But the fact is that there are more Wi-Fi 5 clients than Wi-Fi 6 clients, and unless you plan to upgrade your phones, tablets, and computers in the near future, a solid Wi-Fi 5 mesh system such as the Asus ZenWiFi AC CT8 can handle your home networking needs. This two-piece mesh system is easy to install and manage, covers up to 5,400 square feet, and offers lifetime parental controls and antimalware tools. Most important, it delivered high speeds on our throughput performance tests and maintained a strong signal throughout the house. That earns it our Editors’ Choice award for affordable mesh systems.
SIMPLE TO USE
The ZenWiFi AC CT8 system comes with two identical routers that provide coverage for homes up to 5,400 square feet, similar to the ZenWiFi AX XT8 Wi-Fi 6 system ($449.99). The flat yet cylindrical routers look exactly like those used by the XT8. They’re available in black or white, measure 6.2 by 6.3 by 2.9 inches (HWD) each, and have a small LED indicator on the front that glows blue during setup, white when the satellite node has a strong wireless signal with the router, yellow when the signal’s weak, and red when the signal’s lost.
On the back are three gigabit LAN ports, a gigabit WAN port, a USB 3.1 port, a power port, and a power switch. Reset and WPS buttons are located on the base. Missing is the 2.5GHz LAN port that you get with the ZenWiFi XT8. You can use a LAN port for Ethernet backhaul, or dedicate the second 5GHz band for backhaul.
Inside each router are six antennas, a quad-core CPU, 256MB of RAM, and 128MB of flash memory. The CT8 is a tri-band AC3000 system that can reach maximum (theoretical) data rates of up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, up to 867Mbps on the first 5GHz band, and up to 1,733Mbps on the second 5GHz band. It supports the latest 802.11ac technologies, including MU-MIMO data streaming, beamforming, and intelligent band steering; it also supports WPA2 and WPA encryption.
As with other Asus routers such as the ZenWiFi XT8, the RT-AX86U, and the RT-AC86U, the ZenWiFi CT8 comes with a free lifetime subscription to AiProtection Pro, a suite of security, anti-malware, and parental control tools powered by Trend Micro.
Asus ZenWiFi AC (CT8)
PROS Speedy performance. Great signal range. Robust parental controls. Lifetime malware protection. Easy to install.
CONS Lacks multi-gig LAN.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL HUMANS FACTORY
Medical trials are risky business. Human subjects eager to help researchers find cures or treatments for life-threatening ailments put their trust in medical professionals. But what if these trials could be conducted without human testers?
LG Gram 17 (2021): Light Weight, Giant Screen
The case for choosing a laptop with a jumbo screen—one larger than 15 inches—has never been stronger. The much-improved LG Gram 17, with a gorgeous 17-inch QHD display, is exhibit number one.
How to Make Your Windows PC Boot Faster
Computers have come a long way since the beige boxes of old, but even with speeds measured in gigahertz and gigabytes per second, they still involve some occasional waiting.
DIGITAL DETOX 2021 Is It Time to Put 6 Feet Between You and Your Personal Tech?
Online socializing, remote learning, and working from home have changed our minds, bodies, and behaviors—for better and otherwise. It’s time to take stock of our relationship to personal technology and the growing need to distance ourselves.
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Now With Sleep Tracking
The original Nest Hub was a perfectly capable smart display, but as Google’s only model, it felt a bit lacking compared with Amazon’s Alexa-powered lineup.
OnePlus 9 Pro: Excellent Performance, Display, and Camera
The OnePlus 9 Pro smartphone delivers a streamlined flagship experience to T-Mobile and Verizon subscribers, finally catching up to its competitors. The phone itself is light in the hand, and the user experience is weightless as well.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15-Inch): Excellent Choice
The 15-inch version of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 offers one of the most refined computing experiences of any Windows laptop. With two color options and excellent build quality, it’s a standout big-screen notebook.
DJI Air 2S: Upgraded Camera and Obstacle Sensor
For all intents and purposes, the DJI Air 2S is last year’s Mavic Air 2 with an upgraded camera and obstacle sensors, expanded automatic camera movements, and the robust safety features and quality that have made DJI the market leader in aerial imaging.
10 Simple Ways to Make Better To-Do Lists
How effective is your to-do list? Does it help you plan your day and nudge you to prioritize the right tasks? Or is it a never-ending inventory of tasks you feel guilty for not having done yet, and now you’re not going to do any of them? A good to-do list should serve you. You should not be at its mercy.
Wyze Robot Vacuum: Affordable and Smart
Looking for an affordable robot to clean your floors? The Wyze Robot Vacuum offers a lot to like, including 2,100Pa of suction power and a laser sensor for mapping your home, a feature typically found only in more expensive models.
A versatile and impressive dual–band Wi–Fi 6 router
Intel's debut Iris Xe graphics cards are headed to prebuilt PCs (but not for gaming)
Intel will sell a discrete desktop GPU aimed at mainstream users and small businesses.
Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
A Ryzen 5000 series refresh, but does the “Dark” matter?
Asus ZenBook Flip 13: A beautiful laptop with one thing missing
Good-bye headset jack, we hardly knew ye.
3 WAYS GAMING PHONES EXCEL - YOU DON'T GET THIS IN AN iPHONE OR GALAXY
THE ROG PHONE 3 AND LEGION PHONE DUEL STILL HAVE TRICKS UP THEIR SLEEVE.
How to speed up your home Internet and Wi-Fi on the cheap
I doubled our home Wi-Fi performance and saved hundreds.
Asus ROG Strix Go 2.4
Ready, set, go
Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero
Potent yet pricey
Asus ZenBook Flip 15
It’s chunky and it’s weird, but we’re still intrigued
The $3,333 Pink Pariah
There’s nothing quite like overkill for a living-room gaming PC