Sunday, December 07, 2014

Review: Asus RT-N66U Router

My 5 year old used Cisco E3000 was on its last legs, and the cheap $20 replacement TPLink wasn't any better. Worse, in an attempt to upgrade the firmware on the TPLink, I bricked it, and was suddenly indeed of a decent router.

The problem with routers is that most of them use the 2.4GHz band, which is very prone to interference as everything in your house probably uses it as well. Furthermore, your neighbors also probably use the 2.4GHz channel for their wifi, and soon you're in connectivity hell.

The answer, then, is to get a dual-band router, one that will handle both 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels. You can't just get a 5GHz router, since legacy devices only support 2.4GHz, and chances are you have at least one of those in active use.

My lesson with bricking my TPlink also taught me that I should just rely on the firmware that comes on the router and not mess around with installing open source stuff. The net net is that I ended up with the Asus RT-N66R.

The weird thing about Asus is that rather than have only one product in each category, they have lots of products with the exact same name differing by only one character, but for all purposes there's no difference between the R and the U units, they just get revised at random and it's just pure insanity.

Installing the router was easy, as was configuring it. What you want to do is to separate the 2 SSIDs into 5GHz and 2.4GHz one so that there's clear separation. I then did an internet speed test and wow, ok, now I'm getting all the speed I was promised by comcast, rather than a pathetic performance. The real test came over the next few days as we saw zero dropped internet connections. The router was rock solid, as were connections with the devices.

You can spend lots of time dicking around with equipment or you can just throw money at it. This is one of those cases where throwing money at the problem solved all sorts of problems, and hence the product is highly recommended.

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