I recently bought an Asus RT-N66R wireless router to replace the increasingly buggy Western Digital myNET N900 router which has been randomly disconnecting everyone from the Internet at least twice daily, requiring a hard reset. And there isn’t going to be a fix as WD has discontinued support, e.g. no firmware updates. But after 48 hours, I’m happy to report the RT-N66R has not disconnected me once.
Starting from the outside, the RT-N66R is a very good looking router with it’s textured crosshatch patterned top and blue LED activity lights to it’s three removable antennas to the silver embossed ASUS logo. Plus it comes with a detachable stand which allows for it to be mounted vertically. Around the back there are four gigabit LAN ports, a single gigabit WAN port, two USB inputs for printers and/or external hard disks, WPS button, reset switch, power input and finally a power switch.
Setup was easy, after connecting the WAN Ethernet cable, LAN Ethernet cables and power cord I just opened a browser and immediately got redirected to the RT-N66R’s configuration page. First it asked me for a username and password for the router admin, then it tries to connect to the Internet, which in my case, I had to power cycle my modem to get the router to detect the Internet connection, finally it asks for you to set a SSID and password for 2.4 an 5GHz wireless bands to secure your network and that’s it!
Feature wise, this router has nearly everything anyone could need, from the ability to create dedicated guest Internet access isolated from the network to the ability to monitor traffic in real time, last 24 hours and daily. Parental controls which can limit access to time frames for specific mac addresses, to stop your kids from using their connected devices after bedtime is one example of parental control usage.
The USB ports can be put to good use with five different onboard applications. AIDisk which allows a USB drive to be shared over the Internet, Media Services and Servers which allows you to set up iTunes, FTP or DLNA servers and SAMBA (network drive) shares. Network Printer Server acts as a print server, you connect your USB printer to one of the USB ports and it becomes a network printer. 3G/4G allows for the connection of a 3G/4G wireless dongle or connect your smartphone for backup Internet access. Finally, there is Download Master, which allows downloads directly to an attached hard disk without a PC.
There’s more, under the AiCloud 2.0 tab, there are more external access options, Cloud Disk shares and streams data from a USB hard disk or USB stick, Smart Access enables access to SAMBA computer shares on your local network through Asus’ AiCloud Apple and Android apps or personalized web link. Smart Sync allows for syncing of data on a USB connected hard disk to the cloud, such as Asus’ Webstorage.
The RT-N66R has the usual LAN, WAN and wireless configuration options, which are pretty standard fair, nothing of note here. But what is of interest is the ability of setup a VPN server, which allows connection directly to your home network when away from home. All you need is an Internet connection to access all your home network resources like you are at home. Additionally, when you are at home, the router allows for the setup of VPN’s directly on the device itself protecting the whole network from government spying.
The firewall section is one of the most advanced I have seen on a consumer grade router, as well as the usual NAT firewall, it has URL filtering, keyword filtering, network service filtering and an IPv6 Firewall. I’d advise most buyers to leave this well enough alone, the standard settings are more than adequate.
The Asus RT-N66R is even compatible with DD-WRT should you want even more control over your router, but the standard Asus firmware is more than up to the job unless you are the ultimate power user.
Overall, I can not recommend this router enough, it has decent range, speeds of 300Mbps are easily obtainable with standard wireless hardware. I did look at the AC1900 version of this router, the RT-AC68R, but I didn’t see the point of spending the extra $70, a total throughput of 900Mbps is more than enough for my needs. The feature set is amazing given the price point of $130 high street retail, some online retailers have it for as little as $100. I just hope that it remains reliable, if it doesn’t, I will update this review/blog accordingly and give Asus a verbal bashing! But for now, I absolutely love the Asus RT-N66R.