28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
I just upgraded to this router from a pro Zyxel firewall and it's great. Using it with 3 Macs and one iOS device, plus an older PC laptop, an AppleTV and a standalone Skype phone. Really, really easy to setup, just be aware that out of the box WiFi security is disabled...
All connect extremely fast and internet browsing is noticeably faster than our old dedicated firewall/router. Wireless is fast and strong, despite 30+ networks visible in my location - it's significantly better than our old standalone access point. And the quality of service and device prioritization features are simple to enable/manage.
As far as print serving and disk sharing, I haven't used those. Putting a printer or a disk on a device that is exposed to the internet just seems like asking for trouble. There's a (very) remote chance it will get hacked and something dramatic will happen. I'd rather not put all my eggs in one basket... Besides, networked printers are quite cheap (I have an HP All-in-One), as are decent network attached storage devices.
In the past, I've used CheckPoint, SonicWall, NetGear, Netopia, D-Link, Buffalo, Linksys, NetScreen, Cisco and Zyxel firewalls & routers. Overall, this is one of the simplest and fastest devices I've seen, with low power consumption and footprint on top of it.
Perfect, really - if only all computer gear were like this... It was only about 15 minutes from unboxing to fully functional, with minimal setup needed (changed the internal IP address, setup WiFi security, turn off unused services - that's it)
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
ASUS is a much better router than few of the top of the line routers in the market. I have purchased NetGear 750 and after a few weeks of struggle, I had to return because of the unreliable connections. I have tried various channels for the WIFI and none have helped. After reading the high reviews for ASUS, I went with this model and I am very glad that I have made a choice which is paying off now.
1. Excellent coverage (even on my 3rd floor and my router is on the 1st floor)
2. Most reliable and never dropped a single time since the start (over 10 days now)
3. Better speed than all my previous routers
4. Very nice UI (I am in contradiction to others on this point. I liked this UI much better than NetGear. May be, I am more of a techie and that could be the reason too).
5. Wired networks are on a great speed using the Gigabit ports and other NetGear router performed pretty the same on the wired network speed.
6. Media servers and print servers works great as well without issues.
7. Two USB ports are very useful
8. In built BitTorrent client and FTP servers are a feature additions and are very useful. I haven't explored much on this yet.
1. Static IPs are allowed only for 8 devices which is a concern for a few. But I have only a few servers running which requires internal dedicated IP and it should be good enough for now. Though it is a limitation, but not affecting me at this point.
Overall, this is a great router for the money compared to few other routers on the market with high price tag with features lesser or equal to this ASUS model.
PS: I am using this only for the last 10 days. Will be updating my comments after a month or so.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2011
I have been through 3 different routers, each one plagued with their own problems. This one seems to be well rounded and perfect for what i need it for.
My home network is larger than most and this Router handles them wonderfully. I have a 2TB external hooked up to it that handles backups and steaming to the Xbox and other computers. It built in media sever works great after it finds all the files it can stream( takes awhile for everything to show up on the xbox after first plugged in) but after that is smooth. There are some files that the xbox can not see but that a limitation of the xbox. And when uploading to the External at full speed (around 12 to 13 MB/s, better than most routers with USB storage) the internet is not bogged down and is still able to handle everything.
It is really good about handling network traffic and giving each device its share of bandwidth, While streaming to the xbox from the external, Roommate playing wow, And downloading a game on Steam i was still able to get my max download speed. without my roommate noticing any lag with his game.
Wifi range is excellent on the 2.4 GHZ band. I am unable to test the 5GHZ because i don't own anything that supports that or have a need to get one. If something i buy has it than it will be there for me. In my room i get around 90% and with the old router i would get half that.
It has a network monitor that shows you how much you data is going through your network at any given time and also bandwidth controls and priory for devices if you want to use that.
I am not getting any dropped connections anymore like i use to with my old router.
The download manager sucks. It works however when using it to its fullest it will greatly bog down the network and bring it to a crawl. The router is just not able to handle it properly. But it does work... just i recommend using a low power laptop or your desktop if you plan on downloading anything.
When the Media server is finding the files on a External things will show up slowly to any player you are using (xbox) and if you try to write anything to the drive while it is finding the files it will also slow down the network, Their is no way to tell when it is doing it or how long it will take.
Remember to Disable TKIP for max Wifi performance. It comes with it enabled for backwards compatibility but it limits Wifi Speed to 54Mbps. and is also a weaker encryption. AES without TKIP is the best way to go. most devices support it now a days.
Its also a good idea to set static IP address for the devices you use the most if you plan on setting priority for them. It does use a DCHP server so IP address can hop around and change priority after the lease is up.
