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Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router
At a glance
ProductASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router (RT-AC68P)   [Website]
SummaryV2 revision of Broadcom-based AC1900 router with a faster processor and improved storage throughput.
Pros• Supports router, AP, media bridge and WDS bridging/repeating
• Dual WAN option
• Faster USB 3.0 storage performance than the 68U
Cons• Available only from Best Buy
• Pricey for an AC1900 router

Typical Price: $200


You may have noticed the trend of "exclusives" for networking products, where products are available only from one or a handful of retailers. Best Buy has taken this one better with the RT-AC68P Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router, which is permanently available only from them, with the same $200 price tag commanded by its available-everywhere RT-AC68U.

The 68P is actually the RT-AC68V2, according to its FCC ID designation, and uses a different board with a few new components that I'll detail shortly. The callout diagram from its Quick Start guide shows that ports, lights and switches are the same as the 68U.

ASUS RT-AC68P callouts

ASUS RT-AC68P callouts

All features and functions of the 68P are the same as the 68U and, as such, it can be loaded with alternative firmware such as RMerlin's perennial favorite, Asuswrt-Merlin.


The real story of the 68P is its hardware design tweaks. ASUS asked the FCC to withhold internal pictures until next month (February 2015), so I opened up the review sample I purchased from Best Buy.

ASUS RT-AC68P board top without heatsinks

ASUS RT-AC68P board top without heatsinks

The view above, with heatsinks and RF can tops removed, is very similar to the photo below from the 68U's review. Note the addition of tape to ensure that the antenna cable doesn't get pinched, as it did in my 68U review sample. Also note the 68P's metal shield around the USB connectors, compared to nothing around the 68U's connectors.

ASUS RT-AC68U board top

ASUS RT-AC68U board top

Key components are summarized in Table 1 for both the 68P and 68U. Thanks to WikiDevi, I was able to identify the 2.4 GHz power amplifiers in both versions. The info below verifies information previously shared in this forum thread.

CPU Broadcom BCM4709 Broadcom BCM4708A
Switch In BCM4709 In BCM4708A
RAM 256 MB 256 MB
Flash 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Broadcom BCM4360
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - Broadcom BCM4360
- SiGE 5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- SiGE 5023L 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
Table 1: Component summary

The main differences are the upgraded processor (BCM4709) and different 5 GHz power amplifier. Output power is spec'd differently for the two devices, but there doesn't appear to be an appreciable difference.

The gallery below contains more photos of both the 68U and 68P boards with commentary.

Digging through the FCC ID filings turned up a Class II permissive change filed at the very end of 2014. Among the modifications the letter describes is changing the radio SoC from BCM4360 to BCM43602. The new chip is used in Broadcom-based AC3200 class routers like NETGEAR's R8000. It takes the BCM4360 3x3 802.11ac MAC/PHY and adds a local processor and 960 KB of SRAM to make a complete standalone radio.

The new device can't change any RF characteristics, but it will completely offload 802.11 packet processing from the main CPU. This could boost storage performance. I didn't expect my review sample had the BCM43602 and visual inspection confirmed this. I've asked ASUS when this change will be rolled into the 68P and will update when I hear back.

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