Asus Blue Cave Manual – The Asus Blue Cave is a dual-band Wi-Fi router geared toward smart home owners with support for Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. It also includes built-in Trend Micro antivirus and network protection for added peace of mind.
Under its sleek canopy, it features a dual-band Wi-Fi configuration, with a 2.4 GHz band and a 5GHz band, plus four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired networks and a USB storage-sharing port. With a higher price compared to the Asus RT-AC86U itself, the design of this router and the intelligent features of your home differentiate it.
Unlike many routers, the Blue Cave of Asus is designed to be seen instead of hidden. Its white exterior, matte around the sides, bright at the front, measures 160 x 160 x 80 mm and is perforated by a large blue donut-shaped hole. It is an attractive and intriguing design, which apparently has no performance benefits at all. In fact, Asus has even talked about the challenges he faced in designing the product to solve his blue cave of the same name.
In addition to its light blue metallic finish, the ring also glows blue during setup and lights up blue when it is working properly. There is also a smaller LED indicator next to the Asus logo on the front side.
With a weight of 800 g and with four small rubber feet at its base, the Blue Cave sits stably, unlike most cheap routers. The ring also makes it very easy to lift and move.
On the back is all the connectivity, consisting of four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one WAN port and one USB 3.0 port. Next to these are the power button, the power socket, the reset button and the WPS button.
Asus Blue Cave Manual – The USB port can be used, among other things, to connect a USB storage device or a printer so that it can be shared on the network. USB storage devices can also be configured with Time Machine and made accessible from anywhere through the AiCloud function.
Inside the Blue Cave you will find a 4 × 4 2600 Wi-Fi configuration that works with an Intel dual-core processor of 1.6 GHz, 512 MB of RAM and 128 MB of flash memory. This hardware makes the blue cave well above with modern routers in terms of Wi-Fi capability and speed, as you would expect given its high price.
The blue Cave can be configured via the Asus mobile application or through a conventional web interface. Whatever route you choose, it’s a fairly simple process. The router will prompt you for a new administrator name and password, names for the two Wi-Fi bands, and then attempt to automatically connect to your Internet connection. If you can’t do it automatically, it’s easy enough to manually choose the type of connection required.
Like most routers, the Blue Cave does not have a broadband modem, so you still need the router or modem your ISP provides for your Internet connection to work.
Asus Blue Cave Manual – Once configured, you can access the Asus Web interface to provide a lot of options. In fact, considering that this router is directed more to the occasional buyer than to the enthusiast, a slightly more simplified menu, at least as a default, seems the most sensible option.
In any case, what you get is a menu on the left, a network map in the center and a System status panel on the right. This shows the use of the CPU and the RAM, in addition to providing a quick access to configure the Wi-Fi bands.
Under the General menu, there are advanced options that include separate sections for the Wi-Fi, LAN, and WAN aspects of the router, along with an Alexa and IFTTT option and more menus for IPv6, VPN, and firewall support.
The Guest network system allows you to set up six different guest menus, three per band, so you can really adjust access for different users. Meanwhile, AiProtection offers options for network protection and parental control. The first is driven by Trend Micro and seeks to intercept malware, viruses and malicious websites before they reach the rest of their network.
The traffic manager allows you to prioritize network traffic for certain applications, ensuring that your gaming traffic is superior to your downloads, for example. The Traffic analyzer allows you to control which network traffic has been active when, making it easier to track client devices that are hogging the network at certain times.
When it comes to USB support, Asus has by far the most complete of all router companies. The only USB port on this router can be used to share files from a USB storage device, make those same files accessible from the Internet using AIDisk, you can share a printer, add Time Machine, and even add a 3G/4G dongle so you can get your Internet connection from a mobile source.
Some of these functions are more complicated than others but, in general, they all work as we expect and are a great addition to this router. It’s a shame there are no more USB ports so you can use more than one of the features at the same time.
Of the options in the Advanced menus, the main ones to consider are the support of Alexa and IFTTT. The first allows you to use voice commands to do things like pausing the Internet connection, enabling a guest network or updating the firmware.
With IFTTT you can create applets that trigger responses when the router detects something. For example, you can have the router fire an email when a device connects to the network, or you can turn off your wireless network when it comes out and back on when you return.
Both Alexa and IFTTT are nice additions that really add key functionality to an existing smart house. They require a degree of effort to really make the most of it, but at least the option is there.
With quite powerful hardware under its hood, we would expect a solid performance of the Blue Cave, both closely and at its fingertips, and most certainly, to a large extent it offers. However, it is by no means the fastest router that exists.
Testing at short range using the fastest 5 GHz band, we measure an average speed of 316.5 Mbps. That’s fast enough for most applications, but other routers, such as Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop x1, surpass it.
It is a similar story using the 2.4 GHz band, where an average of 90Mbps is below 100Mbps + of some alternatives.
As for a longer range, the Blue Cave holds surprisingly well. With the router placed on a ground floor in a three-storey house, we take steps on one floor up and then two floors up in two different rooms: one directly above the router (test two) and one that is on one side.
In the shortest test on the first floor, the Blue Cave follows all the other routers that we have compared it to, but then it is third in the most challenging test on the second floor and, curiously, leads our other test on the second floor. Crucially, in all of our tests, the router provided a completely wide speed and reliability, even for things like HD video streaming.
The Asus Blue Cave is not the last word in the performance of the router, but it is maintained by itself and must provide ample Wi-Fi coverage for very important households, and offers a clear update on most of the routers provided by Isp.
Its inclusion of the compatibility with Alexa and IFTTT is good to see, although it is not unique, while AiProtection keeps its network more secure also. A complete list of other capabilities also means that this is a very low-cut router.
However, it lacks that special feature to make the Blue cave a convincing purchase, given its high price.
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