Web Configuration Interface
I figured the best way to show this would be a video instead of posting a million screenshots. Watch in full screen HD to be able to read everything.
I don’t have a library of routers to provide accurate number comparisons, if you want those I suggest Smallnetbuilder’s site. This is a quick, casual review just focusing on real-world use. That being said, I CAN compare it to other wireless N routers I have used, those being the D-Link DIR-655, Netgear WNDR3400v2 and Linksys E3200. One thing I could never do with any previous router I owned was stream high-bitrate 1080p video files smoothly over the wireless network to a media streamer like my Boxee Box. Even if the media source was a wired connection and the only wireless being the link to the Boxee, it would still have problems. There would always be stuttering… even with the router in the same room. These routers are capable of that kind of bandwidth in the same room but for some reason routers tend to struggle with streaming like that. The Dark Knight is the first time I’ve been able to stream the high bitrate stuff (like 20+ GB video files) without problems wirelessly.
I spoke of wireless range earlier but even with the router in my basement I get high signal strength 2 floors up on the opposite side of the house. Running a speed test outside of my house I could max out my 30Mbps internet connection. Sitting on the outside porch with the D-Link router in the same location yielded speed tests sometimes below 5Mbps.
USB Transfer Speeds
Using a USB thumb drive plugged into the Dark Knight I was able to copy files and read files at approximately 12-15 MB (megabytes) per second. This is slower than the speeds you get copying directly on a PC, but it’s much faster than the 4MB/sec the Netgear 3400 did for me. This is plenty of bandwidth to stream media files off attached USB devices to your network.
The automatic QoS settings seem to do a good job here. I ran a test by streaming Netflix HD on 2 devices plus downloading a torrent on another while I played a game. My in-game latency with nothing else happening on the network was 40ms. With both HD streams and the torrent going my ping only went up to 75ms which was still playable. Canceling the torrent dropped it down into the 50s. On the D-Link 655 I would jump into the high-200s or low-300s when other people in the house were downloading heavily.
Every previous router I owned would usually need to be rebooted at least once a week. Sometimes they’d just stop working entirely or sometimes they’d just get slow. With sometimes up to a dozen wireless clients connected concurrently perhaps they just get bogged down. I haven’t had to force a reboot on the Asus for over 2 months, so that’s a positive in my book.
- Great wireless range and speeds
- Some fun USB features plus a well-organized web interface
- Reliable and well-built
- Probably a little overkill for 90% of users out there. You can get most of this from the Black Diamond which is cheaper
- 802.11AC routers are starting to come out, may not be the best time to buy a high-end N router.
This is a mature Wireless-N product. While Wireless-AC devices are coming out, devices are not using the standard yet to take advantage of it. It might be a couple of years yet before tablets, etc. start to use this standard. Asus is actually coming out with an 802.11AC version of this same router for a bit more money so you may want to wait for that as well. It may also drop the price on this one.
In the end this is a great router but very hard to recommend for the average user because of its price. If you have a lot of devices connected, have wireless “Dead spots” in your home, or have problems gaming while other people are using the internet connection this router may be for you.[amazon_my_favorites design=”4″ width=”550″ title=”” market_place=”” ASIN=”B006QB1RPY,B0049YQVHE” color_theme=”Onyx” columns=”2″ rows=”1″ outer_background_color=”” inner_background_color=”” background_color=”” border_color=”” header_text_color=”#FFFFFF” linked_text_color=”” body_text_color=”” shuffle_products=”True” show_image=”True” show_price=”True” show_rating=”True” rounded_corners=”False”/]