Review Index:
Feedback

ASUS RT-N56U "Black Diamond" Wireless Router Review

Subject: Networking
Manufacturer: ASUS

Wireless Performance – Normal Use Test - Intel Centrino Ultimate N

Wireless networking speeds and connections would scream if we only sat a few feet away from our wireless router or access point, but that’s just not what happens in reality.  With that in mind, we run some ‘Normal Use’ tests that put the wireless adapters half way across the house.  With this test, the adapter is about 45 feet away from the router and the wireless signal has to pass through a floor and a few walls.  Like in the Lab tests, we’ll look at the performance of the Intel Centrino Ultimate N.

View Full Size

View Full Size

At 5 GHz in our “Normal Use” tests we’re seeing same results with the Intel Centrino N that we saw in the Lab Tests.  The ASUS RT-N56U outperforms the Apple Airport Extreme and the ASUS RT-N66U in just about every ping testing category.

View Full Size

Unfortunately we can’t say the same for the RT-N56U in 5 GHz download tests.  While the results for the N56U stay close and consistent to each other across tests, they just don’t fare well against the other routers.  Other than one test where the RT-N56U beat out the Apple Airport in Minimum download speeds, the RT-56U falls to the back of the pack, in some cases by an extremely large margin.

View Full Size

Things aren’t much better for the RT-N56U on the upload front at 5 GHz.  Leading the way with 72 Mbps in Minimum Uploads, the RT-N56U just can’t keep up with the Apple Airport in either Average or Maximum Upload speeds, just barely edges out the RT-N66U in Average Uploads while falling behind in Maximum speeds.  Maybe things will look better on the 2.4 GHz front, so let’s check that next.

View Full Size

View Full Size

At 2.4 GHz, the RT-N56U continues to dominate the field in ping testing, beating out the other routers in Average, Maximum and Minimum ping times, while tying all the others with 0% packet loss.

View Full Size

Download testing at 2.4 GHz is a toss-up between the routers.  The Apple Airport pulled the fastest Maximum download speed with 86.3 Mbps, beating the RT-N56U by 19.4 Mbps (22.5 %.)  Meanwhile the ASUS RT-N66U came out on top of Average download speeds with 64.1 Mbps, where the RT-N56U’s average download speed was 50.3 Mbps and 21.5% slower.  Finally, in Minimum download speeds, the ASUS RT-N56U comes out on top with 30 Mbps, beating the N66U by a few Mbps and almost doubling the Apple Airport’s result.

View Full Size

Last but not least, the 2.4 GHz upload speeds tests once again shows the RT-N56U with the most consistent results.  Not only are the results consistent, but they beat the other two routers in both Average (40.6 Mbps) and Minimum (34.4 Mbps) upload speeds.  The only tests it fell behind in was the Maximum upload speed test with 45.4 Mbps, coming 15 Mbps behind the other two.

December 2, 2012 | 01:11 PM - Posted by razor512

Seems pretty good, especially with the VPN server. I wish more companies would do that. I have only experienced unstable implementations of routers functioning as a VPN server using pptp and openvpn was more trouble than it was worth because of all of the command line needed and also there being no decent tutorial that did not require you to read like 20 pages and still not get it working.

I like having a VPN that is easy to use so I can quickly login from my laptop, or from a Linux live USB if on a public computer.

While openVPN is more secure than the older PPTP, no one has made a GUI front end where you can do a few clicks and then if gives you all of the various config texts to turn the router setup part into a copy and pasture job, and automate the client setup process as much as possible.

Also liked the router performance improvements, it seems that they optimized the firmware a bit better, hopefully those optimization make their way to the N66U

December 3, 2012 | 08:06 AM - Posted by Dave (not verified)

I've been using one of these for almost 2 years now (ever since my old D-Link DI-624 died) and have been extremely pleased with the performance of the router.

I've not had a single dropped WiFi connection (and I generally have at least an iPad and 2 iPhones connected any time I'm home, and occasionally a laptop or 2) and the LAN speeds have always been solid.

In most cases, I take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to my routers. But seeing that they've done a complete UI overhaul with the newest firmware, I just have to go and upgrade it now.

That was really the only downside I found with the router. I couldn't stand having to work through that old UI.

Great review and I also would highly recommend this router. I don't think you can do any better for under ~$100.

