Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Review – JulieSimba
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Review

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Review

Gaming enthusiasts are used to paying a premium for high-end gear that will give them a competitive edge, but even the most seasoned gamers will balk at the price of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000. At $699.99, this massive gaming router is one of the most expensive we’ve ever tested. But it’s also one of the most advanced, offering quad-band networking with Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz), multiple multi-gigabit ports for wired connections, built-in network-security tools, support for mesh networking, and lots of gamer- centric settings. It’s a hyper-prepared choice for gamers who want to future-proof their network without regard to cost, and it delivered very fast throughput scores in testing. Still, if you don’t have any Wi-Fi 6E clients and aren’t planning to add them anytime soon, it’s an extravagance. Our Editors’ Choice winner, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000, is an excellent alternative, a Wi-Fi 6 gaming router that will save you around $300.

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The Design: A Rapture of the Giants

Measuring 7.6 by 13.9 by 13.9 inches (HWD), the GT-AXE16000 is easily the biggest consumer router to hit PC Labs. It makes the massive TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router look small in comparison. The top of the black plastic cabinet sports a textured grill and a reflective panel that has the same backlit Republic of Gamers logo found on the ROG Strix GS-AX5400 and the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 routers. The logo uses Asus’ Aura RGB lighting engine, which provides breathing, wave, rainbow, gradient, and static lighting effects, to name a few. The panel also holds LED activity indicators for the 10GbpsE, 2.5Gbps, and 1Gbps ports; all four radio bands; and system power.

The GT-AXE16000 uses eight non-removable adjustable antennas to broadcast over one 2.4GHz radio band, two 5GHz bands, and a 6GHz band. Ports are plentiful: In addition to four 1Gbps LAN ports, you get two 10Gbps LAN/WAN ports, one 2.5Gbps WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port. Both the LAN and WAN ports support link aggregation. All I/O ports are located on the rear of the router, along with a reset button, a power jack, and a power switch. On the left side of the router are WPS and LED On/Off buttons.

Asus GT-AXE16000 Wi-Fi router

The GT-AXE16000 is powered by a 2GHz quad-core CPU, 256MB of flash memory, and 2GB of DDR4 RAM. It’s a Wi-Fi 6E router, which means it can use the 6GHz radio band that was recently freed up for Wi-Fi networking. The new band offers up to seven additional 160MHz-wide channels for enhanced throughput performance and less network congestion. As for theoretical throughput, the GT-AXE16000 is rated for maximum data rates of up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, 4,804Mbps on each of the 5GHz bands, and 4,804Mbps on the 6GHz band, for a total of approximately 16,000Mbps (hence the numbers in its name).

In addition to Wi-Fi 6E, the GT-AXE16000 supports all of the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, including MU-MIMO data streaming, beam-forming, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), 160MHz channel bandwidth, 1,024 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), Target Wake Time, and WPA3 encryption. It also supports Asus’ AiMesh technology, which allows it to be used with other AiMesh devices that you already own or buy separately to create a whole-home Wi-Fi mesh network.


Share Wi-Fi Passwords Using QR Codes

As with other ROG routers, the GT-AXE16000 can be installed and managed using a slick gamer-themed web-based management console, or a mobile app. When you open the mobile app, the Home screen displays your network information including the name, IP address, and SSID names for each radio band. A game controller button on the right takes you to a screen where you can assign bandwidth prioritization for gaming, media streaming, work-from-home, learn-from-home, web surfing, and file transfer applications.

Asus app screens showing Aura RGB settings and mobile gaming speed status

A status circle in the center of the screen displays Aura RGB lighting settings, real-time network traffic statistics, network SSID names, CPU and memory usage, and the number of wired and wireless clients that are currently connected to the network. Arrows on either side of the circle allow you to toggle through the various status screens.

Beneath the circle are three buttons. The Status button displays all of the above-mentioned information, while the AiMesh button transforms the circle into a network map that shows all of your connected nodes. The Mobile Game Mode button takes you to a screen where you can give your mobile device high bandwidth priority for online gaming.

At the bottom of the home screen are Home, Devices, Insight, Family, and Settings buttons. The Devices button opens a screen where you can see which devices are currently connected and view traffic usage for each of them. Here you can also set bandwidth limits, apply QoS settings, and view each device’s IP and MAC address information.

Tap the Insight screen to search for available routers to add to your AiMesh network, share Wi-Fi access with other users via QR codes, and view security activity, such as blocked malicious websites or infected devices. To assign parental controls, tap the Family button. This is where you go to create profiles for family members and assign age-based parental control filters. Preset filters include Preschooler (0 to 6 years old), School-aged child (6 to 13 years old), Teen (13 to 18 years old), and Adult (18+ years old). Each preset offers various levels of protection for blocking access to social media and sites containing violence, gambling, and adult content.

