If you’re on this page, you’re either searching for a “Router review” or NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter review” specifically, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.
The NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter is a router that is manufactured by Asus, and pre-flashed by Flashrouters with DD-WRT.
So, without beating around the bush, let me get you what you’re here for.
NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter Review
Let’s first start with the Specs being offered with the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter:
- Firmware: DD-WRT
- Three Wireless frequency bands: 2.4/ Dual 5GHz.
- 2 USB Ports: 13.0 & 12.0
- 8 External Antennas (4X4)
- MU-MIMO technology.
- Security: WPA2 Enterprise Mixed, RADIUS, WEP , WPA2 Enterprise, WPA2 Personal Mixed, WPA Personal, WPA Enterprise, WPA2 Personal.
- Processor: Dual Core, 1.4GHz
- RAM: 512 MB
- Flash Memory: 128MB
- 4 External Ports: 1 WAN, 4LAN.
I believe the above specs would paint you a quaint picture of the powers and capabilities that the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter is capable of.
Let me break down those specs with some personal inputs for this NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter review.
1. 3 Wireless Frequency Bands
The wireless frequency bands of any router are of utmost importance, as they determine the throughput and coverage, don’t they?
Unlike most other routers in this price-bracket offering just 2 bands, the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter boasts 3 for itself. Specifically, two 5GHz bands, and one 2.4 GHz.
The 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands let you control how much interference you should expect, or the range.
The 2.4GHz band provides for a wider range, but with that, it also brings in higher interference, because most other devices such as Bluetooth, ovens etc function on the same frequency.
While the 5GHz bands eliminates majority of the interference, but you have to pay for that with limited range as it’s not as wide as the 2.4GHz frequency.
The amount of interference also influences the speed of your connection, so with the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter you get to switch between the modes as per your requirements.
Seems ASUS wasn’t satisfied yet, so they powered it with ASUS Smart Connect, which makes sure the users always get consistent bandwidth by automatically shuttling between the 2.4 of Dual 5GHz bandwidth based on a number of factors such as strength, speed and load.
As far as the range goes, it too is extended up to 5,000 sq. ft. which I’d is pretty good coverage.
So as for the bands, the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter won’t leave you disappointed and offers more options than most.
2. 802.11ac Technology
The router is said to be equipped with the latest 802.11ac 4×4 technology which guarantees maximum throughput which is 5334 Mbps for the router.
The 802.11ac 4×4 technology is the latest member in the WiFi family with the minimum throughput of 1gigabit/second for multistation, and single-link throughput of 500Mbits/second.
The 802.11ac is the successor for 802.11n, although the primary new superpower that the 802.11ac brings in itself is the support for 8 antennas which wasn’t the case earlier.
Also, “Beamforming” is another important feature that you get with 802.11ac and so eventually with the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter.
It’s the ability for your router to “see through” obstacles and walls and determine where it’s dropping the signal, this provides for much lesser interference as earlier the 802.11n version didn’t have this “transparency”.
Another superpower that the beamforming technology brings with itself is the power to provide for stronger throughput even though “dead spots” or obstacles at your home.
It’s specifically helpful for those of us who have quite a few AC devices at our homes, because that’s when we expect higher interference which the beamforming technology helps reduce.
Although the 802.11ac technology is available only for the 5GHz bands, so that somewhat contradicts with its usefulness.
3. MU-MIMO Technology
You might have noticed, that the more devices you have connected to your router, the slower is the speed, that’s because with devices which do not have the MU-MIMO technology, every device needs to wait for its turn to send and receive data.
That’s where the MU-MIMO tech comes to our rescue, the MU-MIMO technology allows us to connect to multiple clients and at the maximum speed of those respective clients simultaneously.
The term is basically an abbreviation for – Multi User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output.
So the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter lets us connect more than one devices to your WiFi simultaneously with the above-said technology, without slowing your connection down.
This also facilitates higher bandwidth requiring tasks to be completed smoothly, such as gaming or video-streaming, which otherwise lag up, and take a lot of buffering time.
In my personal experience, considering how I have over 6 devices connected most of the time, I’d say this was a primary decisive factor helping me buy the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter.
