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on September 23, 2013
The Asus RT-N66U is absolutely an impressive piece of hardware. Seriously powerful, feature packed, aesthetically pleasing, and at an approachable price point for the hobbyist. I think you'll find that this holds true by reading all the great reviews here.

There are definitely two weak points to be aware of, however.

The first - the firmware that it ships with is in pretty rough shape.

After unboxing and plugging in my router I went through the setup wizard to change the SSID, change the router password, and set up WPA2 key. This went fine. After that, I went in to the router settings and made one small change, saved it, and was disconnected from the router as part of the change. It should have reconnected shortly after, but instead my browser presented me the page that comes up when a web address cannot be reached. I tried for a while but the router was suddenly inaccessible on the default IP address. Basically, from what I could tell, the change I made however benign had buggered up the router. I ended up resorting to a reset - accomplished by holding the reset button for 5-10 seconds with the router turned on.

So lesson #1 here is to immediately install the newest firmware available at the Asus website THE MOMENT you unbox your and plug in your router. The firmware update went smoothly after I got the router reset to factory setup and working again, and now it's been working flawlessly for a month.

OK, second weak point - the router, as far as I'm concerned, comes from the factory improperly configured. That is, the default settings in the router hamper its full and proper operation.

What I mean by this is that after installing the router I was getting less than ideal performance out of it. While it was working well enough to give me good download and upload speeds (25mb/sec down, 15mb/sec up) from my cable connection, internal network speeds and coverage were below expectations. For example, paired with a matching dual band NetGear USB wireless adapter on my office computer, Windows wireless client was showing network speed fluctuating between 78Mbps and 216Mbps with it usually in the middle somewhere around 120Mbps. Better than the approx 50Mbps speeds I would see with my 802.11g router and adapter previously but not what I'd expected. In addition, the signal strength was rather poor in the back room. As another example, I was getting a consistent 144Mbps from my XPS M1530 laptop, with an older single band 2.4Ghz draft-N internal card, in the living room right near the router. Also less than my hopes had been for this router.

So I did some more thorough review of the wireless settings and found two big issues that needed to be change to get this router working as it should be.

The first was that the wireless control channel setting for both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands is set to "Auto" be default. Ideally, this would mean that the router would dynamically select the best channel based on local interference in that band. In the real world, though, this Auto mode on most routers doesn't work that well and this is no different. I performed a wireless network scan with my Android phone using a free app, and found that my router was camped out on Channel 6. As some may know, this is the default channel for most consumer routers and most home users never change away from it. Sure enough, there were three other wireless networks that I could detect around neighborhood that were on channel 6 as well. To remedy this, I took the 2.4Ghz band off of Auto and set the channel to 1. For those making this change themselves, be sure to scan using something like WiEye on your phone or inSSIDer on your computer. Assuming that most of the other routers in your area will be using channel 6, you will need to move yours to the far ends of the channel list, choosing either 1 or 11. This because the signal from the routers set to channel 6 do not stay there perfectly, instead they overlap substantially. A router on channel 8, for example, will have a pretty good overlap with those on channel 6 and will still see interference. The only way to avoid this is moving all the way to 1 or 11. I left the 5Ghz channel selection on Auto for now, as the 5Ghz band is much less interference prone currently, and in fact I don't believe there are any other 5Ghz networks in range in my neighborhood currently so it's a non-issue there.

The second major problem I found with the router's default setting was also in the router settings. The RT-N66U has the option to change the bandwidth for a given band. By default, I found that both the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands were set to a signal bandwidth of 20Hz. The reason this is a major issue is that at 20Hz, there is simply not enough throughput on the given band to allow for this router to hit its full speed potential. So I went ahead and set the router to use 40Hz bandwidth for each band.

With those two changes, my network performance and signal strength increased dramatically with real world results to prove it. Now, that dual-band network adapter in my office shows pegged at a solid 450Mbps (x2 for the dual bands for a theoretical 900Mbps hence the N900 designation on the router). Now that's what I'd been expecting all along! As for the laptop in the other room, on single band 2.4Ghz it is now hitting a rock solid 300Mbps which is the max for that older draft-N card. This extra speed has even helped me attain the max internet speeds I can expect from my cable plan, I'm now seeing 30+Mbps download speeds and 20+Mbps uploads.

Now that it is properly configured, I have set it up to do all sorts of other fun stuff. I set up the VPN, with encryption, and can now connect to that with my Android phone and tablet when traveling which is a great feature for secure and private browsing when at airports, hotels, etc. I set up a separate "guest" SSID that is segregated from my internal network for my phones and to connect to since they are the only devices that regularly leave the security of the internal network. There are still 5 more guest SSID's I can set up. Additionally, I connected a USB hard drive to it and it's running as a local share folder as well as a DLNA and iTunes server. It's doing all this with a desktop computer, two laptop computers, three Android phones, an Android tablet, a chromecast and a PS3 all connected to it and it's not even breaking a sweat.

