Asus BRT-AC828: A smashing small-business router

Superb long- and short-range performance and a selection of seriously useful features for small businesses

Price
£333
  • Excellent access permissions; Captive portal support; Eight Gigabit ports; Great performance
  • Expensive

Asus' BRT-AC828 seems, on paper, 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 up to automatically switch over to it in the event your main line goes down.

The BRT-828 can even set up and host a branded customer Wi-Fi hotspot of the kind you normally come across in hotels and more upmarket cafes, 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 owner and internet access timeout limits. It's even possible to add your own 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 outright fastest here, but still plenty enough for most applications. It's at long range the BRT-AC828 really shines, delivering average throughput over 5GHz in our kitchen location of 21.4MB/sec - that's not far off our award-winning Google Wifi and BT Whole Home WiFi systems.

The BRT-AC828 doesn't come cheap: 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 well worth considering.

Verdict

The BRT-AC828 doesn’t come cheap: 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 well worth considering.

Wi-Fi standard supported802.11abgn/ac
Quoted 2.4GHz speed (client)800Mbits/sec
Quoted 5GHz speed (client)1,733Mbits/sec
Total quoted speed2,600Mbits/sec
Spatial stream support (MIMO), up to4x4
Gigabit Ethernet ports (per node)8 x LAN
USB ports2 x USB 3
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