After plugging in a external let it sit for a hour or two so the media server can find the files it needs to stream. Than you can use it to its fullest.
My home network currently has 3 desktops, 3 laptops, 2 Xbox360s, 2 Blu Ray players, 1 Wii, 3 Phones and 1 Ipod connected to it. 4 Devices are hard wired Via A 8 port Gigabit switch that takes 2 ports to the computer room, living room. and the other rooms have a single port. Everything else is in Wifi. The ports on the router go directly to 2 of the desktops, 1 laptop (handles downloads, monitoring, and other things on the network) And to the switch.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2011
Setup and getting on the Internet was easy using the instructions. My problems stated when I tried using my work issued laptop to connect to the corporate VPN. My company uses the Cisco VPN client.
The Cisco VPN client software would error-out and display this message. "Secure VPN Connection terminated locally by the Client. Reason 412. The remote peer is no longer responding." My company's help desk could not give much assistance. After some Google searching, I found the fix. I had to go into the advanced settings in the router software and within the WAN>DMZ section, enable the VPN IPSec passthrough. I wish the Asus support website would have been more help.
I haven't had a chance to play around much with what's under the hood, but it seems like it offers plenty of settings to customize the user experience.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
Preforms as promised, WHEN IT WORKS >:[
On paper this is the top of the line in consumer routers, but in reality it fails to achieve that position.
The router has many advanced features, targeted at the power user, but provides a rather lame interface to set the features up. I found that tweaking settings just can't be done through the interface, many setups are clumsy and time consuming such as entering MAC address for wireless security.
I would give it zero stars for reliability. It either lost connectivity to the internet, or completely locked up, usually after loosing connectivity to the internet, requiring a power cycle of the router to recover.
When it was time to renew the lease for the IP from my ISP was one failure point. It struggled at times, clearing all current connections, and finally locking up half the time. I couldn't even ping the router from my network.
The two power USB ports are a great feature, except that heavy disk access to an external drive connected to the router caused several lockups, requiring a power cycle of the router to recover.
Hopefully ASUS will remedy these problems with future firmware releases, but I am not willing to have to reboot my router 2 - 3 times a day to stay connected. Would love to have all the features it offered, but primarily I have to have a router that is stable, and this isn't it at this point.
I actually get better results (5% - 10%) on speed tests on speedtest.net with my old Buffalo WHR-G54S w/ DD-WRT installed for both my wired and wireless computers. But more important I won't have to go power cycle my router to get back online, or try to connect to find I can't because it has crashed.
My recommendation today is to avoid this headache with pretty blue lights.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
I'm reviewing this router after having owned it for a year. Mind you, it's only been in real use for 3-4 months. That's because when I initially purchased it to replace my longtime Netgear router, it was unusable.
I'm pretty tech savvy and did a proper bit of research to determine what was the best router available and most everyone agreed that this RT-N56U was it. Setup wasn't too bad, but not as simple as the Netgear. But it was impossible to hold a connection for more than a few minutes. I tried all different channels and settings, tried to connect through my HP laptop, my wife's Mac, our Xbox, tablets, cellphones... You get the idea. I got so frustrated with it that after 2 days of digging through forums, updating the firmware, and praying to various internet gods, that I packed it away and nearly forgot about it.
Then a few months ago my Netgear gave up the ghost and I dug this thing out and set it up again. The first thing I did was update the firmware and was very pleased to see that it was much improved. The user interface was much better and best of all, the router would hold connections! It was too good to last though... I know regularly (multiple times per week) find my self restarting the damn thing. It's become habit to check it's indicator LEDs when walking past the office and all too often the 2.4 ghz light is off. Occasionally the 5ghz light is off, just to mix things up. Once again, I've checked for updates (there are none), I've fiddled with channels and settings nothing seems to work. Hell, I had to restart it twice in the 10 min before sitting down to this review.
Like others have said, when it is working, it's definitely a stellar router. But I'm convinced I got a lemon and I'm sorry that I left it in the box for nearly a year rather than return it right away. Because my experience has been anything but stellar.
****APRIL 17 UPDATE****
It's been 2.5 months since my initial 2-Star review and I realized I should update this review. After more research and some help from online forums, I was able to get the router working reliably. I can't remember the last time I had to power cycle it. It turns out there is one firmware version (.206) that seems to work for most people. This is not the latest firmware version, but it seems to be the best. It's been working pretty well for me for the last two months so I added one star to this review. I never had any trouble like this with my Netgear N (MIMO) router so I can't give this thing more than 3-Stars because of all the headaches it's caused.