4. 1.4GHz Dual Core Broadcom Processor
The processing power/speed, and number of cores becomes highly relevant to users like us who install custom firmware like DD-WRT as we need to make sure our firmware holds per-core tasks well, right?
Also again for higher-end tasks such as gaming and video-streaming the processor’s qualifications do come under review, and after using the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter for nearly a week before scribbling this review down, I can say it handles the constant encryption and decryption required for the process pretty good.
Especially because when we use our routers as VPN endpoints, it demands for higher encryption and decryption of traffic, which in turn again asks for a better and faster processor.
And in my own personal experience, the USB data transfer speed reaches as high as 93mbps for which as well all the thanks goes to the processors.
As far as the RAM and Flash memory go, it comes with 512mb of RAM and 128mb flash memory, that’s a more, a lot more than what we normally expect with routers (< 100mb).
In case you’re not sure why you need enough RAM and Flash-memory, well more RAM allows for more throughput (among many other things), and more flash-memory supports heavier firmware, Mega DD-WRT for example! It also allows Journal Flashing File System to be installed in case needs arise.
So in a nutshell, the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter is pretty heavy and solid as far as its hardware go.
5. 4X4 External Antennae
Not a lot of general consumer routers provide external antennae; yeah they’ve totally abandoned the concept. The Linksys consumer models and the Apple Airport Extreme fall under this category.
Although the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter packs as many as 8 external antennas.
They’re divided on a 4X4 infrastructure, meaning sets of 4 are used to send and receive data (download and upload).
This is the first model from Asus featuring external antennas of any kind, also because these are external they provide for easy removal and upgrades.
The antennae is coupled with AirRadar universal beamforming to get us a much wider, and satisfying range.
It’s worth singling out that MU-MIMO is also made better with the help of these 8 external antennas, although that specific feature also is possible without external Antennae in case you were wondering.
Security is another primary factor that needs to be considered while shopping for your next routers, isn’t that right?
Well the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter provides for quite a few security protocols. Namely:
- WPA2 Enterprise,
- WPA2 Enterprise Mixed,
- WPA2 Personal Mixed,
- WPA Personal,
- WPA Enterprise,
- WPA2 Personal.
Let’s see what these actually mean from a consumer’s perspective.
WEP basically stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, every single wireless station along with each SSID is shielded with a 64-bit or 128-bit shared key for data encryption.
This is one of the oldest encryptions known to man, so naturally it isn’t as secure as the other ones on this list. Although it’s an option you can leverage in case you need to connect to devices which are from 19-something and do not support modern security protocols.
WPA stands for Wireless Protected Access, it was primarily made with the purpose of replacing the WEP protocols. The primary difference is that it uses a dynamic key encryption.
There are two modes that the WPA supports:
- WPA Personal: It’s the protocol which supports two encryption protocols, namely Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) or AES data encryption. TKIP makes use of dynamic key encryption, while AES relies on 128-bit block protection.
- WPA-Enterprise: It basically is a protocol which uses WPA combined with RADIUS authentication.
WPA 2 is technically the best security protocol, especially for wireless transmission. Moreover, it too boasts two security modes, which function slightly different than they do with WPA:
- WPA2- Personal: The WPA personal protocol for WPA 2 always uses AES to encrypt our data.
- WPA2- Enterprise: Similar to WPA Enterprise, this mode too uses AES for data encryption, coupled with RADIUS authentication.
Finally the WPA + WPA 2 brings in the security and features of both the WPA and WPA 2 security modes, it makes the transition to WPA 2- Personal from WPA Personal, and WPA 2 Enterprise from WPA Enterprise whenever required.
And finally, RADIUS is primarily used for client-authentication and WEP key generation.
In a nutshell, from what I’ve just said about the router, and from the lengths and breadths of my own technical knowledge, the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter won’t leave you with any security loopholes that’s a granted.
7. 2 USB Ports (13.0 & 12.0)
Why you need USB ports for your router needs no explanation, does it? I personally use it to make it into a public FTP server over static IP.
Although a more common use may be found when you connect your hard-disk or printers to a router and let all the other devices on the network access it.
And, at times the USB ports also let you print using the print server.
So bottom line, a USB port has more than one uses, and with the NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter
8. Adaptive QoS (Quality of Service)
The Asus AC5300 comes inbuilt with Adaptive QOS, what this means for us as consumers and as far as my own personal experience goes is that let’s us prioritize bandwidth allocation (among other things).