Asus app screens showing parental control settings and QoS settings

The Settings button will let you configure Wi-Fi, WAN, and LAN settings. Here you can also configure the Trend Micro AiProtection feature, which offers malicious website blocking, infection device protection, and other anti-malware tools. Other settings let you run diagnostics, update firmware, configure a VPN with port forwarding, and enable Samba file sharing for attached USB drives.


Testing the ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000: Gigabit Real-World Speeds Get Closer

Installing the GT-AXE16000 is easy, whether you use the web console or the mobile app. I unplugged my modem, connected the router to it, and powered up both devices. Using the mobile app, I tapped Setup on the Welcome screen and selected Asus Wireless Router from the menu. Following the onscreen instructions, I used my phone’s Wi-Fi settings to connect to the router’s SSID and returned to the app. The GT-AXE16000 was immediately recognized, and I was prompted to create SSIDs and passwords for each radio band, and to create an admin account. I waited a minute for the app to apply my settings, connected to the new network, and waited another 30 seconds or so while the app was optimizing my network. Once optimized, the installation was finished.

We test Wi-Fi 6E routers using the iperf performance measurement utility and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra phone equipped with Wi-Fi 6E circuitry. Given this router’s impressive hardware specs, we expected high scores on our throughput performance tests, and the GT-AXE16000 did not disappoint. Its score of 128Mbps on the 2.4GHz close-proximity (same room) test was just a tad faster than the Netgear RAXE500 (127Mbps) but was 20% faster than the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E (106Mbps). Similarly, the GT-AXE16000’s score of 75Mbps on the 30-foot test was faster than both the Netgear RAXE500 (71Mbps) and the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E (33Mbps).

On the 5GHz close-proximity test, the GT-AXE16000 delivered a blistering 938Mbps, once again edging past the Netgear RAXE500 (936Mbps). Meanwhile, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E trailed with a score of 750Mbps. On the 30-foot test, the GT-AXE16000’s score of 521Mbps was second to the Netgear RAXE500 (530Mbps) but beat the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E (303Mbps) handily.

On our 6GHz throughput tests, the GT-AXE16000 managed 941Mbps on the close-proximity test and 401Mbps on the 30-foot test, beating the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E on both tests (927Mbps and 379Mbps, respectively) but coming in right behind the Netgear RAXE500 on both tests (951Mbps and 427Mbps, respectively).

To test file transfer performance, we move a 1.5GB folder containing photos, video, music, and office document files back and forth between an external USB 3.0 drive and a desktop PC (both connected to the router) and record the read and write speeds . On these tests the GT-AXE16000’s performance was merely average. Its write score of 48MBps was a bit slower than the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E (55MBps) and significantly slower than the Netgear RAXE500 (70MBps). Results on the read test were similar: the GT-AXE16000 scored 45MBps while the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E scored 57MBps and the Netgear RAXE500 scored 68MBps.

To test wireless signal strength, we use an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app to generate heat maps that show the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength throughout our test home. Note: Ekahau doesn’t yet support 6GHz signals. (Ekahau is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.)

Asus GT-AXE16000 2.4 ghz signal strength map

Asus GT-AXE16000 5 ghz signal strength map

Asus GT-AXE16000 2.4GHz (top) and 5GHz (bottom) signal strength maps.

The circles on the maps represent the location of the router, and the colors represent signal strength. Dark green represents the strongest signal, yellow is weaker, and gray indicates no measurable signal reception. As shown on the maps, the GT-AXE1600 did a good job of providing 2.4GHz signal coverage throughout the house, but 5GHz signal strength waned in the far corner of the den and in the garage.


What $700 Can Do For Your Wi-Fi Network

Not everybody needs the advanced networking capabilities that you get with the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000, and plunking down $700 for a router is out of the question for many. However, if you want the latest in networking technology and money is no object, this router might be worth it. It offers a good selection of high-speed ports, and uses Wi-Fi 6E technology to operate on the 6GHz radio band. As you’d expect, it’s loaded with gamer-friendly settings and delivers blazing throughput speeds. If you can afford this router, it’ll likely be the last one you’ll need for a few years (at least).

If you’d rather not part with such a large chunk of change and can live without Wi-Fi 6E support and 10Gbps Ethernet ports, our Editors’ Choice winner, the $399.99 Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000, offers speedy performance, excellent signal range , and the same gamer-friendly settings at a much more palatable price.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000

Pro

  • Fast throughput speeds in our tests

  • Support for Wi-Fi 6E

  • Three multi-gigabit ports

  • Comes with network-security and parental-control software

  • Can be expanded into a mesh system with additional units

  • Gamer-friendly settings

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The Bottom Line

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is a hard-to-justify $700, but this Wi-Fi gaming router delivers all the tasty goods: excellent throughput performance, 10Gbps wired Ethernet connectivity, and support for Wi-Fi 6E.

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