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

Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Double 450Mbps N Router

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.

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)

5GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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.

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.

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