December 3, 2012 | 09:08 AM - Posted by Lord Binky (not verified)

I had a D-link gamerlounge (DGL-4500), it had good specs to go along with the marketing ;) , that I replaced with this when it had started to act up. I think it was running a Terraria server that pushed the D-Link over the edge.

This has held up much better than my D-link did, and was really impressed how well this performed without a myriad of antennas sticking out (my d-link had 3).

December 3, 2012 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

I have this router - I must upgrade the firmware as pcper did - and it just works. Plug it in and off you go. It is fast, reliable has good wireless range what more could you ask for

Only one problem with the design is that the Cat cables stick out so you will need to invest in a set of right angle connectors to preserve the clean look - if that is important to you.

Highly recommended

December 3, 2012 | 12:23 PM - Posted by Serwei (not verified)

Have you tried the Padavan firmware? Google for it.

December 3, 2012 | 12:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is a RT-N65U at the egg for the same price. Looks like an updated version with USB 3.0 and more range being the big difference.

December 24, 2012 | 03:57 AM - Posted by BADMINTON (not verified)

Have lost my installation disc. Can anyone tell me have to get it on line ?

December 24, 2012 | 11:36 AM - Posted by David Henderson (not verified)

I have tried the new firmware and despit resetting/ rebooting etc, find it keeps dropping wireless connections. Have tried lots of different firmware for this over the last 16 months or so that alive owned it, including the Panamanian firmware, the only version to date that I've found reliable is 1.0.1.8f . All the rest are hopeless

December 24, 2012 | 11:39 AM - Posted by David Henderson (not verified)

Sorry about the typos. My ipad autocorrects everything incorrectly. Meant Padavan firmware

December 24, 2012 | 11:41 AM - Posted by David Henderson (not verified)

Don't need installation disc for asus router - just access via web browser at address 192.168.1.1. Can update firmware from here.

December 24, 2012 | 04:43 PM - Posted by David Henderson (not verified)

Also meant firmware version 1.0.1.7f. Not 8f!

January 6, 2013 | 10:46 PM - Posted by gclyn (not verified)

Currently using the firmware that shipped with my router - V1.0.1.8j and working solidly so far. This is a replacement router as the first one I got kept spontaneously rebooting and intermittently unable to connect to internet via wifi. I had upgraded the first one with the latest f/w xxxx.318...don't know if the upgraded firmware caused the problems, but I just returned for a new one through amazon.

January 6, 2013 | 10:47 PM - Posted by gclyn (not verified)

Currently using the firmware that shipped with my router - V1.0.1.8j and working solidly so far. This is a replacement router as the first one I got kept spontaneously rebooting and intermittently unable to connect to internet via wifi. I had upgraded the first one with the latest f/w xxxx.318...don't know if the upgraded firmware caused the problems, but I just returned for a new one through amazon.

January 23, 2013 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Had this router for about 2 weeks now. Updated to latest firmware and experienced the dropped connections I have read about. Just now downgrading to .7f. Haven't put it back online yet (using old router currently), but I do not see the Parental Controls. Is this only in the latest firmware?

February 10, 2013 | 07:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

One thing, does it support more than one printer at the same time?
I would like to connect 2 or 3 printers (with a usb hub)?

February 20, 2013 | 09:03 PM - Posted by Dirty (not verified)

I've been using it 2 weeks. It arrived with the 1.0.1.8j I updated the firmware to 3.0.0.4.342 while I was setting it up. I'm running the media server, two wireless g 2.47 subnets through it as well as the n on 5. Plus using the VPN, usb for a hard drive share and a printer. No dropped wireless connections and the VPN has been solid.

March 3, 2013 | 09:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would you please share how to setup your vpn? I tried to setup VPN with my iphone 5, but unfortunately I always got the error " A connection could not be established to the ppp server" no matter I am at home or office.

thanks,

March 20, 2013 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Fakrul Alam (not verified)

Does any one have experience of using IPv6 in this router? I am planning to have one for IPv4 & IPv6 dual stack.

April 25, 2013 | 07:49 PM - Posted by Daveypoo (not verified)

hey i just updated my firmware to the most recent 3.0.0.4.342. Love this router, but with the old firmware u were able to block mac address, i cant seem to figure out how to do it on the latest firmware... i have neighbours whos kid is living with us... ftw... n they mysteriously obtained our network key, its easier just to block them rather than have to go thru the whole proccess on setting everything back up with the new network key... someone please show me the light, much appreciated

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.