So that's a lot of info, but I hope you can see that in the end with some know-how and research on the internet (like reading this review) this router can be just about the best thing you can do for your home or small business network at this price point. I would not hesitate to recommend it with the above provisos in mind.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 17, 2012
Well, as mentioned in another review, the firmware in the initial shipment of these (3.0.0.3.72) is broken. Not buggy, not unstable, but broken. You CANNOT connect to the Internet with the factory firmware, at least in the initial release. I purchased one, returned it in exchange for another one, and the second one had the exact same problem. As discussed on this here: [...]

You must manually enter a URL [...] then change to a language other than English, then update the firmware. (The current version from the ASUS website is 3.0.0.3.90 as of 1/13/2012) Of course, that means you need to download the firmware first, since you can't connect to the Internet with the factory firmware. And of course, a router is required for most people to access the Internet, so... well, you can see where I'm going with this.

After the firmware update, things were much better. I had the Internet connection set up in a few minutes, and the speed was unbelievable. Certainly the fastest consumer wireless on the market right now. It has nice features, like 6 different SSIDs for guest networks (3 for each band.) You can choose whether or not to give those networks access to your primary network, and since you can set up multiple SSIDs, you can have different settings for each. It also has parental controls, good QoS, a VPN server and some other nice features. It supports Zoneedit for dynamic DNS, so I was pretty happy about that. (Neither the Cisco or the Linksys models I have tried do.)

One feature that's present in the Linksys E4200, but not on this router, is an SSL web GUI. I work in IT, and it bothers me administering my firewall over plaintext HTTP. Probably not that big a deal to home users, but I don't think it's that difficult to implement an HTTPS server for the admin GUI. It also makes this unit completely unsuited for deployment in a business environment, where security is paramount. I'm hopeful that it'll be in a future firmware update. I could probably use this router for a lot of small-business clients.

As far as wireless range goes, this blows away both the Cisco E4200v1 and the Netgear WNDR3800, both of which I tested in the same placement as this one. I get full signal in all corners of my house, which isn't too big, but both the Netgear and Cisco routers got medium signal in the corners of my house. I have 5 wireless devices and 6 wired devices, and speed thus far has not been a problem. I stream video without drops and file transfers are quick. No complaints.

I really wish ASUS hadn't made the error of shipping this with broken firmware. They will undoubtedly have a return rate nearing 100% until they get the new firmware on shipping units. Had it not been for this, I would easily give this product 5 stars. If it had HTTPS on the GUI, I'd say it's a perfect device.

UPDATE 10/12/2012
So they fixed the firmware issue within a couple weeks of release. Now, they've released a firmware upgrade that adds HTTPS functionality. I'm upgrading my review to five stars!

UPDATE 11/16/2012
I changed the title of the review, because, other than price, there is no longer any reason not to buy this product. It is the best wireless access point on the market, save for the new ASUS RT-AC66U, which is just an updated version of this product. (New radio, supports a new standard that nobody uses yet.) I don't use it as a router, so I can't qualify those features, but as far as range, features and consistent connectivity, you can't beat this product at any price.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your feedback regarding the RT-N66u and for informing other users of this firmware issue. We are aware of the issue some users may be facing with firmware 3.0.0.3.72 and are working to have 3.0.0.3.90 installed in future shipments.

For users that have not installed the latest firmware, type http://192.168.1.1 into a web browser and enter your username and password if you have one, or enter the default username "admin" and password "admin" all lower case and without the quotations. Proceed to Advance Settings->Administration->Firmware Upgrade. Click "Check" and the router will find the latest firmware and prompt for permission to install. If this feature is not working, add the file manually from your computer.

For the latest firmware: http://www.asus.com/Networks/Wireless_Routers/RTN66U/#download
Please note it is recommended to perform the firmware update with an ethernet LAN connection between the computer.

For further questions or comments regarding the RT-N66u, please contact us at Networking_Support@asus.com

Best Regards,

Asus Networking Support
812-282-2787
http://vip.asus.com/eservice/techserv.aspx
on January 19, 2012
I got my shiny new RT-N66U today from Amazon.

I do networking for a living and figured even though I'd seen reports of the shipping factory firmware being broken in English mode, it would be no problem.

WHAT A PAIN!!!!!!!!!!! Come on Asus!!!!

