ASUS RT-N66U Wireless Router Review

ASUS RT-N66U – Wireless routers are among the purely utility devices, the choice of which is not usual to spend a lot of time. However, a failed router can later waste a lot of blood for the user. Today we are trying to figure out what can be expected from the latest ASUS RT-N66U router.

 

ASUS RT-N66U specifications

Type: wireless router.

  • Wireless part: 802.11a / b / g / n, simultaneous operation in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands (3×3: 3 MIMO).
  • Wired part: 1 Gigabit WAN port and 4 Gigabit LAN ports.
  • Processor and memory: BCM4706 (MIPS32 600 MHz processor core), 256MB RAM.
  • In addition: print and file server, UPnP support.

Appearance and Design Features

ASUS RT-N66U is already the second “designer” router to enter our test lab (the first was the Linksys E4200). Personally, I find the concept itself meaningless (even the prettiest router looks better where no one sees it), however, ASUS obviously takes pride in the way the device looks, and so much so that ‘it got the pretentious name Dark Knight (“The Dark Knight”) … However, despite all my sarcasm, I have to admit the router looks really good, especially the “checkerboard” texture of the front surface.

A smartly shaped stand is supplied with the router, with which it can be installed on a table in an upright position. In this case, all the connectors will be on top, which can hardly be called a reasonable solution.

About the connectors: their play is quite standard. We have one WAN port, four LAN ports (all gigabit), two USB connectors, three connectors for connecting external antennas, power input, as well as power, reset and WPS buttons (quickly connect new clients to the network with one click).

 

Router at work

ASUS RT-N66U is a dual band router. This means that the user can create two wireless networks at the same time, one operating at 2.4 GHz and the other at 5 GHz. At the same time, it makes sense to use a 5 gigahertz network only for new devices, and a 2.4 gigahertz network – for backward compatibility with old customers.

This is really important because if there is at least one 802.11g device on the wireless network, the entire network will operate at a maximum speed of 54 Mbps. Two ranges avoid this unpleasant situation.

The router simultaneously supports three spatial streams (3×3: 3 MIMO), thanks to which the maximum connection speed is 450Mbps. My laptop (MacBook Pro 2011) was impatiently connected to the router at this speed. The router’s management web interface allows users to flexibly configure the device according to their own needs.

I won’t list all of its features (there are a lot of them), I will only note that all necessary features (MAC address cloning, Dynamic DNS, VPN and PPTP passthrough) are supported. The router also supports the creation of a “guest” network with limited capacity (guests only have access to the Internet). In addition to the web interface, administration via Telnet or SSH is possible.

Built-in USB ports support the connection of hard drives and printers. In this case, the router can act as a file server, print server, media server, and torrent station (Transmission acts as a torrent client). When working with hard drives, NTFS, FAT32, and ext2 / 3/4 file systems are supported.

 

Performance

The router is equipped with a powerful Broadcom processor (according to router standards), built on the MIPS architecture and having a clock frequency of 600 MHz. Because of this, it demonstrates good performance: the average computer-to-computer file copy speed was 89MB / s (while we had to use RAM disks so as not to run into hard disk bandwidth).

When one of the computers was connected via Ethernet and the other via Wi-Fi, the speed of copying files between the machines was 41MB / s. The speed of copying files from one subnet to another (WAN-> LAN) via FTP was 67MB / s. So, we can say that the performance of RT-N66U fully unleashes the potential of gigabit network.

Personally, I was interested in the speed of reading / writing files when accessing an external hard drive, connected to the USB port of the router. It turned out to be very file system dependent, the best result (oddly enough) is achieved using NTFS. In this case, the average read and write speed is around 25-30MB / s, which is already quite acceptable for real tasks.

The stability was not satisfactory either. The router was perfectly stable when downloading large files via BitTorrent with 100 simultaneous connections. The operating range of ASUS RT-N66U in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands is excessive for typical urban environments – the signal was perfectly picked up not only on the stairs, but also at four (! ) Floors higher / lower. And the recording is around 25-30MB / s, which is already quite acceptable for real tasks.

The stability was not satisfactory either. The router was perfectly stable when downloading large files via BitTorrent with 100 simultaneous connections. The operating range of ASUS RT-N66U in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands is excessive for typical urban environments – the signal was perfectly picked up not only on the stairs, but also four (!) Floors above / lower. and the recording is around 25-30MB / s, which is already quite acceptable for real tasks.

The stability was not satisfactory either. The router was perfectly stable when downloading large files via BitTorrent with 100 simultaneous connections. The operating range of ASUS RT-N66U in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands is excessive for typical urban conditions – the signal was perfectly picked up not only on the stairs, but also four (!) Floors above / lower, but also four (!) upper / lower floors, but also four (!) upper / lower floors.

 

In the dry residue

ASUS RT-N66U belongs to the “top league” of wireless routers both in terms of capacity and quality of performance. Interesting design, excellent speed characteristics, good stability and wide functionality make it a good choice for home use. The cost of the “Dark Knight” (about 1400 hryvnia) may seem high, but in fact it is on par with other routers of this class. 5 reasons to buy ASUS RT-N66U:

support for two bands;

  • Support 3×3: 3 MIMO;
  • performance;
  • stability;
  • acceptable speed of access to files on the USB stick.

1 reason not to buy ASUS RT-N66U:

inconvenient location of connectors for desktop installation.

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