CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test routers

Asus RT-N16 Wireless Router review: Asus RT-N16 Wireless Router

Asus' high-end wireless router has plenty of throughput grunt, but we do wish the company would offer better support documentation.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
4 min read


It's pretty clear that Asus' designers took one look at the technical notes for the RT-N16 and figured that the target market would probably "get" networking terminology. As such, there was no need to dress it up in fancy plastic moulding, and any old box would do.


Asus RT-N16 Wireless Router

The Good

Gigabit ports. Supports USB storage and printer sharing. Excellent throughput and signal.

The Bad

Terrible visual design. Support documentation is once more MIA, rendering some functions useless.

The Bottom Line

Asus' high-end wireless router has plenty of throughput grunt, but we do wish the company would offer better support documentation.

It's been a while since we've seen a router that looked so much the part of a router, but beyond its rather garish and cheap-looking white box casing, there's utterly nothing distinctive about the RT-N16 at all in any way. That's no great drama to speak of — we've long talked about the perfect router being one that you could stash in a cupboard and forget about, and the RT-N16 looks like you might want to do exactly that.


The RT-N16 is an 802.11n 2.4GHz wireless router with four gigabit Ethernet ports. Given that we're still seeing plenty of routers that only support the older 10/100 standard, gigabit marks this out as more of an enthusiast/power user router than most. However, it's still nice to see that Asus hasn't left the casual crowd out either, with the same simplified set-up structure as the recently reviewed Asus RT-N13U. And indeed, most of the same functions such as print serving, remote FTP to attached storage devices and simple QoS configuration based on common profiles for gaming, internet, FTP or VoIP are present on the RT-N16 as well.

Shopping for a faster internet speed?
We’ll send you the fastest internet options, so you don’t have to find them.

Asus' claim for the RT-N16 is that it's optimised for P2P applications, with support for up to 300,000 sessions for faster downloading. If you've got internet pipes big enough for 300,000 sessions, we'd love to hear from you — and we suspect the NBN would as well. That aside, assessing P2P "speeds" comparatively is an almost impossible task, given you're at the mercy of everyone else in a torrent's connections and choices. Certainly in our tests the Asus RT-N16 was no worse than any other router in P2P terms.


Like the RT-N13U, configuration of the RT-N16 can either be performed with the supplied installation CD or via a fairly standard web interface, which splits the unit's functionality between a simplified interface, complete with its own animated guide. Asus' guide is called "Dr Surf", and frankly we found him pretty cheesy and not all that useful if you weren't already au fait with networking terminology anyway. And just like the N13U, we couldn't get a networked printer to set up properly, or find the documentation on Asus' websites as to which models of printer are in fact compatible.

Gigabit networking is a nice inclusion for the RT-N16 if you've got large files to shuffle around a cabled environment, but the RT-N16 also sells itself on its wireless-N capability, with the same predictable "up to 300Mbps" claim that networking vendors so love. We put the RT-N16 through our test environment for signal strength and throughput with a standard directory of files. As always, interference sources vary from place to place and results can vary in different locations.

Signal strength: 2.4GHz

Distance from router
15m (minor walls)
15m (multiple walls)
Asus RT-N16 93% 62% 65%
Asus RT-N13U 87% 60% 59%
iiNet BoB 90% 55% 54%
NetComm 3G18Wn 83% 59% 59%
Belkin N+ Wireless Router 88% 63% 62%
Edimax nMax AR-7265Wn 77% 58% 55%
NetComm NP802n 79% 49% 52%
Linksys WRT610N 79% 50% 53%
Netgear WNDR3300 85% 44% 45%
Netgear WNHDEB111 84% 50% 55%
Linksys WAG160N 70% 53% 48%
Billion BiPAC 7300N 75% 59% 54%
Conceptronic 300Mbps 92% 62% 60%

The Asus RT-N16's signal strength was very good indeed, even at a distance.

Throughput: 2.4GHz

Distance between PCs
2m, no barriers
20m, multiple walls
Asus RT-N16 29.75Mbps 28.19Mbps
Asus RT-N13U 25.63Mbps 25.38Mbps
iiNet BoB 21.5Mbps 21.5Mbps
NetComm 3G18Wn 27.6Mbps 27.6Mbps
Belkin N+ Wireless Router 31.75Mbps 31.35Mbps
Edimax nMax AR-7265Wn 2.95Mbps 3.09Mbps
NetComm NP802n 18.2Mbps 16.4Mbps
Linksys WRT610N 22.3Mbps 7.91Mbps
Netgear WNDR3300 11.8Mbps 9.81Mbps
Netgear WNHDEB111 18.4Mbps 16.7Mbps
Linksys WAG160N 19.8Mbps 15.2Mbps
Billion BiPAC 7300N 21Mbps 13.3Mbps
Conceptronic 300Mbps 15Mbps 7.7Mbps

The ASUS RT-N16's throughput performance puts it in second place to our current router champion, Belkin's N+ Wireless Storage Routerat pretty much the same price point. On paper, the RT-N16's larger feature set should push it over the top and take the crown, but ASUS' somewhat odd support documentation (or lack thereof) for those exact features mean we've got to deduct a few points. Still, if you want a Gigabit-enabled 802.11n router with excellent 2.4Ghz throughput, the RT-N16 is an easy recommendation.