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ASUS RT-N56U "Black Diamond" Wireless Router Review

Subject: Networking
Manufacturer: ASUS

Wireless Performance – Lab Test – ASUS USB-N66 (High Power)

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My current favorite Wi-Fi adapter is the ASUS USB-N66 that shined in our testing of it in a previous review.  A unique looking 3x3:3 Wireless-N adapter; the USB-N66 has put up the fastest wireless speeds we’ve seen to date with just a bit over 230 Mbps in some tests.  We will only be using the ‘High Power’ setting on the USB-N66 as that setting showed a marked improvement over the “Standard Power” settings in most tests.  Let’s check out how the USB-N66 performed on all the routers at 5 GHz first.

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Where the ASUS RT-N56U dominated the other routers in the ping tests with the Intel Centrino N, some of our ping tests here at 5 GHz we see the opposite.  The RT-N56U comes in or ties for last place in most tests.  The one bright spot is that the maximum ping time much lower on the RT-N56U compared to the others, by almost three times in some cases.

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Download tests with the ASUS USB-N66 at 5 GHz are a lot closer race with all the routers running neck and neck in most categories.  Only Minimum download speeds showed any real differences, and even then, we’re only looking at a difference of 31.1 Mbps between the fastest and slowest test results.

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Upload speeds are an even tighter race with none of the results showing more than a 5 to 10 Mbps difference between the fastest and slowest.  So, now let’s check out how things fare at 2.4 GHz.

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The ASUS RT-N56U once again does great in almost every ping test, only giving up ground with Minimum ping times.  Maximum ping times show a huge differential between the three routers with only 24 ms on the RT-N56U, 209 ms on the Apple Airport, and a whopping 367 ms on the RT-N66U.

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At 2.4 GHz we see the RT-N56U taking it to the competition and leading in both average and minimum download speeds.  The only test it fell by the wayside was Maximum Downloads with a speed of 86.4 Mbps versus the RT-N66U’s 107.8 Mbps and the Apple’s 112.7 Mbps.

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Again, but this time in 2.4 GHz upload speeds, the ASUS RT-N56U does great, beating the Apple Airport and ASUS RT-N66U in both Average and Minimum Speeds.  The RT-N66U Maximum upload speed of 78.8 Mbps is the only test that tops the RT-N56U’s speed of 61.7 Mbps while the Apple Airport trails behind with 56.4 Mbps.

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

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