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Router: ASUS N66U Review: The Dark Knight

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ASUS RT-N66U Router

‘The Dark Knight’ ASUS RT-N66U – Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router

Today I’ll be doing a short ASUS N66U router review for those interested. I’ve always gone for the default box provided by my local ISP until recently. After a few personal recommendations (and because I love the look), I decided to give this beast a try. It’s slick little black box has become one of today’s most popular routers with network newbies and enthusiasts alike. It certainly lives up to its Dark Knight name, with its crisp angles and black tint. The RT-N66U is considered one of the best on the market for home and small-office networking, easily standing toe to toe with the competition. Take a look at the ASUS RT-N66U on Amazon.

Features

  • 3 x Detachable antenna for 2.4GHz/5GHz with peak gain 3dBi/ 5dBi
  • IPv6 support; VPN Server Support
  • 802.11n: up to 450Mbps ; 802.11a/g: up to 54Mbps; 802.11b: up to 11Mbps
  • Supports Ethernet and 802.3 with max. bit rate 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • 4 x LAN ports for 10/100/1000 BaseT
  • 2 x USB2.0 support got Printer sharing or HDD sharing

The first thing you’ll notice are those adjustable antennas, and they worked great at delivering a strong signal. They are detachable but you do need them for the router to work. On the back are four LAN ports and one WAN port, all supporting a wired network if you aren’t going for a wireless home or office. Besides the usual, it’s also got the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button, and two USB 2.0 ports. You can either sit the router on its rubber feet, mount it on your wall, or sit it in a supplied separate base which allows you to place it in a vertical position.

ASUS RT-N66U RouterThankfully, routers today are getting easier to configure, and this one is no exception. While notorious for an initial shipping bungle (which has long been resolved), the router comes with the expected manual and software, walking a non-tech-savvy user through installation and configuration. ASUS’ web interface has only improved, well-organised and intuitive, while the installation wizard is easy to follow. Experienced geeks can use their favourite browser (Chrome am I right?) and manually configure the device using the default IP address (192.168.1.1) using the first-time wizard. The new dashboard also offers access to all the router’s features for general settings or advanced configuration by the more experienced user.

The RT-N66U works well with all existing Wi-Fi clients. Being a dual-band router (50GHz and 2.4GHz bands capable of offering up to 450Mbps), the RT-N66U is capable of offering the fastest speed available of the Wireless-N standard. This makes it perfect for bandwidth heavy tasks like file-sharing (legally, of course), LAN or multiplayer gaming, and 3d HD video streaming. The router has a great wireless range and remains very stable for those connection-dependant tasks.

ASUS RT-N66U RouterThe Good
It’s jam-packed with features (VPN server, customisable firewall, QoS & IPv7 support, two USB supports for file storage or printer server). True dual-band offers superb coverage, ulta-fast speed, and a rock-solid signal. Great wi-fi range due to the three detachable antennas. Easy to install and configure. Reliable.

The Bad
The RT-N66U is renowned for initially being shipped with faulty firmware and software, however this issue has long been resolved. Some features still appear to be a work in progress or are not widely supported yet in the general home and office. There have been complaints that the printed documentation is incomplete or out-of-date, however I didn’t even need to glance at it. The USB ports also don’t support the USB 3.0 standard.

Verdict
It’s a powerful and feature-rich router, and has remained in Amazon’s Top 100 for over 190 days for a reason. If you’ve got the money to get your hands on this little beast, it makes an excellent network gateway for home and small-office environments for enthusiasts and the not so tech-savvy alike.

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