The number of wireless devices in our lives is growing at breakneck speed. A modern home can easily house more a dozen devices between smartphones, tablets, PCs, consoles, smart TVs, and an expanding range of IoT gear like digital assistants. That’s a lot to manage under one roof, especially during peak times, when concurrent streaming, surfing, and gaming sessions are all vying for their share of the bandwidth.
Next-generation 802.11ax WiFi is built for high-density public installations like airports and arenas. With higher throughput per channel and the ability to pack data from multiple clients more efficiently into the available spectrum, it’s designed to for lots of people and lots of devices. That’s what makes 802.11ax perfect for power users who want to future-proof their home networks, and we've taken it to the next level in the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router.
Borrowing techniques from the cellular industry, 802.11ax can serve more devices simultaneously and better cater to users' individual needs, whether that’s lower latency for lag-free gaming or guaranteed packet delivery for uninterrupted streaming. Unlike the previous generation 802.11ac, which is limited to the 5GHz band, 802.11ax is capable of operating in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz territory. The boost in throughput per band comes via an upgrade to 1024-QAM modulation, which allows the wireless carrier signal to carry more information. This enables speeds up to 25% faster than the 256-QAM modulation introduced with 802.11ac.
In multi-user environments, higher throughput for individual devices isn’t as important as greater capacity for concurrent connections. Thanks to its broader MU-MIMO implementation, 802.11ax improves real-world performance by allowing access points to communicate with more devices at the same time. Support for up to eight downstream and eight upstream channels is a big increase compared to the four downstream and one upstream link available in 802.11ac. The leap in uplink capacity is especially good for live-streaming on Twitch and uploading high-resolution footage of your battle royale victories.
While MU-MIMO increases the number of lanes capable of carrying traffic, a technique taken from 4G LTE technology makes more efficient use of each one. In the OFDM system used with 802.11ac, access points talk to one client at a time on each channel while the next client waits its turn. The virtual truckloads of data traveling in each lane can only carry data for one user, but users don’t always have enough information for a full load, leading to wasted capacity. In 802.11ax, the signal is split into sub-channels using Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, or OFDMA. Each truckload can carry data for multiple clients, and the distribution changes based on demand. This approach uses available bandwidth much more efficiently, and it also lowers latency by allowing high-priority data to hitch a ride sooner, instead of languishing in line. Combined with smarter scheduling, OFDMA is the key to allowing 802.11ax access points to manage the torrent of data and multitude of devices in crowded wireless networks.
We announced a whole family of next-generation 802.11ax WiFi routers at Computex 2018, and the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 offers the highest speed and capacity for gamers and enthusiasts. The world’s first tri-band 802.11ax router, it boasts peak aggregate throughput of nearly 11,000Mbps across its three bands. The GT-AX11000 is capable of up to 1148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 4804Mbps on each of its dual 5GHz bands, and the second 5GHz band can be reserved for gaming devices to prevent other wireless activity from interfering with your primary machines. With WiFi Radar, the router can analyze the surrounding environment and use DFS band switching to hop the dedicated gaming band to the best channel for maximum performance.
Most wireless routers feature Gigabit Ethernet for wired connections, but the Rapture GT-AX11000 kicks things up a notch with a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port capable of much higher hardline speeds. The extra bandwidth allows a single system to communicate with multiple gigabit-class devices at top speed, or exploit NAS devices that team multiple ports to achieve higher throughput. The 2.5Gbps port can also be switched into WAN mode to take advantage of internet connections that offer greater than gigabit speeds.
A future firmware update will bring support for AiMesh, so you’ll be able to run 2.5Gbps wired backhaul to combine two Raptures across a larger area with lots of physical obstructions. If your old router is AiMesh compatible, it can serve as a third node in your mesh network for even wider coverage.
Traffic from the Rapture’s 2.5Gbps port cuts to the front of the line to ensure increases in network activity don't impact your game. This isn’t the only way to prioritize packets with the GT-AX11000, though. Game Boost adaptive QoS analyzes network activity, juggling packets to bump gaming traffic ahead of everything else, and it can be configured to ensure your primary machines take precedent over other devices. This prevents high-bandwidth tasks like downloading and streaming from introducing lag to multiplayer gaming. Support for the WTFast Gamers Private Network provides an optimized path for gaming packets when they leave the router, extending acceleration from your home LAN to the internet at large.
With VPN Fusion, the GT-AX11000 lets clients connect to one of multiple virtual private networks without any additional software. Individual VPNs are configured on the router, and you can assign devices to each one or have them bypass the VPNs entirely. This is just one of many advanced features that run on the router’s powerful quad-core processor. Some features, like Game Boost and WiFi Radar, can be toggled with a new Turbo Key conveniently located on the outside of the chassis.
||ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
||1 x 2.5G LAN/WAN
4 x 1G LAN
||2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
1GB DDR3 RAM
||8 x external
The ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is primed for multi-user environments with lots of devices clamoring for bandwidth, and it's ideal for gamers looking to reinforce their network for the future. Look for it in North America in Q3, with pricing and specifics on retail availability to be announced closer to the street date. Contact your local ROG representative for details about availability in other regions.