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Asus RT-N16 Wireless Router review



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Let's face it; for most of us routers aren't an item we lust after, but rather a necessity of the 'digital age' as ours seems to have become known. Generally they also include an ADSL modem and come part and parcel with a broadband subscription - end of story. However, if your ISP is anything like mine that router isn't exactly the most modern piece of tech in your house and with the growing prevalence of devices implementing Gigabit Ethernet (and warranting its use, a la NAS boxes) or 802.11n Wi-Fi it might just be time for an upgrade.

That's where the Asus RT-N16 wireless router steps in; catering to the routing needs of more modern connections. If you want an ADSL or cable modem built-in, this isn't the router for you, but there are plenty of situations when that shouldn’t be a problem.

Starting with its simplest aspects; the RT-N16 measures 216 x 162 x 41mm and weighs 470g - although I doubt the weight of a router has ever put anyone off buying one. At the device's rear are its power input, a pair of USB ports, an Ethernet port for hooking up the RT-N16 to your ADSL or cable modem, four Ethernet ports for sharing that connection with the rest of your home, and last, but not least, three antennae, for spreading the router's Wi-Fi about. That wireless comes, incidentally, in 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n (draft) flavours.

The two USB ports should prove useful when combined with the RT-N16's ability to share files on an external drive over its network ports. That becomes particularly useful when used with the built-in Enhanced Download Master. Despite its slightly silly name, this is actually very useful as it enables the router to download files over 'normal' HTTP, FTP or - perhaps most usefully - BitTorrent and save them to an attached USB storage device.

This functionality becomes doubly useful thanks to the RT-N16's provision of a UPnP media server. As such, media files stored on (or, more likely, downloaded to) an attached storage device can be streamed over the router's wired and wireless connections to a compatible device. Using the built in AiDisk feature these files can also be shared over the 'net, using a DDNS service provided by Asus - particularly useful if you need remote access to a file too large to email.

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January 14, 2010, 5:36 am

So when are we going to see Wifi devices based on the Final N standard? They seem to be taking forever!


January 14, 2010, 8:33 am

I'm not sure I see the point in this review. Surely it's more important to test the machines performance rather than explaining the UI? Most people who pay the extra for this gigabit, wireless-n, NAS enabled router are comfortable getting around most router configuration screens and are more interested in read/write rates across the wired/wireless network and the load whilst downloading torrents? Just a suggestion.

Matt Ross

January 14, 2010, 2:19 pm

If it were me buying it I'd want to replace the firmware with DD-WRT anyway so the interface would be irrelevant. I'll have to go check their forums to see if it's supported.


January 14, 2010, 3:39 pm

In the review you mention that the QoS helps downloading and doing other things at the same time. I have the D-Link Dir-655 which I bought for Gigabit Lan, Wireless N and QoS.

The problem is that QoS is for outbound packets only it seems. So when I am downloading the latest linux builds or game demos through newsgroups, browsing the internet is slow as treacle on my 50gig connection. Does this router have its own implementation of QoS that can limit inbound packets by port or program etc?

Simon Heather

January 14, 2010, 5:41 pm

The Edimax BR-6574n is half the price and has everything bar the USB ports. I would want to know whether the router has good performance before paying twice the money.


January 15, 2010, 12:09 am

@Alan Clinch - 50gig connection. Lucky you ;-) Just limit your Usenet client to 45gig and you internet browsing should fly!! LOL

Martin Daler

January 15, 2010, 3:01 am

No wonder we don't get excited by routers. They are all just so much of the same thing - 4-way switch and a wireless bit. OK, here we have a couple of USB ports (not USB3 I assume, that might be too exciting). How about a few more ports - surely we've a right to aspire to more than a couple of PC's, a printer and a solitary NAS. Where do I plug in my VoIP box, for example. Come to that, why isn't VoIP in the router (too exciting?) The only thing that has happened to wifi routers in the last geological period is the addition of two more aerials, and a different letter of the alphabet. Yeah, get excited!


January 15, 2010, 1:31 pm

That's what I have done, but I don't always get 50 so it doesn't really work. I have tried everything, its not as bad now as when I was on 20Mb cause I am not getting the virgin cap and with 50Mb the downloads are done in a flash.

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