The short and sweet version of how to get your router up and running with 3.0.0.3.72:

*Download 3.0.0.3.90 firmware from [...]
*Extract RT-N66U_3.0.0.3_90.trx to somewhere on your computer
*Log in to 192.168.1.1 (User:admin Pass:admin)
*Complete the initial setup wizard using any info you want. Just GET THROUGH IT. It will display a broken page at the end.
*Enter 192.168.1.1 in your web browser
*Click on "Administration" on the left
*Click on "Firmware Upgrade" on the top tab
*Switch the language box in the top-right-hand corner from "English" to something else. I used French.
*Upload RT-N66U_3.0.0.3_90.trx
***WAIT FOR IT TO FINISH***
*When it's complete, choose "English" again from the language drop-down.
*Go back to 192.168.1.1 and complete your initial router configuration.

The good news is that after I got 3.0.0.3.90 on the router all seems to be running smoothly.

I was replacing an ASUS RT-N56U and I have found so far:

*SIGNIFICANTLY better range on both 2.4 and 5ghz bands (Maybe 3-6db increase at an 80ft distance)

I'm hoping that when I get a wireless adapter that supports 450Mbps that I'll be able to see the huge difference.

I like the way it physically looks (Like some type of network Samurai device) and I love that I can swap out the antennas as I see fit. It looks pretty bad-ass actually.

It's been running smooth for a day now.

The specs on this thing are awesome. I just can't believe that Asus would let it ship out with severely broken English firmware. Oh well that's what I get for buying a product the day it's released lol.

The bottom line is that if you're into this kind of technology, the initial configuration pain shouldn't be a huge deterrent to you. Third-party Broadcom firmware support will be abundant for this router soon. There are already a few releases out there for you to try like TomatoUSB.

The 2.4ghz range increase was noticeable for me. 5ghz was also increased, but still has a smaller range footprint than the 2.4ghz band.

If you are not comfortable with this kind of work, maybe wait a few months for Asus to ship some units out with the firmware upgraded for you.

I would have given this router 5 stars if it wasn't for the shipping firmware bug. Asus, you get 4 stars for making me work.

Update to come in a few weeks of operation.

Update 1/19/12: Just using the built-in wifi radio on my Samsung Galaxy S2, I was able to use my router nearly a block away from my house on 2.4ghz. The router is near a window and this was almost line-of-sight.

I plan on playing with the DLNA features in the next day or two. I'll post how that goes.

So far so good! Love it!

Update 1/23/12: I've been busy the last few days but I wanted to check in and say that this router has been running 100% rock solid and the wifi range increase has been DRAMATIC for me. I love the looks and function of this unit and plan on recommending it to any friend who asks.

Pick one up, you'll love it.
1313 comments|361 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 13, 2012
I purchased this router 6 weeks ago. The setup was fine, although the more you use the user interface, you'll find it can be a bit buggy sometimes, even with the latest firmware. At Week 5, the router randomly lost ALL settings and had to be setup once again. I did this the first time and thought it would be a one-time occurence. Unfortunately, it was NOT. For the next week, I spent countless hours setting it up just to find it would randomly loose all settings and need to be configured again, as if I was hooking it up for the first time. I tried updating the firmware, recovering and resetting the device, even tried switching out my DSL modem, just in case that was the issue. SO frustrating! Since it had been more than 30 days, I couldn't exchange the item and had to reach out to ASUS for support. I filed a ticket that the router was defected and received a long email with troubleshooting recovery steps to run through before I would "call the router defective" (according to an ASUS rep). Well, after a ton of steps that included downloading new firware, new utilities, installing utilities, forcing router into recovery and attempting a firware restoration, the router got stuck at this stage and NEVER came out!!! I finally called ASUS rather than work with their email support and the tech had me run through 3 different processes to try to recover the router. None worked. The saddest part is that eventhough I spent nearly two hundred on this router and countless troubleshooting hours, the BEST ASUS could do to stand by their product was ask me to ship it to them for repair. Estimated 7-10 business days for repair and refused to send a replacement router prior to receiving the defective one. I was so surprised at the poor level of customer service for such an expensive and 6 week-old router. Even my Trendnet Gigabit Switch that went out allowed me to put down a deposit via credit card so that the new item could be sent out asap while I shipped back the defective. And that was for a product 1/8 the cost and older! ASUS loses major point with me on standing by their product to support a customer when things go wrong. Their recommendation to me when I said what will I do without a router for about 2 weeks? - ASUS said: Go out and buy another one with your money, if you can and keep the receipt to return to the store when we send you a replacement. How inconvenient and what poor support of customers! I've had BUFFALO and Linksys in the past and cannot believe how ASUS turned out. 2 Stars only because the router is fast when it works, but not much else.

