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Asus RT-N66U is the best 801.11N WiFi router

Edward KiledjianComment

Over the last 3 years, I have tested over 20 different 801.11n wireless routers at home. What you realize quickly is that marketing promises aren't always kept in a real world environment and that a "crappy" WiFi router can be the difference between a rewarding or upsetting gadget experience.

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I tested every name brand device (including the some that claimed to offer super powerful transmission chips). After everything was said and done, my device of choice is the Asus RT-N66U. When compared to every other device I tested, it provided the most reliable connection and was able to push out more bits farther than anyone else.

When shopping for an 801.11n router, I wanted a reliable device capable of supporting multiple heavy users simultaneously and a device that supports the latest N900 specification (which offers better performance).

What is the Asus RT-N66U

The Asus RT-N66U is a dual-band (3 antenna) N900 router with wired gigabit support. 2 bands are important because the 2.4GHz is an older frequency that has much more congestion (which is bad) but offers considerably longer distance connections. the 5GHz band doesn't work as far out as the 2.4GHz band but offers much better performance (better meaning faster more reliable performance in typical urban settings).

The performance is a result of the great hardware bundled into this little package, mainly 32GB of storage and 256MB of RAM. This means that I can easily stream heavy HD content from multiple devices without any hesitation. It also makes this device an excellent candidate for customer firmwares like DD-wrt  although I am keeping my device stock.

Now its time for sticker shock. This router costs upwards of $150 which may seem high when compared to the cheap toy-like products you can pickup at your local big box store but trust me you get what you pay for.

When I first received the device, I ran scripts detween my various devices to copy multiple extremely large (terrabyte size) files back and forth between devices for 24 hours. The device handled everything like a champ. One piece of advice is to ensure you upgrade the firmware as soon as you open the box. There are know issues with older firmware that is all fixed with the most recent releases.

What about the RT-AC66U?

The RT-AC66U is the newer version of the RT-N66U and it offers support for the new 801.11AC standard which offer increased performance and range when used with AC devices. The AC version is about $50 more expensive than the N version and for some it may be worth it. 

80% of the time, my wireless router is used to access the internet and the device (with its N technology) is more than capable of supporting my 60MB download speed. The other 20% of the time, I stream content from one device to another and am happy with the speed of the N66U.

If you are upgrading now, you may want to spend the extra money (consider it future proofing insurance) but you should be upgrading your router every 2-3 years anyway so....

Verdict

Having tried every one of its main competitors (Cisco, Dlink, Buffalo, etc) nothing came close to the stability and raw performance of the Asus RT-N66U. Even if the price seems a bit shocking, it is well worth the money.