Whether you are looking for a fully featured high performance router for your small business environment or your home, the Asus RT-N66U has a lot to offer. As a wireless router that supports 802.11N, you can expect high wireless data rates and a strong range because of the three antennas that can be adjusted to different directions. Take that with a grain of salt, though. 802.11N is not the latest and greatest wireless standard on the market, and a new one has already arrived that trumps the speeds seen with every previous wireless standard. Such is technology – there are always new standards coming out to push the envelope as far as possible.
Features and Wireless vs Wired Speeds
The Asus RT-N66U is really a version of another router model. The RT-AC66U is the latest and greatest pumped-up version of this router, and though it offers additional features, the big difference is the wireless standard it supports. If you think that you absolutely need support for the 802.11AC standard, you might want to consider the RT-AC66U. Otherwise, you are likely better off considering the Asus RT-N66U in an effort to save money if you only have devices that support 802.11N anyway.
In fact, speed tests have shown that two routers produce similar speed results in certain situations, with the only real difference being how fast your wireless computer can communicate directly with the wireless router. In some special cases the Asus RT-N66U was actually a little bit faster, though these differences in speed are admittedly negligible. As an n900 router its top theoretical wireless speed approaches 900Mbps, which is only 10% shy of gigabit speeds. But here’s the catch: that is the maximum data throughput that the wireless router can handle at any given time spread among all wireless clients on the network. In reality your individual speeds will be much lower than 900Mbps – especially if you are a ways away from your router or there are obstructions that inhibit the wireless speed. 150Mbps (about 1.5 times the speed of fast Ethernet) is typical, but that number can approach speeds as high as 300-450Mbps.
However, having said that, understand that 802.11AC (the newest standard) still hasn’t become the norm. If you were to go to an electronics retailer today and peruse the laptops they have available for sale, you would see that many of the models only support wireless standards up to 802.11N – which makes the Asus RT-N66U a great choice to support your current devices. And as far as 802.11N routers are concerned, the Asus RT-N66U is one of the fastest consumer routers that utilizes this standard. Also understand that if you like to hardwire devices to your router that it won’t matter to you nearly as much how fast the Wi-Fi is. Wired speeds have always been faster than wireless speeds, mainly because wireless communication is half-duplex and wired communication is full-duplex. You’re not going to experience speeds faster than the gigabit wired connections that the Asus RT-N66U provides – even with an 802.11AC router. Just remember that the device you are connecting to the router needs to have a gigabit-compliant network card to take advantage of the fast speeds.
Last but not least, you should understand the potential you have when you purchase this router. If you want to ditch the original firmware, you have the option of flashing your Asus RT-N66U. Not only is it supported by DD-WRT, but it is also supported by Tomato – giving you some options if you want after-market code. However, if you purchase the router from Sabai Technology you will likely already be happy with the software since they include software on it that is essentially an enhanced build of Tomato.
The following is a summary of the features and specifications of the Asus RT-N66U router:
- 4 GHz and 5.0 GHz wireless bands
- Supports 802.11N and earlier Wi-Fi standards
- N900 wireless router (two 450Mbps wireless channels)
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB ports, and a WAN port
- 3 external antenna
- A 600 MHz process
- 256 MB RAM
- 32 MB flash memory
You can find deals on this router if you search around on the Internet, the cheapest usually being directly from Amazon, while Flash routers and Router Source also offer flashed versions of this router. Sabai Technology is also offering it at a $70.00 discount. You need to understand, however, that pre-flashed models running DD-WET or Tomato will typically cost more because they are running a version of code custom-built by Sabai Technology, and because the OS is pre-installed you won’t need to life a finger to upgrade the router from the OEM firmware. But considering the speed, performance, and features that this model offers, the price tag is more than reasonable if you are looking for a high-performance product.
Asus does a good job of providing support for their products, and you can easily find the FAQ, router manual, drivers, and tools on their website. Furthermore, their support department will help you via an email support account should you run into problems. Just be aware that they won’t be able to help you if you decide to change the firmware, especially since their techs are trained on their own OEM software.
The Asus RT-N66U is an extremely fast and reliable router well-suited for just about any application. It won’t leave you high and dry if you use resource-intensive applications, and the router won’t act as a bottle-neck for Internet throughput. The only real downside to this product is the lack of support for 802.11AC, but if you wanted that feature you could opt for the RT-AC66U model.