That being said, it is now functional and apparently reliable.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2012
This router is a great buy. I was skeptical at first as I had read reviews from some self-proclaimed "tech savvy" reviewers who had various issues, but I did not encounter any of these issues, or if I did, I was able to resolve them through the routers configuration interface.
I had previously been using a Linksys WRT54 to my wireless home network, but was constantly have problems with dropped connections, range issues, duplicate IPs, etc. I finally got around to replacing it with this Asus router this week. From what I see so far, all previous issues are resolved. My network consists of a Windows XP server (wired connection), two HP Windows 7 laptops (one with an 802.11n adapter, the other with an 802.11g adapter), a Dell Windows XP laptop with 802.11n adapter (work PC), another Windows 7 PC with an 802.11n adapter (digital audio workstation), two iPods, two iPhones, a PS3, a Wii, an iMac and an HP Photosmart wireless all-in-one scanner/copier/printer. All of these devices are connected and working without issue on the RT-N56U. In addition, network performance is much faster and much more stable, with no dropped connections. Wireless range is also much better than before. I now get three bars on devices in my basement, whereas I previously only got one or no bars with the WRT54.
I also purchased a Seagate 2TB external hard drive and connected it to the router using its USB interface. Now I can store files on this drive to free up space on my computers and access them from any computer/device on the network. I can even store media files on the drive and stream them to the PS3 using the PS3's media server functionality. it was very easy to setup and to create share folders on the drive and assign permissions right through the router's admin interface.
Common issues that I've seen posted around the Internet related to this Asus router are as follows:
- Apple Facetime doesn't work with this router: I haven't found this issue to be the case. We're able to use Facetime with all of our Apple computers/devices. Be sure to install the latest firmware for the router as instructed in the manual.
- VPN connections don't work with this router: Not true. I use a Cisco VPN to connect to my office. While it didn't work at first, simply enabling the IPSEC Passthrough setting through the router's admin interface resolved the issue and now my VPN connection works better than ever. Again, make sure you have the latest firmware installed.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase. Every computer/device in the house is working better and faster now in terms of network connectivity and Internet access. My son is thrilled with the performance he's now seeing with the PS3 connection to the PlayStation Network. Before he always had trouble connecting. Now it connects faster than ever and stays connected when gaming.
This router does everything that ASUS claims it can do and does it well. Don't believe the negative reviews you might read from people who think they're tech savvy because they know how to turn a computer on. This device is brilliant if you configure it correctly. And for the most part, it will work for the average person's needs right out of the box with very little if any configuration. I only had to slightly tweak a couple of settings due to my need for VPN connectivity, my setup of the 2TB hard drive, and because I have so many computers and devices in the house.
33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2011
This Easy Quick to set up product would not find the modem to which it was attached. The non toll free technical support line was too busy to talk to me and promised to call back (no estimate of when they would call, just hung up after taking my number). Two hours later I called again and got someone on the phone and a half hour later (after reboots, unplugs, downloads and uploads) he told me that a chip was not working correctly; ASUS's award winning service (a message I heard about extensively while on hold) could only replace the model in ten days and so recommended I go through Amazon.
Edited to add: My second modem did exactly the same; the tech finally concluded that my Comcast modem (a UBEE) must be responsible and that I should contact UBEE to find out how to get their modem to work with ASUS. This is a modem I recently obtained from Comcast and works just fine with my Netgear router. I am no more impressed with ASUS service than before. (And again, two calls to tech supports non toll free number, once a lengthy hold and disconnect and once a lengthy hold finally picked up)
Edited a second time to add: ASUS email support (guaranteed 48 hour turnaround) finally replied after 48 hours essentially stating that I might need a different router or modem. Another suggestion (from the COMCAST gurus) was to upgrade my cable to CAT6 but this did not work either.
Conclusion: This router does not work with the modem supplied by COMCAST and neither COMCAST, the modem make (UBEE) or ASUS seems to have much interest in fixing this.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
I got this router several months ago after moving into a rental house. I needed great wifi coverage, and my older D-Link DIR-655 wasn't able to provide enough range. It turns out that range is no problem with the Asus RT-N56U: I get excellent coverage throughout the house, including down in the basement at the opposite end of the house. Incredible!
Unfortunately, while the hardware is truly a work of art and provides the best wifi coverage I've ever seen, the firmware is poorly written and has many, many bugs. Some of the many issues (you can read about them yourself at the Asus forums - search Google for: Asus forum board_id 11 rt-n56u) include frequent dropped connections, wake-on-LAN failures, printer connection issues, buggy chipset drivers, inability to add network restrictions that span midnight (i.e., turning off access from 8pm to 6am won't work because "start time is later than end time"), media server issues, and so on. Asus apparently broke the bank developing the hardware and couldn't afford to fund firmware development. Each firmware revision fixes a few problems and adds other problems. I am currently running the latest firmware (v188.8.131.52f).
