ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 Review, Simplifying Small Business WiFi Networks

The ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is a relative newcomer to the business line of networking products from ASUS this 2023. It is designed as an all-in-one solution for small businesses, namely small establishments that cater to the business, the employees running the business, and the business’ clients. Unlike your run of the mill business router that typically covers a wide range of devices – switches, routers and WiFi access points that make setup complex and costly; the ExpertWiFi EBR63 aims to be a simple affair. Setting it up is similar to a home WiFi Router, but having advanced features typically found in enterprise level networks at a more reasonable price.

This review aims to cover setup, performance, and the onboard interface that manages the ASUS ExpertWifi EBR63. This review also validates if the ExpertWiFi EBR63 can also be used as a home office router, as there’s a feature that makes it a viable product for the home-based corporate worker (like me).

ASUS ExpertWifi EBR63 Specifications and Physical Features

The ExpertWiFi EBR63 is a compact sized router with a form factor similar to a small 8″ tablet, or a simple router. With all of the features packed in, we should expect something of a big, beefy router; but ASUS manages to fit in four antennas, four 1Gbps LAN ports (all of them are regular Ethernet ports), two USB ports (one can work as a secondary WAN port, the other for use in networked device management).

We can mount the router on narrow shelves as it includes its own flip-out stand, or even mount on a wall. This leaves a small footprint on tables or ledges. In my setup for testing, it fits in well at my place’s phone area where my Modem Router and Fiber Optic network endpoint is.

The four antennas support multiple SSIDs (wireless networks) that can concurrently run 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. All of the antennas are foldable and are already attached to the router, unlike other models that requires screwing on the antennas. These adds value in making the router more compact when moving it around, without needing to remove them.

Setup is easy for the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63. Just connect the router’s primary WAN port to the modem and turn it on. Once it has established connection, we can set up the rest of the router’s settings through the ExpertWiFi Mobile App, which has a QR code found on the router’s manual or on the box. Accessing the browser interface, however, requires knowing the router’s IP Address. Using the ASUS Device Discovery Tool will help.

  • ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 - Web Browser Setup
  • ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 - Mobile Setup

ASUS ExpertWiFi Software (Web and Mobile)

The software side of the ExpertWiFi router has a different UI/UX than the typical app/web interface. For starters, the mobile app is different from the ASUS Router App. We download a version called ExpertWiFi. Like the web version, ExpertWiFi has a menu for the Self Defined Network, and a more professional aesthetic using a lot of white and clear listing of content.

The Home Page of the ExpertWiFi Browser interface provides us with the Dashboard for an immediate access to important information on the router’s health, performance and settings. Information such as which WAN connection is currently active is displayed and which port/s are configured to be used. For the ExpertWiFi App, it instead presents a list of WiFi networks running, along with several tiles showing information of Topology, Client count, Real time traffic and the router’s CPU and RAM usage. The Dashboard Tab, however, is not the default page and when clicked will display the same content as the browser’s dashboard.

  • ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 - Browser Dashboard
  • ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 - ExpertWiFi App Home

ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 router comes with the following features listed on the left navigation that can be clicked to open up a new tab in the interface:

  • Quick Internet Setup
  • Dashboard (Default Home Page of the router)
  • AI Mesh
  • Self-Defined Network
  • VPN Server
  • VPN Fusion
  • Traffic Analyzer
  • AiProtection
  • Traffic Monitor
  • Settings

If you’re wondering, there are other features which are normally seen on other ASUS routers. Features such as: Adaptive QoS, Firewall, IPV6, LAN/WAN, and USB Application are all categorized now under the Settings tab.

Screenshot 2023 12 11 140645
ExpertWiFi Desktop Browser Settings Tab

This listing is setup for the Web based version of the ExpertWiFi Software. For the mobile phone app layout, some of these features got moved around and placed under the router Settings tab like VPN, Quick Internet Setup, AI Mesh. It can be confusing when switching around from browser to mobile phone app. But based on my taste and need, the ExpertWiFi Browser interface is better implemented.

