Review: ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 WiFi Adapter

The ASUS USB-AC68 is a Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter to maximise your 1Gbps / 2Gbps connection. Running on 802.11ac technology, it offers speeds of up to 1300 Mbps (5GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4GHz). The 3×4 MIMO antenna design with ASUS AiRadar Beamforming promises an optimised Wi-Fi connection.

Design

The ASUS USB-AC68 has two foldable antennas, which makes for a very compact and portable adapter. Once folded, it looks like a huge thumbdrive and easy to slip along into your laptop bag. The antennas can be set at three positions. Folded up for storage; Open at 90 degrees for use when connected directly to a USB port; and Fully opened when docked on the cradle.

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It looks futuristic and uses the same design cues as the ASUS ROG desktops / laptops with the Mayan motifs. It’s slim, which is important such that when you connect it to a laptop, it is still able to fit nicely.

You would need to connect it to a USB 3.0 interface for the full speeds. It will work on a USB 2.0 port, but there’s a bandwidth limitation on USB 2.0 of 480 Mbps.

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Performance

The USB-AC68 runs on the Realtek RTL8814AU chip, which is one of the best wireless chipset at the moment. The same chipset is used on the D-Link DWA-192, the Death Star lookalike USB adapter. I will also be doing a comparison between the DWA-192 and the ASUS USB-AC68.

Testing was first done using Speedtest; and a summary of the performance is as follows.

Device Intel AC-7260 ASUS USB-AC68 D-LINK DWA-192
2m from router (DL) 27.12 Mbps 82.29 Mbps 80.93 Mbps
2m from router (UL) 18.11 Mbps 218.89 Mbps 235.71 Mbps
12m from router (DL) N/A* 81.19 Mbps 83.60 Mbps
12m from router (UL) N/A* 168.45 Mbps 67.88 Mbps

*Note: Poor connection, unable to complete test.

Above testing was carried out over the same period but minor fluctuations in numbers are expected, and my takeaway from the above is that the laptop in-built adapter pales in comparison to these external adapters. I would think that when near routers / access points, both the ASUS USB-AC68 and D-LINK DWA-192 are very close in performance. However, it does appear that the ASUS USB-AC68 has the advantage when operating at further distances. Is it due to the physical antennas?

I fired up inSSIDer next.

inssider

It appears that the DWA-192 prioritizes the 2.4 GHz over the 5 GHz connection, while it was the opposite on the ASUS USB-AC68. That might explain the performance. However, a stronger 5 GHz connection is usually preferred as it 1) offers faster speed, 2) less device congestion.

Verdict

The ASUS USB-AC68 performed wells, and offers significantly improved performance as compared to a laptop inbuilt WiFi. It compares favourably with other Realtek RTL8814AU chipset as well. It’s a good looking and functional product, and the included cradle means you can position it nicely on your desktop for the optimum performance.

I really need to get a 1Gbps plan to test the connection. Whizcomms has contacted me for the trial, and hopefully I can get the 1 Gbps plan before December.

The ASUS USB-AC68 sells for US$87 on Amazon or at S$124 on Qoo10.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

2 thoughts on “Review: ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 WiFi Adapter

  1. Thanks Sean!

    But maybe what users also need to learn is a bit of patience … use the slow download time to do something else … like enjoy a cup of coffee? ;-)

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