the average speed was 655 Mbps, and at a distance it dropped to 320 Mbps. The maximum speed in these cases was 745 and 436 Mbps, respectively.
When we switched one of our customers to a wired connection, the speeds increased with an interesting development. The average speed near the router was 765 Mbps. However, at a distance, it increased to 885. Moreover, in the gap between these places, it was the highest – 914 Mbps. And this is on average, and the maximum did not exceed 967 Mbps, which is more like a LAN port speed limit.
And yes, with two clients, the average speed with a wired connection was stable at 950 Mbps, and it did not fall below 942.
The rest of the time, the router was running in Smart Connect and was more in the “home office” mode than the “small business” mode. Such conditions, of course, did not pose any problems for it. The high connection speed for devices with Wi-Fi 6 (and higher) could only be noticeable when downloading a large amount of data, and in normal use, even if it were half as fast, it would hardly be noticeable. The router can easily handle a small load of up to 10 clients, and if the number declared by the manufacturer is also well maintained, then it is unlikely that all of them will be uncomfortable. So, yes, for those users who have specific requirements for home work, or for owners of small establishments or shops, ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 will be a good solution for a local network.