Self-Defined Network System

As a business WiFi router, the ExpertWiFi EBR63 focuses more on serving multiple devices in a given space. It focuses on servicing multiple configurable WiFi Networks for small businesses or home/offices. Under the Self-Defined Network feature, we can configure up to five unique SSIDs (WiFi Networks) using preset network profiles catering to different types of user / device groups.

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Screenshot 2023 12 11 135938

These presets lets users to quickly setup a selection of WiFi networks that fit specific use cases. The following are the primary Defined Networks: Employee, Guest Portal, Guest Network, Scheduled Network, IoT Network and VPN Network. I’ll cover what each does, as well as some more under the Scenario Explorer.

Guest Portal Network and Guest Network

Business like Cafes, or Lounges would want some client/customer service such as having free WiFi. A Guest Portal network is an available choice for self-defined network setup. If you know of how mall free WiFi internet service works with a webpage that prompts users to click a confirm button to join, then this works similar to that feature normally found on larger scale networks, but for a smaller scale. Administrators can suit the company’s theme onto the logon portal and it includes a Terms of Service for visitors to agree upon.

However, I did find some settings missing from the Guest Portal Defined Network like the ability to set a fixed duration once a guest logs-in to the network, a feature normally found in malls’ free WiFi service. This self-defined network only allows for a configurable scheduled time of day of available access (default it has full 24-hour access, or the usual 7am-5pm work hours). During the course of testing, the default duration of a user logged in is thereabouts 24 hours maximum and renews each day. Also Guest Portal configuration is only limited to one WiFi Network.

The Guest Network works similar to guest networks in most routers. It allows guests to access the internet w/o access to the intranet. Sounds like the Guest Portal; however, it lacks the Splash Screen for the login. It does however have something that which the Guest Portal lacks, a configuration to allow One Time Access that sets a duration for guests logging onto the network for Internet. It’s something the Guest Portal network should have had to make a more flexible setup.

Screenshot 2023 12 11 140226

If there are visitors onsite it’s usually better to simply provide a password free access as a form of service, the Guest Portal does that, and I find it a better option. The Guest Portal provides an interface that lets visitors join in formally with Terms of Service

Employee Network

Aside from the Guest Portal, another choice under the Self-Defined Network is the Employee preset. As per its description, it aims to quickly setup a WiFi network that allows for employees to have access to both internet and intranet over WiFi. Security options allow for either a shared password-based access or RADIUS based (unique, per user login) access. Advanced settings for the Employee network allow admins to define a particular DNS from a list of IP Addresses, example Google DNS.

Scheduled Network, IoT Network and VPN Network

As its name implies, Scheduled Network focuses more on creating a WiFi network with set access time/s during the day or week. IoT Network allows us to configure a separate network for IoT appliances, and for those looking to have a secured access network for certain work like regional access to data only limited to another country. The VPN Network defaults to a configuration screen that centers on adding a VPN service (limited choices from SurfShark, OpenVPN, Wireguard, and PPTP and L2TP for other services) to the network. Note that it’s the admin/owner’s responsibility to subscribe to the VPN service.

Scenario Explorer

Under Scenario Explorer are more specific configurations of the previously listed network presets. The list provides a clearer context on which type of Network is to be used based on common business/home scenarios. Examples for businesses are Coffee, Gym, Hotel, Malls, Restaurants, Employee/Branch Office; while for home use includes Study, Smart Home, Surveillance Devices, Children and/or Friends.

Screenshot 2023 12 11 140306
Multiple Scenarios, some share similar Self-Defined Network configuration

Self-Defined Network Observations

Upon closer look, each of these scenarios utilize a specific type of Self Defined Network preset, thus simplifying setups. Should there still be a configuration that doesn’t meet our requirements, we can custom tailor a network using Customized Network. But I do notice that some features do end up missing in the initial setup, like the choice to set-up the network as a portal or having VPN settings defined on initial setup. This leads to creating a Customized Network lacking in a lot of… customizable options, hopefully this gets fixed so a more flexible customized network can be made.

Screenshot 2024 01 11 152029
Customized Network just looks like a Child/Employee/Family Network Setup

Another observation is that we can fine tune WiFi settings like channels for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz for the main WiFi network. I don’t see this setting for the Self Defined Networks I made, so I am guessing that any 2.4GHz / 5GHz channel used would follow the main network’s settings.

ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 Performance

How does the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 perform? As a person who works from home for his day job, I’ve configured the review copy of the EBR63 to have several networks: Internal (for administering the router), “Employee” which is a Self-Defined Network used for my Work (and just about everything else). I created another network as a Customized SDN, which is a mixture of the employee configuration and the default WiFi Network (only without access to the router’s onboard management suite via the mobile app or browser). This performance test focuses on the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63’s performance as a WiFi Router.

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WiFi Signal Coverage

To sum up the ExpertWiFi EBR63’s network coverage is able to cover a single floor setup with at most two layers of walls before severely dropping in signal strength. For a two floor home which I live in and work from, WiFi signal strength is able to penetrate a few layers of cement and gypsum boards. My desktop in my second-floor room gets around a full or one bar lower. My mobile phone similarly has the same signal strength, but it does go down by two to three bars inside my bathroom. But adding a third or fourth layer of cement wall in, signal bars for a cellphone drop to around 2-3 bars and my sibling’s Desktop PC barely is able to connect to the network. Therefore, I should move the location of the router a bit more center of the house to cover all second-floor rooms or utilize ASUS’s AI Mesh tech by adding one more router as an AI Mesh node.

Comparing WiFi6 to WiFi5 coverage, WiFi6 has a leg up in reach, with around 1-2 bars higher signal coverage from WiFi5 network on my Desktop PC on the second floor. Throughput difference for WiFi6 and WiFi5 is on the next section.

An observation during the span of this review is that there was a week wherein the router did have severe signal loss observed, resulting in almost no signal for my mobile devices and IoT appliances. These devices had a challenge with maintaining connection to the network. My smart electric fan and air purifier kept getting disconnected from the network due to the degraded signal strength. Smartphone WiFi signals drop when I’m inside my bathroom, which has the most layer of walls WiFi signal to pass through. A few days later however, signal coverage went back to normal. It could be attributed to the automatic setting for the WiFi network channels, which could have ended up conflicting with one another, affecting signal strength. It’s something to look out or plan for when setting up for a business setting.

WiFi Throughput

With the signal strength covered, let’s cover WiFi6 speed from the router. Signal strength affects overall WiFi Speed to some aspect. I have run Internet speed tests from my desktop machine, and smart phones to see how fast the connection speed is from both my room and ground floor using my phone/desktop/laptop. A built-in Speed Test function can be leveraged within the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63’s settings. This performs an internet speed test directly through the router and providing immediate feedback on the Internet service’s speed from the modem.

The internet plan I’m subscribed to has a rated speed of the plan at around 600Mbps, and it comes bundled with a WiFi5 Mesh Router system. My chief complaint with the included WiFi Mesh routers is that I don’t get the rated speed (or close to it) on my desktop and laptops on the second floor. The routers are all WiFi5 rated and am only able to get around 150Mbps. Whilst there’s a noticeable signal coverage loss when using the EBR63 as a solo WiFi router, it still performed better, getting a range of 250Mbps to 350Mbps depending on any signal interference.

But if getting internet speed test results on the ground floor (dining room or living room) where the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is located, I get a speed range of roughly around 335-345Mbps on a mobile phone. Signal coverage is much better hence a closer gap between two runs.

Dual WAN Setup

One of the touted features of the ASUS ExpertWifi EBR63 is the Dual WAN feature, which is a must for businesses or homes requiring a high internet service availability. It features a failback service, which works by going back to the default service if it’s back up. Unlike other ASUS home routers, we can configure one of the LAN ports as a WAN port for failover. However, since the place where I live has limited infrastructure to support multiple ISPs for Fiber Optic service, I am stuck to one service. Instead, I will utilize a second USB port to slot in either a USB Stick, or your mobile phone for the test.

To test, I used my phone for its 4G data mode and artificially triggered a primary WAN failure by disconnecting from the Fiber Modem. Then to test the failback service, I would then reconnect to the main Fiber Modem once I plug the network back to the ExpertWiFi EBR63 with the modem. In order to be able to connect a mobile phone, you can refer to ASUS’s guide here.

