I'd consider myself a computer expert, and I love this router. It looks awesome, it has an awesome name (Dark Knight), it is rock sold, provides extremely reliable wireless connectivity (only one dropped ping to Google in 2 days), and a shed load of advanced options out of the box for even the most demanding users. You can also install custom firmware (e.g. Merlin's) and turn on telnet and directly access the Linux shell. Yet, the defaults are sensible so it's good for beginners too.
So why only 4 stars? Well, it refused to work with BT Infinity using it's "Quick Internet Setup" wizard. This is disappointing given BT is the UK's biggest ISP. However, it DOES WORK with BT Infinity - you just need to set up the connection manually, and I'll post the details here in case anybody else has the same issue...
Cancel the Quick Internet Setup Wizard. Goto WAN (on the left). WAN Connection Type = PPPoE. Enable WAN = Yes. Enable NAT = Yes. Get WAN IP automatically = Yes. Connect to DNS Server automatically = Yes. User Name = firstname.lastname@example.org. Password = Doesn't matter what you put here, but it must be SOMETHING (I used "notset"), and this is what caused me the headaches as I'd left it blank like it is in the Home Hub 3 you get from BT. Leave everything else alone. Apply... and you'll connect.
EDIT AFTER OWNING FOR 4 MONTHS: This router has been flawless. It has not needed restarting once. My BT Infinity connection was down for several days while BT performed scheduled work at my local cabinet. But that didn't matter too much because I simply activated tethering on my Android phone and plugged the phone into one of the router's USB ports. Seconds later my entire network is connected to the internet again via 3G. How truly awesome is that? I've also used its "guest WiFi" facility where you can set up temporary (you set an expiry date/time) additional WiFi networks with their own names and passwords so you can give any guests you have staying over WiFi access without revealing your own WiFi password. You can optionally enable or disable local LAN access for the guest WiFi networks (i.e. give them just internet access, or full network access too).
Feel free to ask technical questions in the comments.
on 31 January 2013
I got one of these because I had a Virgin Media (not so) Super Hub. I also had another router servicing the lounge area of the house and a repeater from that in the kitchen to reach the back of the house and my bedroom above. It's a large house and this was the only way to get wireless service all around the house. So I switched the super hub into modem mode, disconnected the other router and repeater then connected the Asus.
It was simple to set up. The user interface is intuitive and delivers plenty of power and options to suit most users. The first thing I noticed was a much improved internet speed. I think this is down to the super hub only having to be a modem. I then checked range. The Asus is positioned in the front of the house in my office. I went to the furthest point away upstairs and tried connecting my iPhone 5 and iPad. Both had a full signal which was unheard of before. The speed that both devices flew around the internet was nothing like I had experienced with my previous setup.
I then put it to a bigger test. I started downloading a 6Gb file on my PC, connected my Apple TV and started streaming a HD movie trailer, connected my iPhone 5 and iPad and my wife's iPad Mini and got them all streaming movie trailers. This would be enough to put any ISP through its paces. All devices worked perfectly at the same time with no lag.
I must say that this is probably the best purchase I have made in a long time. I only wished I had done it months, even years before (had it been available then).
The way I look at it is that I pay a significant amount of money for a 60Mb internet service and for what is really a comparatively small outlay now get to benefit the full 60Mb.
So if you want the advice of a technology and gadget junky, stop messing about and get one of these. By the way, I never write reviews!!!
I purchased this router to extend access to my NAS up to the bedrooms and reduce the impact upon my existing Billion Bipac 7800n router, which I use for Internet access. Firstly, I was a bit disappointed that the range of the router was only marginally more than my Billion, but impressed by how stable the connection was. It seems the router does indeed intelligently strengthen connections and keep them open.
The great advantage for me is having both 2.4G and 5G radio bands available. Furthermore, because I am using the router as a Wireless Access Point over LAN, this enables me to stream from my NAS-based media server (QNAP TS-412) without having much impact upon my existing wireless network. Having separate 2.4G and 5G wireless connections really helps here as my kids can now enjoy the streamed video in their bedrooms, but the bandwidth being used is over LAN, as the router serves as a LAN AP into the primary router than connects the NAS. This ensures that existing wireless activity on the primary router (Billion) is largely unaffected as it it just routing packets to the Asus over LAN.
