Asus has been known for their feature packed and durable motherboards among the many PC components they offer. Through the years, their product range has expanded to desktop systems, laptops and ultra portable netbooks as well. Over the past few years, their networking products have also gained popularity with affordably priced well-packaged products that offer good performance as well.
Their new RT-N66U router codenamed the “Dark Knight” is a successor to the already powerful “Black Diamond” RT-N56U. Design-wise, it features a slim form with a textured matte black finish and three high-power antennas. It offers three placement options, flat on the desk horizontal, vertical with the snap on mount or it can also be hung on the wall.
Under the hood of the N66U is a 600MHz Broadcom BCM4331 chip, capable of full 3×3 dual-band N of up to 450mbps transfer. It also comes with 256MB of RAM installed, 32KB NVRAM and 32MB flash memory that can be upgraded via a micro-SD slot. Wired networking capabilities come in the form of four Gigabit LAN ports and a Gigabit WAN port with MDI-X.
Having a similar moniker to superhero batman, the N66U like the superhero of routers offering a belt full of features. First off, it offers dual-band WiFi N capability, guest network access control, traffic manager, parental control, IPv6 and you can even setup a VPN server. It offers not one, but two USB 2.0 ports which allows you to connect a printer for network printing, 3G/WiMax modem that can either function independently or as WAN backup, USB portable storage for backup, file sharing or torrent downloading through the Download Master software which it installs to your portable drive. It even allows a data pipeline of up to 300,000 simultaneous data sessions.
Sure there are a lot of features, but you might ask if it is easy to use. Asus has reworked its router admin UI (user interface) for the N66U with a graphical UI similar to what it has done with its newer motherboards. The user-friendly interface enables you breeze through the plethora of settings. If this is not enough, The N66U is compatible with third-party firmware such as the Tomato firmware for those who cannot live without tweaking their gear. However re-flashing your router will void your warranty.
The product is targeted at small office/home office (SOHO) and power users. After a few days with the N66U, I didn’t want to send it back anymore, as I wanted to keep it already. The standard package comes as the router, three antennas, desk mount, flat LAN cable and power adapter. However, the price is where it hits a snag; the estimated SRP for the Dark Knight at PhP10,990.
Plus: Very strong signal; Dual USB ports; 3G/WiMax backup capability; Download Master torrent software
Minus: Torrent software download speed limits; Price