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The failover time from the Primary WAN to the Backup WAN (USB) took around 5-10 minutes. I noticed that the indicator lights for the WAN, second to the right most LED, dimmed. This indicates that the router is using the USB port for internet service. The difference in Internet Speed should be very apparent with the 4G and Fiber sources. In my updated log entry of speed tests from the router, the latest test run netted around 180Mb/s+, a large drop from the 600Mb/s+ throughput I normally get from my Fiber Optic subscription.

Plugging in the router to the modem fails back to the primary WAN port (which is by default the WAN port connected to my provider’s modem). The network switch happens in roughly the same time as when it fails over to the backup WAN port, which took around 5-10 minutes. The indicator light for the WAN on the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 will change from dim to full bright.

As for load balancing, the ExpertWiFi EBR63 has it as well, however due to the already unbalanced nature of my internet services at home, the setup of course kept to the much faster Fiber based ISP as it needs similar network speeds 600Mbps to 600Mbps to properly be tested.

Summary

ASUS has been in the router market for quite a while now focusing on their home and gaming line of routers. This is their first foray with the ExpertWiFi series of business routers. The ExpertWiFi EBR63 is their second combination wired/wireless router, with the other being the ExpertWiFi EBM68. While the ExpertWiFi EBM68 is a WiFi Mesh kit, the ExpertWiFi EBR63 is made as a standard router with business features packed in. It’s a very compact business router that does a lot, and support a lot of devices rivaling those of other ASUS router models. Setup is a breeze and the router has multiple ways to mount.

The main highlight of the ExpertSeries is its Self-Defined Network, allows businesses to setup multiple WiFi networks to manage local employee networks and keep it separated with shared internet access for their customers. While it is nice to have a selectable profile for different network types, I found that for creating a truly customizable profile, there are missing configuration properties, hopefully it can be improved with later firmware updates.

The ExpertWiFi’s User Interface makes up with a professional looking and coherent layout aiding network owners in configuration and data tracking.

Performance wise, the WiFi6 connection offers a faster connection and should be able to penetrate obstacles better, leading to lower speed reduction. However, as observed, there were still hiccups, but these can be fixed with better implementation of WiFi settings (outside of leaving things on automatic config), or better router location.

To answer the question if the ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is suitable for home office use. Of course, it can. However, there are certain non-ASUS Business routers that are still able to handle the same job (example: ASUS RT86U or the TUF Gaming AX3000 V2) that are priced lower, and without the business centric features the ExpertWiFi has, especially if there’s only a few people working from home. But if scaling for a home that doubles as a small office with some numbber of workers or visiting clients (like a small architectural firm), then the ExpertWiFi EBR63 fits the bill without resorting to get the more expensive/game-centric models.

The ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 is to be launched here in the Philippines with an SRP of Php 9250. To learn more about the product’s availability, you can ask through ASUS Philippine’s social media channels.

8.5 Total Score
The ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 Sets out to provide Small Businesses / Home-Office Setups with an affordable, easy and flexible solution for Network Setups

The ASUS ExpertWiFi EBR63 offers multiple pre-defined WiFi self-defined network setups that owners/administrators can quickly utilize to provide internet service for employees as well as their customers/visitors. It offers WiFi6 speed and has ASUS' AI Mesh technology allowing other AI Mesh routers to be leveraged. The Dual Wan feature allows administrators/owners to setup a failover system favoring a USB 4G dongle, or even the use of one of the Router's LAN ports as a secondary WAN port for another internet service provider.

PROS
  • Light and compact router, similar size as a home router
  • Router can be placed lying down, can be propped up using a folding stand and can be hung from a wall.
  • Antennae folds in neatly into the Router. There are four antennae to handle WiFi6 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz channels
  • WiFi6 network speed and coverage are an upgrade from WiFi5
  • Clean user interface for both browser and mobile phone app.
CONS
  • For a purely home use or a single home worker router setup, the ExpertWiFi may not be the best option, considering the price point.
  • Running multiple WiFi Networks can sometimes lead to network conflicts, leading to fluctuating connectivity.
  • While the ExpertWiFi line offers Self-Defined Networks, creating a fully customized self-defined network profile is a bit misleading, as some features found in some presets are not available for configuration. We can't mix/match other features from one preset with the other.
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