I am also obtaining the Asus EA-N66 Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and will use it as a repeater to boost the signal upstairs, as it is still weak, but better than what I had before with the Billion.
The ability to also serve guest SSIDs was a bonus, so I now have 2.4G and 5G guest wireless connections that are password free and isolated from the LAN, so the visitors to my home can freely enjoy the Internet without the hassle of getting hold of the password and having their MAC Addresses added to the wireless MAC address filter.
I dropped one star because I was expecting this router to be much more powerful than the Billion Bipac 7800N, so my hat is off to Billion for providing a very sound all rounder for the price. I would actually only have dropped half a star, as this router has a strong connection resilience and a very smart and easy to follow interface.
I do strongly recommend this router and it will likely replace my three Billion routers when I eventually upgrade my Internet service and shrink two connections into one.
Update: 6th January 2012:
I decided to up this router to 5 stars. Having now fully tested streaming 1080p MP4 HD Video without any issue, which is less than I could say for the Billion, this router is now definitely a big improvement for our home network and can handle quite a load of traffic. We have a large 8 bedroom home, with eight people all using the network for one thing or another, and this router handles it all very well.
on 23 April 2012
When you search for ADSL modem, ADSL router etc. on Amazon, this device comes up but PLEASE note this router doesn't include a modem - you will need to get a separate bridging modem to go with this. Amazon really need to update the search so idiots like me don't get so easily fooled. The silly thing is I had even read/watched many reviews of this router and it wasn't mentioned once. So remember, if you want this bit of kit add a bridging modem to your order!
on 2 November 2012
As a loyal Asus costumer, I knew they had a reputation for poor quality control. But since I personally never had a problem with their equipment I ordered this dual-band router mainly to share media within my home network. The first unit I received worked perfectly out of the box for a couple of days after which it started dropping the connection with the network every hour or so until it finally stopped working altogether. I contacted Amazon and almost immediately I was sent a new unit which, at least where hardware is concerned, worked fine. That does not mean this product is not plagued by problems.
First of all, as another reviewer noted, this is a 'router'. Meaning that you use this device as a bridge between your modem (the device you use for ADSL internet) and the rest of the wireless devices in your home. You can use a router by itself to connect all the wireless devices in your home, but for internet you also need a modem.
Design: This is such a gorgeous looking unit that I even had guests asking me about "that pretty device" sitting proudly on a shelf. I love the polished look of the device and while it's light, it still feels premium. Of course it's a dust magnet but, for such a beautiful unit, I don't mind having to wipe it every few days. (5/5)
Ease of use: Setting up the router was a breeze both times. I found the instructions simple and easy to follow even for the most inexperienced users. Everything in the web interface is well organized and help topics are always there to guide you. One thing that was a pain was setting up the wireless printer but even that wasn't difficult, just not as smooth as the rest of the setup process. (4.5/5)
Functionality: The unit worked as advertised. The 2.4ghz signal has such a wide range I was sometimes able to get a signal two stories away from the router. I had no issues with the 5ghz band dropping like other users. I did, however, have a major issue using it with my laptop. I own an Asus G73 laptop and for some reason certain firmwares just weren't compatible with my laptop in some way. I find it ridiculous that the majority of time I wasn't able to use my ASUS laptop to access my ASUS router. I wasn't able to access the internet, stream media or even access the web interface of the modem; all my other devices worked fine with the router. I tried everything Asus tech support threw at me: tweaks, resets, different firmwares, etc. Some firmwares worked better than others but none were good enough to be usable so for months it was as if I was playing Russian roulette with the router when using my Asus G73. Finally, my prayers were answered with firmware 184.108.40.206 which have pretty much solved the issue I had. I still get the occasional hiccup, but not often enough to constitute a problem. (4/5 after updating the firmware)
Torrent client: this warrants a sub-heading of its own because of how atrocious the software is. It is buggy, counter-intuitive and a complete waste of time and bandwidth. Even simple things like pausing and resuming a download were a nightmare. As much as I wanted to use the torrent client and as persistent as I can be, I completely gave up on it a couple of months after using it.
