ASUS brought a variety of routers to this year's Consumer Electronics Show and while they differ in terms of design, capabilities, and — consequently — target markets, one thing they have in common is that they look almost nothing like traditional networking devices. The ASUS Blue Cave and Lyra Trio are meant to reimagine the way in which we think about routers, and the same goes for ASUS AiMesh, a meshing solution for a broad range of the company's existing devices, as well as the two newly announced ones.
The ASUS Blue Cave AC2600 is a curious-looking device that one would hardly associate with a router, with the Taiwanese company claiming it built it specifically for the needs of contemporary smart homes. As the Internet of Things segment is steadily gaining traction, it's leading to a noticeable growth in Wi-Fi network demands that ASUS is seeking to address with the AC2600 which it describes as a versatile offering that's much more intuitive to use than a traditional router. Instead of PC-only controls, the hub for managing the Blue Cave comes in the form of a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. Dual-band speeds are part of the package here, being meant to allow for seamless gaming and video streaming in 4K resolutions. The Blue Cave is powered by Intel's Home Wi-Fi chip and boasts native support for a variety of IoT services like IFTTT, as well as Amazon's artificial intelligence assistant Alexa. The router will start retailing in late February for approximately $249.99, or £179.99 in the United Kingdom.
If the look of a miniature, stripped-down washing machine isn't what you're looking for in a router, you may be interested in the pyramid-like shape of the ASUS Lyra Trio, another unconventional offering from the Taipei-based company whose design is actually said to serve a practical purpose - eliminating Wi-Fi dead zones in the house through specialized antenna placement. The firm has yet to clarify on the actual engineering effort that went into designing the Lyra Trio, though it did confirm that it also supports dual-band speeds and 3x3 MIMO, as well as a companion app for Android and iOS meant to eliminate PCs from the router management equation. The Lyra Trio will hit the market in the coming months at an unspecified price point.
The tech giant's biggest router-related announcement at CES 2018 didn't pertain to any new model and was instead solely focused on ASUS AiMesh, a network meshing platform that supports over a dozen of previously released devices from the company. AiMesh will begin rolling out later this year in the form of an over-the-air update for compatible models and allows you to turn your old routers into mesh nodes by just plugging them in and factory resetting them. The service won't provide any assistance in regards to mesh node placement like Google WiFi does but is still a much more accessible, i.e. cheaper alternative to buying an entirely new mesh setup given how it doesn't cost anything you didn't already pay for. Refer to the gallery below for an in-depth look at the latest networking offerings from ASUS.
ASUS Lyra Trio
ASUS Blue Cave
ASUS AiMesh-Enabled Routers