The AC88U runs ASUS' ASUSWRT OS, so has a familiar look and supports its extensive feature set. What's new for the AC88U (and AC5300) is the Game Boost section that includes the new WTFast feature.
ASUS RT-AC88U Advanced landing page
You access WTFast via the Game Boost page, which also includes LAN Boost and Real-Time Network protection sections. LAN Boost is normally off (the screenshot shows a Firefox display problem). Turning it on just enables Adaptive QoS and applies the Game profile. The Real-Time Network Protection Go button just redirects you to the AiProtection section.
ASUS RT-AC88U Game Boost page
Judging from the discussion in the SNBForums and links to other information posted in the thread, it seems WTFast isn't well regarded. It works by routing game traffic through a WTFast's private network, which also acts as a VPN. This has caused some games to ban players using it. The other main negative is WTFast supports only Windows games (no console games).
WTFast is normally a paid service, but the partnering deal ASUS and WTFast have struck gives RT-AC88U and RT-AC5300 router owners a free account supporting one device, but with traffic caps.
If you're wondering whether you get Link Aggregation with all those ports, you apparently do, according to the GUI. There is no mention of this feature, or even the Switch Control tab at all, in the User manual. The direction to use LAN1 and LAN2 would seem to indicate aggregation is supported by the Broadcom processor SoC and not the Realtek switch. So aggregation should also be supported in the four port RT-AC3100.
ASUS RT-AC88U LAN Switch Control
One of these days we need to review ASUSWRT, especially since we reviewed RMerlin's wildly popular ASUSWRT-Merlin alternative, albeit just about three years ago (!) as I write this. Until then, I'll just note that ASUS' router OS is the most feature-rich router firmware out there and doesn't require a smartphone app to provide complete access to some features.
The AC88U's wireless feature set is pretty much the same as you've seen on ASUS' other routers. Wireless router, AP and Media Bridge (universal, no WDS required) modes are all supported. There is no Repeater mode. The General settings screen shows the defaults.
Wireless General Settings
Wireless Professional screens for 2.4 and 5 GHz offer more options including the wireless scheduler. Note Beamforming is supported on both bands and Airtime Fairness is enabled by default.
Wireless Professional Settings
Table 2 shows wireless settings options.
|Setting||2.4 GHz||5 GHz|
|Channel||Auto [default], 1 - 11||Auto [default], 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165|
b/g Protection [default checked]
Optimized for Xbox
N / AC mixed
Optimized for Xbox
Open System (WEP)
Shared Key (WEP)
WPA Auto Personal
WPA Auto Enterprise
Radius with 802.1x
Note: WEP and WPA options available only with Wireless Mode = Legacy