Asus DSL-N66U router review
Recently I had the Asus DSL-N66U router land on my desk which I was a bit worried about reviewing. I have never reviewed a router before, and most of the time I skip over router reviews because most manufacturers tout features that are completely pointless in South Africa, unless some fairies come and install fibre optic cables during my sleep.
So what do you look for in a router? Well for starters, it needs a UI that lets me do the things I actually want to, without jumping through hoops. The UI is surprisingly slick, compared to the browser based versions that look like remnants of personal websites built in the early ’90s.
The feature that really stood out for me was the traffic manager. Being able to see what is being pushed through your router, in real-time and as an average, as well as splitting the traffic by ethernet and the two wi-fi frequencies. This is especially helpful if you share your internet with family members and need to check if your ISP or line is busy falling apart, or if someone on the other side of the house just started uploading a movie to YouTube, causing your line to get down on its knees.
If you have friends over often, a guest network can allow them to connect to the internet, but not browse through your files and network drives.
The router still uses 802.11n, but if you are using wi-fi for internet downloads rather than file copying, you won’t have to worry, unless you insist on fast 5 GHz band speeds. From two metres away, your router should copy at around 20 MB/s on 5 GHz, and 14 MB/s on 2.4 GHz. The router works pretty well from 10 metres away, dropping slightly to 17 and 12 MB/s and for those who don’t live in spacious, warehouse style condos, going through two walls 10 metres away will drop speeds to 7 MB/s on both frequencies.
This doesn’t say much about how this little slick box makes my current Netgear N300 hide away. Besides standing tall with no external antenna array, the internal 3×3 array manages to give me signal in a room in my house that I specially installed a wireless repeater to reach. While some might prefer a horizontal router, the small footprint on a desk is pretty helpful, and this router actually looks premium and has a nice, reassuring weight to it.
I enjoyed using this router, because it didn’t die and require restarts like my current router, and setup was pretty easy, except for nowhere in the packaging or manual does it tell you that the username and password for the first set-up login is admin and admin. Setup involved opening a browser window when plugging in the new router and it automatically went to the landing page and started asking for ADSL details.
If you need something with a stronger wi-fi signal, built-in traffic monitor and a UI that doesn’t require you to have experience as a network admin or programming language, the DSL-N66U is something to keep in mind.