Asus RT-N66U review: Asus RT-N66U

A real-time traffic monitor is built in that can differentiate between internet, wired and the two wireless bands, the graph giving useful time-specific data. Sadly, it's unable to bury down to the client level, so you can't find out who it is taking up all of your bandwidth.

Parental control functions are in there, but it's simply a schedule-based internet access — to access URL or keyword filters, you'll have to head to the firewall section.

3G/4G dongles are supported over USB, but frustratingly Asus does not provide a compatibility list, leaving consumers shooting in the dark. The USB ports also support printers (once again, no compatibility list is available) and storage, the latter of which can be accessed via FTP, SMB, DLNA and iTunes.

If you intend to leave your USB storage attached, you can also install Asus' Download Master software on it, supporting Torrents, newsgroup downloading (as long as you have an .NZB file) and aMule. You can even set up scheduled download events, if you desire.

Performance

After analysing the spectrum with InSSIDer, an empty channel of either 1, 6 or 11 is chosen for 2.4GHz wireless testing. Usually, the router is restricted to the 20MHz band if the option is available.

We use iperf to determine throughput, running eight streams with a TCP window size of 1MB and an interval of one second. The test is run for five minutes in three different locations on two separate occasions. The locations are in the same room as the router, one floor down around spiral stairs and with concrete walls and floors, and two floors down under the same conditions.

The wireless throughput is tested using three chipsets (the Atheros AR5008X, Ralink RT2870 and Intel Ultimate-N 6300), and then all results are averaged.

2.4GHz throughput (in Mbps)

  • Cisco Linksys EA4500
  • WD MY Net N900 Central
  • Netgear WNDR4500
  • Netgear R6300
  • Asus RT-N66U

  • 139.00136.33111.15101.2793.86
  • Location one (same room, no obstructions)
  • 13110295.0390.8067.63
    Location two (one floor down, some obstructions)
  • 64.6753.8353.1637.1728.97
  • Location three (two floors down, some obstructions)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


The Asus isn't the fastest 2.4GHz off the block, but look across all three locations — it manages the most consistent speed across all distances involved, and does very well at our farthest test point, location three.

5GHz throughput (in Mbps)

  • Cisco Linksys EA4500
  • WD MY Net N900 Central
  • Netgear WNDR4500
  • Netgear R6300
  • Asus RT-N66U

  • 205.33190.33189.67181.67171
    Location one (same room, no obstructions)
  • 164.66151.33135.50135.33132.33
    Location two (one floor down, some obstructions)
  • 13.338.538.533.700
    Location three (two floors down, some obstructions)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Asus' 5GHz performance is not only excellent, but its range also still remains impressive. Location three is typically very harsh on 5GHz signals, and while we'd hardly call an average score of 13Mbps usable, the Asus has done a better job than all previous routers here.

Warranty

The RT-N66U is covered by a three-year warranty, pipping Billion, Cisco and Netgear's two years.

Conclusion

While the RT-N66U may not have had the fastest 2.4GHz signal at close quarters, it certainly has the best range of any 802.11n router we've tested. Add to this the easy-to-use interface, leagues of options and the fact that it simply works — we can't help but recommend this.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Asus RT-N66U

Part Number: CNETAsus RT-N66U

Typical Price: $239.00

See manufacturer website for availability.