Stability: Asus are not known for designing stable software and this is a compromise I knew about and accepted before buying the router. The majority of the firmware are unstable and cause different issues with different users so it requires a lot of patience (or luck) to find the perfect firmware for you. the latest firmware 220.127.116.11 seems to be stable across the board so this issue seems to be resolved for now. (3.5/5)
Overall this is a very good device and good value for money 'when it is working correctly'. The problem is that it might take you a lot of time and effort to get the right settings and firmware to run it smoothly but when you do, it is a very powerful and relatively cheap router that's worth the money.
on 17 October 2012
I love this router. It gives a rock solid performance throughout my 4 bedroomed house, and can run both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz channels simultaneously. Setup was simply plug and play - and I was up and running in 5mins, it found my Virgin superhub (running in modem mode) and prompted me to powercycle the modem as needed so it could check the setup was correct.
I would advise changing the log in password from the defaults and set up the wifi security options ASAP.Security options are comprehensive and it allows connection of Hard disk drives, printers and supported 3G dongles via the 2 USB ports.
I updated the firmware of the router from the ASUS website without a problem as recommended in the setup guide.VPN is disabled by default on this router and it took me a few minutes to find the option to enable NAT passthrough option
It has all the standard features such as MAC cloning, MAC filtering comprehensive QoS so you can limit bandwidth of certain actions FTP Gaming streaming etc.
It is a bit unstable if placed on a shelf when connected with 5 ethernet cables and would be better if it could be wall mounted
Don't forget this is a cable router and needs a separate cable modem - not suitable for internet that comes in via a BT line such as Talktalk Sky etc
Very pleased with this router, great performance, great looks and 3 year warranty
on 21 July 2014
This is an excellent Dual Band router.
First let me clear up any confusion and confirm that it is fully compatible with any broadband connection: ADSL, Fibre, Cable...
That said, it is a wireless router only, therefore with which ever broadband connection you have, you will always need a modem. The (main) internet connection input uses a gigabit ethernet port, so you would need a modem which connects via ethernet AS WELL as this unit. Here are my recommendations to do this;
ADSL / ADSL2+ (TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, BT, EE, Primus, etc) :
TP-Link TD-8616 Modem: http://amzn.to/1msigtF
DrayTek Vigor 120 Modem: http://amzn.to/1jM5lIk
Any ISP supplied modem/router by ideally using a modem only mode if available or turning off any routing/wireless/firewall functions and connecting one of the LAN ports to the WAN port on the RT-N66U.
Fibre 38 Mbps / 80 Mbps (FTTC, TalkTalk Fibre, Sky Fibre, Plusnet Fibre, BT Infinity, EE Fibre, Primus Fibre, etc) :
Ask BT Openreach to leave you a standard VDSL modem when they come to activate your line, or again, you can use any ISP supplied modem/router by ideally using a modem only mode if available or turning off any routing/wireless/firewall functions and connecting one of the LAN ports to the WAN port on the RT-N66U.
Cable (Virgin Media) :
Switch the "Super Hub" to modem only mode, and connect the LAN port to the WAN port of the RT-N66U.
Once connected to your modem, set up and connection works flawlessly. Asus seem to get bad press for updating their firmware for some reason? I see this a good thing as their development team are working to improve their products, unlike Netgear which release a product and never intend listening to customers and improving on it. The first thing you should do is check for updated firmware. Type (usually) 192.168.1.1 in your web browser, log in, click Administration -> Firmware Upgrade tab -> Check. Upgrade if necessary. More details can be found on the website here: http://www.asus.com/Networking/RTN66U/HelpDesk_Download/
To make the very best use out of this router, you would want a wireless N dual band compatible device, and connect on the 5 GHz frequency.
