Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Double 450Mbps N Router review: Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Double 450Mbps N Router

General offers a Network Map for viewing currently connected devices, including those connected to the router via the USB ports. You can click on one of the connected devices to interact with it. For example, you can quickly block a Wi-Fi client or set up a network storage feature of an external hard drive. In the General area, you can also add or change up to six Guest networks, three for each band. Other nifty General features include a Parental Control feature, a Traffic Manager, and management of the router's USB ports.

The USB ports can be used for a lot of functions. As with most USB-enabled routers, you can connect USB external storage devices or printers to these ports and turn the router into a storage or print server, both of which by the way worked well and were easy to set up. With the RT-N66U, these ports can also be used to host storage over the Internet, coupled with a cellular USB dongle so the router can work as a mobile hot spot, and when an external hard drive is connected you can also use the router to manage downloads by itself. The router's PC-less download feature supports FTP/HTTP downloading, BitTorrent, NZB, and eMule and worked well in my trials, except the fact that it doesn't support downloads from sites that require authentication.

Lastly, the Advanced Settings offer more in-depth access to the router's features, some that would be specifically useful for businesses. The most notable feature is the VPN server for creating a secure virtual private network for remote users. You do need to possess decent networking know-how to set up and manage a VPN. The router also supports IPv6, a customizable firewall, and QoS.

Overall the RT-N66U offers most, if not all, of the features you might want from a high-end router, and all the ones I tried out worked very well. I did find a few small bugs, however. For example, via the Web interface you can set the router to automatically check for and update itself with the latest firmware. The problem is this function always says that there's a new firmware version available even when the router has been updated with the latest. For this reason, you'll need to check Asus' support Web site to find out if there's actually a new version of the firmware available.

Performance
The RT-N66U offered stellar performance on the 5GHz band. For the throughput test, which was done at a close (15 feet) distance, when used with 450Mbps clients, it scored about 182Mbps. At this speed, the router can finish transmitting 500MB of data in about 20 seconds. When I increased the distance to 100 feet for the range test, still with a 450Mbps client, the router managed to maintain a high throughput of about 155Mbps.

I also tested the RT-N66U with regular 2x2 (300Mbps) clients and on the 5GHz band and it scored an impressive 110Mbps and 98Mbps for close and long distances, respectively.

It was quite a different story when I moved to the popular 2.4GHz band, however. In this band, the RT-N66U, though not slow, wasn't able to impress me. When used with 450Mbps clients, it scored 55Mbps and 45Mbps for close and long distances, respectively. With regular clients, speeds were reduced to just 37Mbps and 29Mbps.

To make up for this, the RT-N66U offers very long range on both bands, up to 300 feet in my testing. It was also very stable and passed my 48-hour stress test with no problems. During the stress test, the router was set to continuously copy data back and forth between multiple clients, both wireless and wired. Neither of the router's wireless bands disconnected once during this time.

Despite the fact that the RT-N66U doesn't support USB 3.0, its network storage performance was also very impressive, with 132Mbps for writing and 88Mbps for reading over a Gigabit Ethernet connection. These speeds are fast enough for light media streaming and data sharing. The only router that was faster than the RT-N66U in this category is the Linksys E4200v2 from Cisco, which has fewer features than what the RT-N66U has to offer.

NAS write test (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
202.8 
171 
ASUS RT-N66U
88 
131.9 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Netgear WNDR3800
88.88 
34 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

5GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Asus RT-N66U (with 450Mbps clients)
155.3 
181.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
35.8 
148.5 
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
Asus RT-N66U
97.8 
109.6 
Netgear WNDR4500
41 
109.4 
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Cisco Linksys E3200
53.8 
95.3 
Belkin N750 DB
74.64 
92.32 
Netgear WNDR4000
63.9 
89 
D-Link DIR-825
36.48 
80.96 
Linksys E2500
70.2 
77.2 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
49 
71.9 
Cisco Linksys E3000
48.8 
65.4 
Linksys WRT610N
54.8 
64.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
60 

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200
46.9 
61.4 
D-Link DIR-825
38.8 
61.3 
Cisco Linksys E3200
40.4 
57.44 
Asus RT-N56U
34.4 
57.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
21.4 
56.6 
Netgear WNDR3700
29.44 
55.44 
Asus RT-N66U (with 450Mbps clients)
45.5 
55 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.1 
52.1 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.8 
43.5 
Asus RT-N66U
29.4 
37 
Linksys E2500
10.7 
36.5 
Linksys WRT610N
28.8 
35.76 
Netgear WNDR4500
12.5 
28.6 

Service and support
Asus backs the RT-N66U with a two-year warranty. At the company's Web site, you'll find downloads, FAQs, a manual, and other support materials. If you want to contact the company's tech support, however, it's better to do that via e-mail as there's no tech-support phone number listed on the Web site.

Conclusions
Thanks to its stellar performance on the 5GHz band, exceptionally long range, and generous spread of features, the Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Double 450Mbps N Router is one of the best N900 routers on the market, despite its few minor shortcomings.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
  • Data Transfer Rate 900 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired