Networking Guide

ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router review

ASUS RT-N66U Wireless-N Dual-band Router - Beast Unleashed!

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Overall rating 9/10
Dark and sexy design
Supports file sharing and multiple SSIDs
Breakneck downlink speeds
IPv6 support
Steep price

Performance - 2.4GHz

Test Setup

To create a wireless network scenario, our routine test setup typically includes a desktop PC, the reviewed router, and a wireless client. The desktop system (with a Gigabit Ethernet port) is designed to simulate a host machine, while the router in question acts as the gateway. And lastly, a notebook plugged with a dual band Wireless-N USB adapter fulfills the role of a wireless remote client.

To gauge the router's peak potential and to prevent any possibility of varying wireless standards used, the evaluated router is locked down at the 802.11n-only mode for both bands. The QCheck application measures the wireless throughput (TCP) and streaming (UDP) finesse between the host and client endpoints based on a 1MB data packet. On the other hand, NetIQ's Chariot benchmark offers a more detailed account with average throughput and response time readings recorded over 30 seconds, based on a High Performance throughput script. Range is determined by the distance between the router and wireless client. Now, let's run through the results proper.

Chariot and QCheck Performance Testing 

ASUS RT-N66U Wireless Performance Results - 2.4GHz Band
Average Downlink Throughput (Mbps) - Chariot Average Uplink Throughput (Mbps) - Chariot Downlink TCP Throughput of 1MB (Mbps) Uplink TCP Throughput of 1MB (Mbps) UDP Streaming (kbps) Time to transfer 1GB Zip file
 72.108 61.820  76.191  70.797 1,011.467 (0.0% loss) 3 minutes 42 seconds
 86.648 66.959  64.516 59.702 987.689 (0.0% loss) 3 minutes 35 seconds
 48.418 42.535  55.556 33.755 1,001.839 (0.0% loss) N.A.
2m with WPA2-Personal
 74.117 69.407  68.966 65.574 996.151 (0.0%) N.A.

We are wary of manufacturers' marketing claims when it comes to modern routers. More precisely, our skeptical minds tend to question if some of their signal enhancement technology are genuinely proprietary features, or simply drummed up 802.11n's capabilities like multi-stream beamforming for example. However, our fears were laid to rest when we saw how formidable the RT-N56U turned out to be. Like the older N56U model, the Taiwanese firm will maintain their Ai Radar technology (amplifies signal strength presumably) with the N66U, and it looks like their strategy will continue to pay dividends in terms of the router's wireless performance. Interestingly, throughput results on both ASUS routers were comparable on 2.4GHz band. What's notable, however, is the N66U's superior performance with WPA2 (AES) encryption enabled. This is a desired asset since hardly anyone deploys their routers without some form of security precautions these days. Compared to rivals like Edimax or Trendnet, the N66U also demonstrated tastier downlink speeds and very stable UDP streams at longer range, judging by its average throughput of 48.418Mbps at 25 meters with 0% data loss. The N66U's uplink figures were consistent throughout with an average uplink throughput of 66.959Mbps at 10 meters, and 42.535Mbps at 25 meters. As you can tell from our charts, the N66U also clocked in the best upstream throughput results at the farthest range.