Its simple to upgrade most laptops (HP's are an exception!) providing you get the correct size adaptor:
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Laptop Network Card (Full Height) : http://amzn.to/1pcdvMy
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Laptop Network Card (Half Height) : http://amzn.to/1q3pU1c
As with all wireless networks, walls are the biggest problem, especially if you have thick walls or 3 floors. In that situation, you could physically move the location of the router to another location, and run a network cable to the modem, or use a wireless range extender.
Without going into too many tweaking details (as it is usually site specific), generally to get the best performance, any wired devices should connect using gigabit ethernet with Cat6 cable, and the wireless channels should be set to use 40Mhz bandwidth on a high channel number (2.4 GHz) if your devices support it, and 40 MHz bandwidth (5 GHz channel), again only if your devices support it.
It has many advanced features; in built VPN server (connect to your home network while connected to someone else's internet), USB 2.0 file / printer sharing, mobile 3G or 4G tethering, parental controls, traffic manager (QoS), isolated guest network, AiCloud (virtual drive), custom firewall, IPv6 compatibility, It is also supported by DD-WRT if you need professional functions.
I have 2, to create a network bridge - ie one is downstairs in the house connected to the modem - primarily for wireless devices to connect to the internet, then the other unit is outside in another building and connects 4 wired devices to the network. The link speed is 300 Mbps, and has been active for over a year without any problems.
If you have the extra to spend, you should consider the latest Asus router, which uses the newer wireless AC standard;
Asus RT-AC68U Wireless Broadband Router : http://amzn.to/Uifvod
Overall this is a brilliant router that out performs any other brand in its class and it is still been actively supported by Asus.
on 28 November 2011
The first thing you want to do when you get the router is to set up wireless security settings of "WPA2 Personal" and enter your own password into the "WPA-PSK Key" box to avoid potential interlopers from simply accessing the unprotected router and changing settings at will for their own nefarious purposes.
NOTE: you need to change wireless security settings for BOTH the 2.4GHz and 5GHz tabs to secure the router, as they use separate settings.
To access the router's web interface after connecting to it either via ethernet or wireless one needs to type in the address bar of a browser:
and enter the default username and password of:
To get this router working with my Virgin Media cable I had to switch the MODEM off and then on again. It wouldn't automatically work by using the "Quick Internet Setup" button in the router's settings without power cycling the MODEM. This is a minor problem, as it only took me around 10-20 seconds to perform the reset, and it may not happen to you. After that, I could browse the web straight away.
Once I had determined that I could connect to the internet perfectly fine, I visited the official ASUS site to upgrade the firmware of the router (which at the time of writing is 18.104.22.168d). As I apparently cannot post links in Amazon reviews, no matter how innocent they may be, you can find the firmware update by typing "ASUS RT-N56U" into Google, clicking the first result and then the "Download" tab. Extract the downloaded archive to a directory of your choice and then enter the router's configuration page and click the "Advanced Setting" button, "Administration", "Firmware Upgrade" tab. Then click the "Browse..." button next to the box labeled "New Firmware File". Locate the firmware update file on your hard drive, click OK to all the warnings and do not allow your wireless or (preferably) ethernet connection to be interrupted whilst the upgrade is in progress. It will take around 3 minutes, and the progress bar appears to be pretty accurate as to when the operation will be complete (the router is reset in the process), so I wouldn't recommend touching it until it reaches 100%.
NOTE: Custom firmware has been developed for this router recently, and contains a huge number of fixes, enhancements and new features. Take a look at this review's comments for links.
After the router firmware upgrade had successfully completed, I happened to notice that my wireless connection was not running at full bandwidth. It seemed to be stuck at around 130mbps rather than the ~300mbps that Wireless mode N is capable of. I discovered this by right clicking on my wireless network in the Windows System Tray and clicking "Status". I did some reading up and discovered that it was because the router needed to be operating in "Bonded Channel Mode" which, apparently, it is not set to by default. To achieve this, I once again loaded up the router's web interface settings and clicked "Advanced Setting > Wireless" then set the "Channel bandwidth" to "20 / 40MHz" as opposed to the default of "20". I then set the router's "Wireless Mode" to operate in N "only", as well as setting my Wireless adapter in Windows Control Panel > System > Device Manager to WirelessN only mode or "802.11n". This may not be necessary if your adapter operates at 5GHz and you are connected at that wavelength and certainly not recommended if your wireless adapter isn't capable of the WirelessN standard at all, since forcing a Wireless Mode in the router settings that your adapter isn't capable of will leave you unable to connect wirelessly to the router.
