Enjoyable PC gaming requires a steady hand, sharp reflexes, and most important, a good connection to the internet. The Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 can’t help you with the first two, but it can help you make sure that your network is optimized for the ultimate gaming experience. This dual-band Wi-Fi 6 gaming router not only offers tools designed to reduce latency and provide maximum bandwidth for online gamers, but it delivers speedy throughput and comes with strong network security and parental control tools. That makes it our new Editors’ Choice for midrange Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Stylish Angles Decked Out In RGB
The GS-AX5400 has a stylish angular design and features an RGB light bar with customizable effects. The cabinet is black and has a textured top that sports a Republic of Gamers badge, as well as LED activity indicators for power, WAN, and both radio bands. It measures 2.1 by 10.2 by 7.0 inches (HWD) and has four non-removable adjustable antennas.
Around back are a WAN port, four gigabit LAN ports, a USB 3.2 port, a power jack, a power switch, a WPS button, and a reset button. You won’t find any multi-gig ports like the 2.5Gbps port found on the TP-Link Archer AX11000, but you can configure the GS-AX5400's LAN ports for link aggregation. Moreover, one of the LAN ports is dedicated for gaming, automatically prioritizing a gaming console or PC you connect to it.
The GS-AX5400 supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, including 160MHz channel bandwidth, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), Target Wake Time, MU-MIMO data streaming, beam-forming, and WPA3 encryption. It's also compatible with the Asus AiMesh feature, which allows you to connect certain Asus routers together to create a whole-home Wi-Fi mesh system.
The GS AX-5400 is powered by a 1.5GHz tri-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 256MB of flash memory. As a dual-band AX5400 router, it can hit maximum data rates of up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz band.
You can install and manage the GS-AX5400 using a web console or with the Asus mobile app for iOS and Android. Both are chock full of settings that will help you tweak your network for optimal gaming performance, but the mobile app offers a slicker interface than the web console. It opens to a Home screen with a cool game-inspired background theme. At the top of the screen is a panel with the network name, IP address, and SSID for both bands. There’s also a game controller icon that takes you to a screen where you can assign prioritization for one of several applications including gaming, media streaming, web surfing, and file transferring.
In the center of the Home screen is a status circle that displays a colorful real-time network traffic chart. Tap the arrow on the left or right to have the circle display the network name and SSID names, CPU and RAM usage, number of connected wired and wireless clients, and Aura RGB settings.
Below the circle are icons for configuring a mesh network and enabling Mobile Game Mode, which boosts bandwidth allotment and decreases latency when you're playing games on your mobile device.
At the very bottom of the Home screen are Devices, Insight, Family, and Settings buttons. The Devices button opens a screen where you can view a list of all connected devices. Tap any device to view real-time traffic usage for that device, set bandwidth limits, apply QoS settings, and view the device’s IP and MAC address information.
The Insight screen lets you search for available routers to add to your AiMesh network, share Wi-Fi access via a QR code, check your password strength, and view security events like blocked malicious websites or infected devices.
The Family button opens a screen where you can create profiles for family members and assign age-based parental control filters that block access to social media and sites that contain violence, gambling, and adult content.
Finally, the Settings button takes you to a screen where you can configure AiProtection (the router's anti-malware feature) and parental controls, run network diagnostics, configure Open NAT (port forwarding), enable and configure application-based QoS settings, update the router firmware, and configure Wi-Fi, LAN, and WAN settings.
Easy Setup, Plenty of Throughput for Gaming
Setting up the GS-AX5400 router was easy. I unplugged my modem, connected the GS-AX5400 to the modem and to a nearby desktop PC, and powered up the modem and the router. At this point you can use the mobile app or the web console to install the router. I chose the latter and typed http://router.asus.com into a browser bar on the connected desktop, which launched the setup utility. I opted to separate the two bands, gave them names and passwords, and was prompted to update the firmware. After a few minutes the update and installation were complete.
The GS-AX5400 delivered solid numbers on our throughput performance tests. Its score of 128Mbps on the 2.4GHz close proximity (same room) test was faster than the TP-Link Archer AX90 AX6600 (109Mbps), the Linksys MR9600 AX6000 (111Mbps), and the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (122Mbps). The TP-Link Archer AX11000 led the pack with a score of 133Mbps. At a distance of 30 feet, the GS-AX5400 garnered 44Mbps, once again outperforming all but the TP-Link Archer AX11000 (67Mbps).
The GS-AX5400 turned in high scores on the 5GHz throughput tests. Its score of 846Mbps edged out the TP-Link Archer AX90 AX6600 (841Mbps), the Linksys MR9600 AX6000 (840Mbps), and the TP-Link Archer AX11000 (831Mbps), but couldn’t match the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (865Mbps). However, its score of 424Mbps on the 30-foot 5GHz test took top honors.
We test wireless signal strength using an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app. This combination generates heat maps that show the GS-AX5400’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength throughout our test home. The white circle on the map represents the location of the router, and the colors represent signal strength with darker greens indicating the strongest signal. Yellows indicate a weaker signal, and grays indicate no perceptible signal reception.2.4GHz signal strength map
As illustrated by the maps, the GS-AX5400 did a relatively good job of delivering a reliable 2.4GHz signal throughout the home, but the 5GHz signal was weaker in the far corners of the house.5GHz signal strength map
To test file transfer performance, we move a 1.5GB folder containing photos, video, music, and office document files back and forth between a USB 3.0 drive and a desktop PC that are both connected to the router in order to test write and read speeds.
The GS-AX5400’s write speed of 69MBps was a hair faster than the TP-link Archer AX11000 (68MBps) and 15MBps faster than the TP-Link Archer AX90, but couldn’t catch the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 or the Linksys MR9600 AX6000, both of which scored 73MBps. The GS-AX5400’s score of 85MBps on the read test was identical to the TP-Link Archer AX11000 and faster than the TP-Link Archer AX90 (58MBps), the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (76MBps), and the Linksys MR9600 AX6000 (70MBps).
A Big Level Up for Serious Gamers
If you’re looking to boost your online gaming performance, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 router can help. It provided fast throughput in our performance tests and offers free lifetime network security tools and robust parental controls. It also gives you several gamer-friendly utilities designed to give you a competitive edge by optimizing bandwidth and reducing lag. It lacks multi-gig connectivity and it has only a single USB port, but its overall performance and features earn it an Editors’ Choice nonetheless.
If you require a router with more connectivity options, check out the TP-Link Archer AX11000 (also an Editors’ Choice winner). It’s more expensive, but it offers excellent performance, multi-gig WAN, eight LAN ports, and lots of gaming settings.