Reasonably priced. Solid throughput performance. Built-in Trend Micro protection. A wealth of management settings.
Middling file-transfer speeds. Lacks Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) support.
- Bottom Line
Asus's RT-AC1900P midrange Wi-Fi router delivers solid throughput performance and plenty of features at a reasonable price.
If you're looking for an under-$200 router to bring fast Wi-Fi to your home, put the Asus RT-AC1900P Dual-Band Wireless AC-1900 Gigabit Router ($179.99) on your short list. Designed for medium to large homes, the RT-AC1900P performed well in our 2.4GHz and 5GHz throughput tests, and offers a solid feature set, including four Gigabit LAN ports, two USB ports, loads of management settings, and protection against malicious websites and infected clients. You don't get Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming support and its file-transfer speeds are mediocre, but it's still worth considering if you have a limited budget.
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Design and Features
The RT-AC1900P looks similar to the RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router that it replaces in the Asus router lineup. The device has a glossy-black, textured finish, sits vertically on a stand, and measures 6.2 by 8.6 by 3.2 inches (HWD). Three removal and adjustable antennas protrude from the top of the router, and there are 10 blue LED status lights along the bottom: four for LAN activity, one for WAN activity, two for USB connectivity, two for Wi-Fi connectivity, and one for power. At the rear are four Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a power button, and an LED light On/Off button. The right side of the router has a WPS button and a Wi-Fi On/Off button.
Under the hood are a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 256MB of RAM, and 802.11ac circuitry that supports AC1900 Wi-Fi, with speeds of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. The RT-AC1900P comes with beamforming technology, which sends data directly to clients, rather than over a broad spectrum, but it doesn't support MU-MIMO data streaming, which sends data to compatible clients simultaneously, rather than sequentially.
You can manage the RT-AC1900P using a web-based management console or with the Asus Router mobile app. The console's main screen contains menus for General and Advanced settings on the left, a Network Map in the middle, and System Status details on the right. There's also a Setup Wizard that makes it easy to get the router up and running quickly. General settings include Guest Networking, a Traffic Analyzer, and AiCloud, which lets you turn a connected USB drive into a cloud drive. There's also a USB application section, with support for iTunes, Samba, Time Machine, FTP-server, and print-server functionality.
The Adaptive Quality of Service (QoS) screen has a bandwidth monitor that displays upload and download bandwidth use for connected clients. Here, you can set network priority for specific clients, limit bandwidth, and view web browsing histories for each client. The AiProtection feature, powered by Trend Micro, offers several network protection services, including routine scans for vulnerabilities, malicious site blocking, and infected client blocking. AiProtection also has Parental Controls with website filtering, app filtering, and time scheduling.
Advanced Wireless settings are made up of SSID editing, channel control, authentication method, MAC address filtering, and a host of professional settings, while LAN settings allow you to configure IP and DHCP settings and create routing rules. Here, you'll also find Firewall, VPN, and IPv6 settings, as well as Administration settings that let you upgrade firmware, view system logs, and change passwords.
Installation and Performance
As is the case with most routers, the RT-AC1900P is easy to install, thanks to the above-mentioned Setup Wizard. Once the router is plugged in and connected to a host PC and the internet, a browser page automatically launches the Setup Wizard. Here, you can check your internet connection and configure basic wireless security settings in a matter of minutes.
The RT-AC1900P turned in very good scores in our throughput performance tests. Its score of 98Mbps in our 2.4GHz close-proximity (same-room) test was a hair faster than the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (97.3Mbps) and the Synology Router RT1900ac (95.9Mbps), but a bit slower than the D-Link AC3150 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-885L/R) (103Mbps) and the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (108Mbps). At a distance of 30 feet, the RT-AC1900P (75.8Mbps) was a good deal faster than the Linksys EA7500 (52.1Mbps) and the Synology RT1900ac (45.6Mbps), and slightly faster than the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (75.3Mbps). The D-Link DIR885L/R led with a score of 85.5Mbps.
Performance on the 5GHz band was impressive. The RT-AC1900P's score of 533Mbps was faster than the Synology Router RT1900ac (479Mbps) and the Linksys EA7500 (495Mbps), but not the D-Link DIR-885L/R (572Mbps) and the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (590Mbps). Its score of 337Mbps in the 30-foot test was second only to the D-Link DIR-885L/R (350Mbps); the Linksys EA7500 had a throughput of 298Mbps, the Synology RT1900ac gained 231Mbps, and the Trendnet AC2600 StreamBoost MU-MIMO WiFi Router (TEW-827DRU) scored 260Mbps.
File-transfer performance, which we test by transferring a 1.5GB folder containing music, video, photo, and document files, was merely average. The RT-AC1900P's scores of 34.2MBps in the write test and 35.1MBps in the read test were similar to those of the D-Link DIR-885L/R (33.2MBps write and 44.1MBps read), but couldn't match our leader, the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router (R9000), which garnered 77.1MBps and 89.1MBps, respectively.
Solid performance and a wealth of features make the Asus RT-AC1900P Dual-Band Wireless AC-1900 Gigabit Router a great deal for $180. While its file-transfer speeds are mediocre, it delivers fast close-range and long-range throughput on both bands. You get a full array of I/O ports with this router, as well as a wealth of management options, including comprehensive network protection powered by Trend Micro. You don't get support for MU-MIMO data streaming, however. Admittedly, there aren't an abundance of MU-MIMO-compatible clients currently, but there surely will be. If you want a midrange router that's a bit more future-proof, check out our midrange Editors' Choice, the D-Link AC3150 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-885L/R), it offers better all-around performance, and supports MU-MIMO data streaming and open-source firmware.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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