My next task was to see if I could open a port for the Torrent network. This was easily achieved by visiting the "Advanced Setting > Port Forwarding" button under the WAN heading in the router's settings and adding a new entry in the list with the "Service Name" of "BitTorrent" (or whatever you would like to name it) "Port Range" of "6881" (without quotes) then selecting the local IP from the drop down box. Enter protocol "Both" and then click the "Add" button and press the "Apply" button below it. I then verified, by performing a port scan and checking the status of my Torrent client, that the port was indeed open and accepting traffic.
I happened to notice upon running a port scan test that port 21 appeared to be permanently "closed" (detectable remotely, but not accepting traffic) as opposed to completely "stealthed" (unreachable remotely). This port is normally reserved for FTP traffic. Whilst the "closed" status is normally secure enough, I would not leave it to chance and so discovered a way to stealth it completely. Go to the "Advanced Setting > Firewall > Lan to WAN Filter" tab and look at the LAN to WAN filter table, which is currently blank. If you want to completely block port 21 off from the outside then you need to add a new blacklist entry for the "Port Range" of "21". Protocol "TCP", Add and Apply.
So, after I had performed all these steps, I was fairly happy with how the Router was performing for me. I have read in a number of places that the Firmware simply isn't advanced enough for other people's needs and they hope for a version of DD-WRT (open source third-party firmware) that supports the ASUS RT-N56U. I tend to agree with them, but so far this router hasn't cut me off from any essential features that I personally require, so that's good enough for me.
on 10 August 2013
I have been using a Virgin Media 'Superhub' and when i say super hub it is just because Virgin media called it that, and it is anything but.
I had been having problems with laptops/tablets loosing connection and then re-connecting, this was quite annoying, after looking at the superhub there seemed to be no problems, i was also getting quite slow connection to the internet even though i should have 30Mb/s.
After getting this ASUS router all these probems are a thing of the past, no laptops drop off the wifi connection and when i check speed now i am getting just under 30Mb/s. and as a plus my wifes laptop uses the new 5g band and the router will allow both 2.4 and 5g connections so if you have newer technology this allows older and newer to work together and allows speed increses for the newer items (this is only between peripherals on the home network as 30Mb/s is way slower than the router can handle.
I have also managed to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and connect to it when i am away from home to connect to my network storage.
There is a search filter that you can enable so that certain words are detected and then blocked and also setting times for computers/tablets etc to be able to connect to the net, this would be useful if you have teenage kids and want to stop them being up all night on the net.
Overall i have been very impressed with the router, the functionality it has given me and also getting over all of the problems of the super hub, it has also increased the range i am able to use it with my tablet, i used to use a range extender with the superhub to get to the far side of the house, but i don't need that anymore.
Great router and highly recommended, i just wonder what the more expensive ASUS routers are like :)
on 15 November 2012
Excellent hardware for the price, I managed to get this for £52 from Amazon so it does seem to fluctuate in price.
As others have done, replace the firmware with tomato but don't use the stock tomatoUSB firmware, it's 2 years old. There are people actively developing mods for it which add newer features - I use the shibby one as it is in active development has a specific build that works great with this router and he incorporates all the mods in his AIO (all in one) build so you don't really have to worry about which one to get. I grabbed the latest ENglish numbered build from here:[...]
Use these instructions: [...] for installation and you will end up with a fantastic router with brilliant software. I've used it to bypass the virgin media dns servers and use google's and it is safe to say my wifi performance is way better after putting virgin's awful 'superhub' in modem-only mode.
Performance is that good from this hardware in conjunction with tomato that I am able to stream movies from a usb drive attached to this to all the consoles in the house while running a bit-torrent client on the router itself.