Update as of August 7, 2012- Changing to 1-Star Review
It's now been well beyond the "7-10" business days I was quoted for router repair. :-( I sent in the router (after all of those hours of troubleshooting) for repair by ASUS on July 13, 2012. They received the router on July 19 and since then, the tracking information on it has NOT changed from "In Repair". That's not even the worst of it. I called ASUS to inquire about the delay. Spoke to the Rep #1 who said "we say 7-10 business days but it can be more like 14". Where on earth did he get "14" from, I don't know. I informed him that all of my note and their confirmation email clearly states 7-10 business days. Frustrated, I asked to speak with a supervisor. Even though I've come to learn ASUS supports is beyond sub-par to anything we should expect, I held out a naive hope that the supervisor would once and for all make this terrible situation right for me as their customer. Once again, ASUS shocked me. The supervisor, in a cold and non-empathic demeanor took the phone, let me know the router was "still in repair" and that he could do nothing to speed up the process. He promised to "send an email" to inquire as to any additional information on the status of the router. It has now been an additional 1 week that has passed by. NO router, NO call from the supervisor or ANY other rep to follow-up. Nothing. In my frustration, I asked the supervisor to please intervene in my situation and that all I wanted was to come home and see the router on front steps- delivered back repaired.

I guess nothing about the customer matters to ASUS. It didn't matter that I paid two hundred dollars for this router, that it was only 6 weeks after purchased when it broke down, that I spent nearly 30 hours troubleshooting via email correspondence, online forums and calls with techs, that I was told to pay to ship the router to them, that I was promised 7-10 business for a returned, repair router but and that it is now August 7, over 1 month since the router first broke down and over 3 weeks since they've had the router physically in their possession for repair, that I called to check on it when it was late, that I pleaded with the supervisor to help me out.

It is certainly clear, by the long line of actions demonstrated towards my case, that ASUS is NOT in the business of doing right by the customer. I will NOT purchase an ASUS product in the future and I advise all those considering an ASUS product to weigh the evidence of my direct experience that has been negative across many reps and all processes related to customer support.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on November 21, 2013
The top usb port failed during the first 6 months. The Asus repair center is a joke. I paid to ship it back to them, TWICE. After they shipped it back the second time, it still had the original bad usb port. It was obvious that the did NOT even attempt to repair the problem. Both times the ticket said that the router had been repaired. After trying twice with dismal results, I decided it wasn't worth the frustration to have to deal with the process again.

Due to Asus's poor customer service, I will be avoiding all of their products in the future.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Wyman,

We strive to provide continued support for our products. Please contact us about it and we'd gladly provide you with assistance. You may reach out to networking_support@asus.com and include case#3730770 in the subject line. ASUS Customer Loyalty is here to listen and respond to your concerns and to help you with a positive ASUS experience.

Sincerely,
Celeste
ASUS Customer Loyalty
on December 6, 2013
i bought this about a year ago and for the past month the router would all of sudden slowdown and then freeze and then i had to reboot the router. I don't down load a lot or connect a lot of devices to it so not sure what is causing this. i upgraded the firmware and still same issue. i called Asus and they couldn't isolate the issue. So i returned it. Asus warranty is the worst!
Asus told me that i had to return the product to be "fixed", they said their policy was that they couldn't send me back another router instead and i had to wait until they got my router and then fixed (which they would say the fix part would take 7-10 business days) my router and then send it back to me (via regular mail). I also had to pay for shipping to send it to them. They got the product on a Monday and after 1 whole week and after i called their rma #, they told me that "they" had send the router to wrong place and now they had send it to the right place for repair. 2 weeks have passed and they still can not tell me what the status of my rma! Every time i called their ram # , i had to wait on average over 35 mins. I could never check my rma status on their web site and their system could never find my rma ticket #. I asked to be routed to a supervisor and instead got a voice mail which i left a message,but not surprisingly they never returned my call back. I asked Asus to at least that once router is repaired to expedite the shipping back to me but they said they couldn't do that. Then i asked what can they do to make up for all this , and all i heard was a great silence. What a great company. I will never ever buy anything from them.
Be warned that if you ever have to use your product warranty, you might go through this.
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on July 9, 2013
I purchased the router about a month ago and it was working great. Then for no apparent reason, I was losing connectivity to the internet and through troubleshooting with my ISP we determined it to be the router.

I was advised on web chat to reset the router and my problems continued. I called customer service and they were very nice but unfortunately determined the router to be bad.

That was annoying enough but then I found out I had to pay to have the router shipped back to them. They have to replacement policy that would allow for me to get the router back or replacement router quickly. So based on where I live, California, the turn around on the router is 10-14 days. To have to pay for a bad product, along with long turn around time, is just poor support. I am going to have it repaired and then sell it. I do not want to do business with a company that treats their customers so poorly.

As a side note, after complaining about paying for shipping, I was told that Asus pays for it if you have to send it in again, not a comforting thought. The rep did then make an exception for me and told me she was going to send me a pre-paid Fed Ex label. However as of this time I have not received it, so it is still on me to pay for the return.

Additional note 8/5/13. Router was "repaired" on 8/1/13, a full 7 business days after receipt. As of 8/4 (A Sunday), it had not been shipped. It's a good thing I got a replacement router from the cable company. Pathetic turn around time.

8/8/13 Router returned after 2 weeks. I got a replacement router. As I was working with the ISP to hook it up, I saw that the router failed to broadcast in 5GHz so this one is defective too.

I will never buy an Asus product again. Their are quality control issues and the customer service is extremely poor.
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on January 10, 2013
Edit: I've confirmed that the VPN and port forwarding functions are broken. I can't post a help question to ASUS support as their site is so broken. I'm surprised and disapointed that ASUS have not responded to my review or to the forum posts I've made. Finally I just put Shibby Tomato firmware on the router and wow all the functions work including VPN and port forwarding. This is a good router, lots of power "if" you turn the power up, but the the firmware and latest updates are completely broken. Sad, ASUS should be embarrassed.

Dear ASUS, this product is a huge failure. Port forwarding and DMZ functions are broken. I am was a network architect for 10 years and understand networking and routers; the RT-N66U is broken.
For those who are happy with this router, it works as a router but I paid extra for the features I needed and those extra features don't work. I have spent over a week trying to get an IP phone working that requires several ports to be forwarded to it. My Netgear router does this fine but the ASUS does not.

For those who will buy it anyway because of its claims of great performance, be a little wary. You have to dig deep to find the power output settings and increase them. Out of the box this router performs no better or worse than one half it's price.

I also bought it for its VPN function and although that works the tools to update your DDNS are broken. ASUS offers a free DDNS but theirs times out and deletes it's account if your IP doesn't change very often. You cannot even force an update to your DDNS provider if your IP hasn't changed. Very sad. Oh, and ASUS doesn't have their DDNS server highly available, it's been down several times this last month alone.

I think the thing that really stunned me as far as brokenness was the DMZ. Even putting the IP phone on the DMZ would not allow the correct ports to it. The IP phone works just great on the Netgear routers DMZ.

Not a thing that is technically broken but still sad; there is no warning that changing a setting is going to restart the router and take down your network. This is for my wife's home business and dropping her off of VPN in middle of the day was not a happy time.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on June 30, 2012
Package was delivered promptly and hookup was easy. Updated firmware and after that all the problem started. The latest firmware was 3.0.0.3.112 and as soon as I installed it the wireless started dropping and would not stay connected for more than 5 minutes at a time. Finally after trying everything called customer support number stated on the box and oh my gosh the absolutely rudest guy answered the phone. He would not listen to the problem and just told me to return the item and without even analyzing the problem told me that he could not do anything. Not only was he rude but suggested that why I was calling the support line. I have already returned the package with a case number, I will never buy a ASUS product again, already had lots to problem with there Transformer Prime TF201 but still thought of giving them a second chance. Absolutely horrible experience with these people which is totally unexpectable if I have spent close $200.00 for one of their product now and $500.00 in the past on the Transformer Prime.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Rick,

I apologize for the rude behavior from customer support. If you would still like to troubleshoot your issues I would be more than happy to help. Please know that if you have any problems with any Asus product you can contact me directly and will help you to the best of my abilities. I believe I can change your mind about Asus support if you would like the opportunity. You can email me at cl-jeremy@asus.com (ref#1043-2249) with any comments or concerns you may have. Thank you.

Regards,
Jeremy
ASUS Customer Loyalty
on November 25, 2013
I really wanted to give this more than 1 star because it DOES have a lot of nice features and it DOES perform excellent... when it's able to. I've had this for almost 2 months now every day it loses connection to the cable modem. I've updated the firmware and reset factory settings. I've also had an unanswered tech support ticket with ASUS for over a month now and they constantly pass me around on the phone or keep me on hold for hours at a time. I know for sure the router is at fault because I can hook up my old router and it stays connected until the plug is pulled.

This issue is documented in various places with people having the same problems, be very cautious before buying this router and you will surely have to purchase another one when you get fed up with resetting the router / cable modem on a daily basis.
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