• Wireless Standard: IEEE 802.11ac
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
  • Security: 64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPS support
  • Others: WPS button, USB extension cable
  • Pros:
  • Dual-band support
  • USB extension cable
  • Blazing 5GHz band speeds
  • Cons:
  • Long build
  • Slower speeds on 2.4GHz band

Riding On AC

Have you ever ridden on the new 802.11ac wireless network? The speeds it offers is like riding a Ferrari after 20 years on an old bicycle. As fast as it is, though, not all devices are able to enjoy gigabit WLAN and the standard itself isn’t as commonly acceptable yet. Fret not, though; with the ASUS USB-AC53, you’ll be riding on AC like a black stallion on an open field.

This wireless adapter looks great, mostly because it stuck to the obsidian-diamond aesthetics that ASUS’ high-end routers sport. As stylish as it is, though, it won’t be a completely alien adapter. You remove the cap to reveal the USB port, and along the sides you’ll find a single button for easy connectivity via WPS.

Rummaging through the box, we’re glad to discover that ASUS has bundled a USB extension cable for the adapter. The cool bit is that the extender hub can be propped us as a stand for the adapter, or clipped onto the monitor to give the adapter better coverage.

It’s great that USB extender is provided here, because the AC53’s longer and chunkier design might be impeding other USB ports – it’ll also prove difficult to attach directly if you have limited space.
Aside from supporting 802.11ac, the AC53’s most awesome part would be its dual-band capabilities. You can toggle the adapter to function on either the 2.4GHz or the 5GHz one, which is great to avoid interference from other wireless devices in your vicinity.

You can certainly expect blazing transfer speeds here. While connected to the 5GHz network of an 802.11ac router, we managed a hearty 788Mbps of transfer speeds, which only depletes slightly in further distances (the reception strength of the AC53 is fantastic, by the way). Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy the same speeds on the 2.4GHz band, which is only capped at 300Mbps. It’s a bummer, but even so, we managed a solid 256Mbps in speeds on the 2.4GHz band.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re already astride the 802.11ac bandwagon (especially with an ASUS router), the USB-AC83 is a natural addition for your devices. You won’t just be getting blazing transfer speeds, but also a wonderful dose of dual-band support and nifty accessories. Simply marvellous.

(previously published in issue May 2012)