The ASUS RT-N66U is the company’s flagship broadband router designed to cater to the many demands of today’s users. No longer are people satisfied with just high transfer speeds (something which the majority still cannot use due to high charges from ISPs) but also need a myriad of extra features that makes wireless data transmission more integrated into daily devices.
With the RT-N66U, ASUS plans to do all that, but with the added convenience of an easy UI and setup process. As a dual-band router, the RT-N66U runs at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, each with a maximum transfer rate of up to 450Mbps, giving you a total bandwidth of 900Mbps. To help achieve this, and also to provide decent coverage, the RT-N66U comes with three detachable antennas. This was enough to give me full signal through thick walls up to 13ft, dropping to 4 bars (out of 5) up to 15ft and 3 bars beyond that, with connection drops. Well, you can increase the signal, but more on that later.
So the RT-N66U itself is designed in a very nice way, with black diamond patterns with grooved edges. It looks smart and will fit in nicely within any modern home. Interestingly ASUS has decided to put the WPS switch on the back, and not the center of attention as other routers do, nowadays. Personally I prefer that so that not everybody who comes into our office or home can abuse the button.
Looking at the back panel you’ll also see two USB 2.0 ports, used for plugging in hard drives which you can then use as a mass storage over a network, to the point where you can access it anywhere in the world through ASUS’ AiCloud service, even on Android and iOS devices. Of course, you can plug in a printer which can then be shared over the entire network.
Features & Operations
Once you plug in the internet cable in the back, all you have to do is start up your browser, where you’ll automatically be taken to the router’s setup page. Simply enter your login details (if any), followed by a setup of your SSID name and password and you’re good to go.
Once you open up the dashboard of the RT-N66U in your browser, you’ll be greeted with an easy to navigate UI. The main page shows how many devices are connected to your router, along with basic details of the 2.4GHz and 5Ghz wireless bands.
Moving on from there you can easily setup up to 6 guest networks (three on each bandwidth), manage your traffic via QoS settings (default giving priority to streaming and games), and parental control (with detailed timing controls on specific devices). If you want to control what domains can be visited, the Firewall tab will also give you extensive settings.
Speaking of extensive, the various tabs within the main UI will allow you to customize and control an exhaustive amount of features in the RT-N66U, including VPN, FTP and other wireless settings, including boosting the signal from the default 80mW up to 200mW. Sure, custom software like dd-wrt allows you to do that, but it’s nice to know that ASUS has taken care of the enthusiast community by providing most of the options themselves in the stock UI.
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As far as performance is concerned, the RT-N66U delivers on that front too, getting an average of over 12Mbps in PassMark PerformanceTest.
All said and done, the ASUS RT-N66U provides a simple interface for you to startup your home or business wireless network, giving you a plethora of options to choose and customize should you decide to dig in. The best part is that to use most of these advanced features, ASUS helps you by providing easy to understand instructions on how to set things up so you’re not so daunted by task of networking.
With stellar performance, good looks and an expansive set of features, the ASUS RT-N66U is an easy buy if you’re looking for something more than just a WiFi router in your home or office.