For me personally, I could prioritize “Gaming” over other tasks such as video-streaming or instant-messaging.
It also provides for advanced parental locks (which I’m sure my parents know nothing about) but if you do have children, features such as website blocking and time-specific internet access do come in handy.
9. 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
Its 4 LAN ports let’s us connect as many as 4 Ethernet compatible devices, it’s not something I personally use a lot, but the feature exists and hence it’s being mentioned over here.
Various devices such as Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, and set-top boxes can be connected to the ports and the router can be turned into an entertainment hub.
Another sub-feature its ports boast of is their “Link Aggression” system. It’s an advanced process where two teaming ports combine together and get us ultrafast speeds on wired Ethernet connections.
10. Advanced Gaming and Security Features
After using it for over a week, and reviewing all its features and performances closely, I can state it’s specifically built for Gamers and Video streamers (in my personal opinion).
The advanced QoS settings for example let us monitor bandwidth consumption by each individual device, as well as view the web-history for those devices. It can also be used to prioritize one task over the other (for e.g. Gaming over Video streaming).
Then there’s “Ai protection” which acts as an all-around protector for the router and lets multiple settings to be enabled/disabled according to user-preference.
It can be accessed from the AiProtection option on the left-sidebar. For starters, it offers an in-built scanner which scans the router for potential vulnerabilities.
Then it uses the Trend Micro database to determine if the websites being visited may be malicious, if so the access is restricted.
Because a router is mostly connected to multiple devices, AiProtection also protects the connection from being attacked from outside ,as well as the other devices connected to the router.
Ingoing and Outgoing packets are blocked if they trigger any red-flags and this prevents DDoS attacks and spam. The interface for all of this is pretty easy to understand even by 5th graders, or your grandparents.
It also supports GPN (The Gamers Private Network) which helps the router decide the fastest data delivery route, which in turn results in much lower ping-times and lesser data-loss thus providing for a much better gaming experience than we’ve had with most other routers void of this feature.
11. Guest Network
The Asus RT-5300 has these Guest modes which allow you to share your internet with your guests, without granting anymore access than is required. This keeps your connection and other devices safe and private while letting your guests enjoy internet.
It supports 3 guest accounts on both its frequency bands each. You can also set restrictions which ensure the network isn’t abused.
As is shown in the above screenshot, the “Access time” can be limited right to the minutes. The bandwidth too can be limited individually for downloads as well as uploads. Obviously the network can also be offered completely free of these restrictions as well.
12. Pre DD-WRT Flashed
The NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter is pre-flashed for DD-WRT, now this means multiple things for us as users.
First, I didn’t have to go through the not so easy process of flashing the router with DD-WRT. It comes pre-installed with all the benefits of the firmware.
This means you can overclock your router (in most cases) up to 632MHz. The speed too is increased up to 50Mbps (comparatively, read our DD-WRT vs. Tomato comparison for details).
DD-WRT also has very frequency updated and active support community. Also, if you ever were to upgrade, you getting familiar with DD-WRT is in your favour. It has a wider range of support for routers as compared to other firmware.
If you’re using repeaters, again, DD-WRT offers you more features than your stock firmware would. Also, contrary to popular belief, it’s completely legal to flash or own flashed routers. Sure there are a few legal limits which shouldn’t be crossed.
That’s what buying a pre-flashed router helps you with. You get a supercharged router, without unconsciously crossing legal boundaries or having to learn those boundaries for yourself.
DD-WRT makes streaming and gaming pretty easy in itself. I was even able to use it right out of the box, without any manual configuration of any kind, they pre-configured the router for my NordVPN account before shipping so yeah the “support” is handled pretty well.
And their tech support is great as well in case problems arise. So I’ll rate it a 5/5 specifically for its “shipping & support” team!
Let’s wrap this NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter review up? I believe I’ve dissected all the important (and not so important) features that the router boasts of.
It’s great for 10+ devices, and primarily for those of us who stream a lot of content over Netflix or other similar services.
Not to mention again its superb build for Gamers. So in a nutshell, NordVPN Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300 DD-WRT FlashRouter is one of the best routers I’ve personally ever crossed paths with.