I wanted to keep the wifi range, but I couldn't handle all of the bugs. I got around the issue by buying a Cisco/Linksys E4200 router to handle the routing issues, using the Asus for wifi only. Works great. The E4200 is rock solid stable, so now I have the best of both worlds.
If you can only afford one router and need anything but the most basic routing capabilities, you should probably go with the E4200. If you don't mind the bugs or simply need wifi range over any other factor, go with the Asus.
Update on 1/2/12:
Some talented Russian programmers (led by a programmer named Andy Padavan) have developed newer, better-behaved firmware for the RT-N56U. The updated firmware is free. They used the original Asus v184.108.40.206f firmware source code (freely available from Asus) and took on the task of fixing that which Asus can not or will not do. The patch source code is open source (hosted on the Google code server) and available for download if you wish to inspect it or compile it yourself.
You can find the modified firmware by searching Google for: ASUS RT-N56U custom firmware. I have flashed the latest version (p7 as of now) to my RT-N56U and it is working just fine and has additional features (including IPTV if needed) and better stability. The Russian firmware supports Russian, English, French, and Dutch languages.
Update on 4/7/12:
Padavan's firmware is now up to v220.127.116.11e-p1. It's still working great, and all issues with lost/spotty connections have completely disappeared. Everything works as it should, and new versions are released regularly (each is based on Asus' latest firmware revision). My wifi connectivity, previously at 150 mbps to 270 mpbs most of the time, now stays solidly at 300 mbps. My RT-N56U supports 3 laptops, 1 desktop, 2 PS3s, 2 PLC Ethernet/IP units (wired) and an Xbox 360. No lag, no disconnects and no issues whatsoever. I connect via Cisco VPN to my workplace daily, and everything works great. Thanks, Padavan!
Update on 8/28/12:
Padavan's firmware is now up to v18.104.22.168-010. The biggest change with this version is a nearly doubled NVRAM size (used to store router settings). Stock Asus firmware is limited to 32kb, but Padavan has increased this to 60kb! In addition, he introduced a new GUI a while back (though the same custom firmware is available with the stock Asus GUI as well). The new GUI looks very nice and is similar to the interface on my RT-N66U on which I'm running Merlin's customized firmware. Despite the numerous issues that RT-N56U owners are having with the stock Asus firmware, I've had no problems at all. My N56U is rock solid stable and easily blows away other routers. At 100% output power, the N56U has a signal strength equal to the N66U set to 120mW output (2.4 mHz N, routers side by side). I'm quite happy with the hardware and customized firmware. If you want Padavan's firmware, just search Google for >> N56U Padavan << In case anyone is leery of using this custom firmware, the full source code is available from the Google code site. I'm increasing my rating from 3 to 4 stars solely on the basis that this is an awesome router when combined with Padavan's firmware. I'd give it 5 stars if Asus publicly recommended the firmware. :)
Update on 3/31/13:
Padavan's firmware is now up to v22.214.171.124-048. Still rock-solid stable and with many fixes and features. I've updated my RT-N56U router regularly with Padavan's firmware and have yet to run into any problems.
Update on 6/6/13:
Padavan's firmware is now up to v126.96.36.199-061. Still trouble-free and working like a champ. I used one of the firmware features to turn off the router lights (except for one), so the router no longer lights up the room. I've noticed that Asus has added many features which were first found in Padavan's firmware. I'm quite happy with my RT-N56U now.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
I've gone through a fair share of wireless routers but this one takes the cake. For the basic user its super easy to setup. When you plug it in the first time it just walks you through some simple settings and you're up and running with a secure connection in less than 2 mins! But there are enough features in here for the advanced user too. ASUS has really managed to marry basic and advanced features into one product.
The speed performance over the wireless was about the same as wired which is phenomenal. Range is also exceptional.
I use a VPN connection for work reasons and this didn't work out of the box unfortunately. There are many posts related to this. However I was able get around this with the following steps
1. Download the latest firmware (for me that was v188.8.131.52m)
2. In the Router's configuration page, go to Advanced Settings > WAN > DMZ
3. Enable "VPN L2TP Passthrough"
4. Enable "VPN IPSec Passthrough"
5. Click on Apply
After that I was able to get through!
(FYI: This was done on a MAC OS X 10.6.8 though I'm don't think it matters since we're only messing with the router)