ASUS RT-N66U 802.11a/b/g/n router review

Our review of the Asus RT-N66U

Speed: 450Mbps
Compliance: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Security: Push button WPS, WEP, WPA, WPA2
Other features: Dual Band, Gigabit Ethernet, IPv6 Compatible

The ASUS RT-N66U is a router made by a company that is far better known for laptops, tablets, and, more recently, smartphones. It is a clever and natural move because the technology is evolving quickly and, increasingly, the only reason most people have a computer is for internet services access.

The unit looks impressively powerful with its three antennas, all adjustable for position, and placing it on the wall mounting provided makes it look particularly sci-fi.

It is a simultaneous dual band wireless router, meaning that it will set up two networks, one at 2.4GHz, for everyday wireless use, and 5GHz for high powered use like video and gaming, both with 450 Mbps giving a total of 900 Mbps.

Asus have put a lot of work into making this one of the easiest to setup routers you could buy, particularly impressive for a piece of kit this complex.

Simply tuning on the router and going to the browser of a wi-fi enabled device like a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone, will automatically lead you to the setup interface to input a password and ID that is printed in the manual.

That’s it! Pretty cool.

The antennas are powerful enough to give good reception in locations like a large house with multiple levels to penetrate. Bandwidth is impressive over wi-fi, but with only USB 2 available (2 ports) it’s way down the scale compared with the wireless speed.

Gigabit Ethernet is also available with 4 ports for wired networking. The ASUSWRT Dashboard UI is a user friendly way to monitor connections and bandwidth distribution, assigning specific bandwidth priorities for alternative tasks, so if you’re a gamer and set that as priority, bandwidth will be assigned to that task over others.

It also keeps tabs on overall internet usage, connections etc. It has a one-touch update function for firmware, something that has been an issue for this model in the past.

The Asus AiCloud is the cloud disk service offered, free up to 2 GB. It is a useful web storage option and Smart Access allows you to access the home network from anywhere. Smart Sync, the third part of the service, allows you to use a folder on a usb drive attached to the router as a sync folder.

It comes with a two year warranty and there are some free downloads on the Asus website. The price has already come down quite a bit since it was first released and it was respectable value then, so value for money keeps getting better.

Lack of USB 3 ports is the only failure, and the unit can get very hot, but then there is the wall mounting to negate that problem. The real reason to buy this model over others is the high speed and, especially, the range and penetration of the wi-fi. The simplicity of the setup is an awesome bonus.