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Asus RT-N56U review

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Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 5

Asus RT-N56U
  • Asus RT-N56U
  • Asus RT-N56U
  • Asus RT-N56U
  • Asus RT-N56U
  • RT-N56U Dual Band Wireless-N Router

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Very fast
  • Comprehensive firewall options
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Side placing of ports
  • Supplied software is Windows only

Key Features

  • 5 Gigbit Ethernet ports
  • 2 USB ports
  • Dual-band 802.11a, b g and n Wi-Fi
  • Antennae: 2x 2.4GHz, 3x 5GHz
  • LED display
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: free/subscription

Stylish and router; two words in the English lexicon that rarely find themselves in together in a sentence without a negative modifier before the former. And yet stylish is what the Asus RT-56U wants itself to be thought of as. Not that its aesthetics are all the RT-56U is touting, there's an impressive feature set beneath that glossed-up exterior, but it's definitely the look of the thing that will catch your eye initially.

The design won't be to everyone's tastes; we think the glossy, crosshatch effect is quite tasteful. We think it looks worth its £99 asking price. The shape of the RT-56U means you'll either have to stand it upright on its vertical stand, or have it laying flat on a desk; the problem with this is the placement of ports on the right-hand edge could leave wires visible. We'd have preferred to see rear-facing inputs.

Still, we can't fault the RT-56U for its provision of five Gigbit Ethernet ports (four for adding computers, one for connecting to your modem), alongside two USB ports. If that's not enough connectivity for you, then dual-band 802.11a, b g and n Wi-Fi should be. Not only is the RT-56U able to run two Wi-Fi networks at once, it also features no fewer than two antennae for 2.4GHz networks and three for 5GHz. What's more, the RT-56U has a feature called Ai Radar that purports to focus its radio in the direction of connected clients, boosting both signal strength and range.

There’s an LED for power, each Wi-Fi network, wired network activity and the USB ports; plus the Ethernet ports have their indicator LEDs integrated, so there’s no risk of not knowing what the RT-56U is doing at any given moment. We're pleased to note that the LEDs are surprisingly unobtrusive - Asus seems to understand that running these at full brightness isn't mandatory.

The admin interface is visually unchanged on the RT-56U, the only differences between this router and others of Asus’ we’ve looked at being the options available. That’s nothing to moan about, though, because other than finding the occasional bit of ‘Engrish’ here and there, we found the interface intuitive and easy to use.

There’s a huge range of configuration options, which is unsurprising as the RT-56U has a huge feature set. There are almost too many Wi-Fi options to choose from. Unsurprisingly you can set-up the different frequency networks independently, with separate SSIDs, passwords and levels of encryption. WPS is available if wanted, and you can even hook up to a RADIUS server. The option to select the days and times when the Wi-Fi will be active or not will probably be of limited appeal, but it’s patently better to have it than not.

Jasonw

December 6, 2010, 5:20 pm

Hi, where about's can this be purchased? I have searched the net and can't find it available to buy anywhere in the UK. Thanks

Dean Apiagyei-Williams

December 6, 2010, 5:30 pm

Can't seem to find this on PC World's website... any chance of a direct link? My boss wants one!

GherkingTR

December 6, 2010, 7:30 pm

This is something I hadn't considered - I need to upgrade to 'n' grade wifi, but also need basic networked storage, ala pogoplug/netgear stora. Why not kill two birds with one stone, especially as gigabit ethernet is thrown in? This makes the £100 asking price very reasonable.


Great review, all bases covered as usual. If it's not too early to say it: Merry Christmas Hugo!

hankb6d

December 6, 2010, 10:19 pm

Stylish as an opened ring binder it maybe, size wise and wired up it will look truly awful.

Pbryanw

December 7, 2010, 1:12 am

For some reason the picture on page 1 makes me think of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Finally router's are starting to look sexy.

ASUS UK

December 7, 2010, 3:59 pm

Hey guys, the product should be available in PC World imminently - Stock has landed last week so should be reaching stores soon!

DaveH

December 10, 2010, 9:19 pm

Scuse my ignorance but...I have an existing modem/router but not a standalone modem. Is it possible to use the modem section of the modem/router (standard O2 issue) with the Asus router?

Tony Walker

December 11, 2010, 8:48 pm

If you want a Gigabit router and DSL model all-in-one then take a look at Netgear's DGN3500.

Hyperion

December 13, 2010, 11:50 am

Two questions I guess - does it support cable (sorry if that's a daft question). Secondly where on earth can I find one?





PC World doesn't even have this as a "coming soon item"....and searches for the device yield very little other than reviews.

Hyperion

January 3, 2011, 3:20 pm

PC world now have these in stock albeit only online. They expect to have some in stores toward the end of January 2011 according to Customer Support. Price is certainly higher than the £99 quoted above....Amazon have them in stock via a reseller with a3-5 day lead time and lower price.





I've been looking for a replacement for my Belkin N1 router for a while looks like the Asus will get first shot at the "crown" of my wireless kingdom in 2011! Ok...perhaps my metaphor went a little too far....

IB

January 5, 2011, 1:18 am

Had this for 3 days now and haven't had a single drop out. Looks good, feels nice and solid and according to the stats, I'm getting a 300Mb wireless link across the 5GHz connection. Would recommend. Bought from PC World instore for £119.99. The website kept failing at the payment details stage, and then the price went up from £99.99. I'm using it on the VM network, so Hyperion, yes it is suitable for cable. I haven't attached the base and it looks good on its side with the cables trailing off the edge of the desk behind.

Hyperion

January 7, 2011, 12:22 am

Thanks IB.


I've ordered mine through Amazon in the end...a little cheaper than PC World although it came via a German supplier. I'll try to set it up in the next couple of days. Hopefully it will be as positive an experience as you and the reviewer have had :-)

jimdday007

January 16, 2011, 3:27 am

Thinking about getting one of these (finally a dual band wireless g/n modem with gigabit ports!!)





re "time-restricted URL filtering list" - how flexible is this? - Can the administrator limit internet access using differnt rules (ie kids PC's only having access between 19:00 - 21:00 Sun to Thur, 17:00 - 22:00 on Fri to Sat)- Manual does not give details.

Hyperion

January 18, 2011, 12:18 am

Quick Update: I've had the Asus for 2 weeks now. I thought I'd let you know my findings. Positives: Stylish looking, good coverage, reasonably simple setup.


Negatives: Too many power adapters (that might be due to the supplier), woefully slow load time for the web interface, very poor manual, sometimes too basic context help.


Overall I would still recommend it.





One last thing, I updated the firmware and ever since I found that one of my PCs running a Linksys PCI adapter can't connect at all. It's the only 802.11n adapter I have and it's the only one that fails. Everything else is fine. Shouldn't be an issue but I can't find the old firmware anywhere.

RickyShorter

January 18, 2011, 9:37 pm

Is there a Modem Router version of this available? Currently using a Belkin PlayMax, which is ok, but does not have Gigabit sockets.


Everyone seems to have a Gigabit+Dualband model for Cable customers, but nothing for those of us stuck with ADSL

ctrlbrk

April 15, 2011, 1:42 pm

any word on hd movie streaming from a usb attached hard drive to the router to a PS3?

has anyone tried this with the asus?

i have tv and router in the same room on opposite sides....i'd like to attach a terrabyte to the router and stream hd movie on to my ps3.....does anyone know a good router for this solution?

soca

August 9, 2011, 2:25 am

Not fit for purpose. Not only is this device (my second btw so its not an isolated issue) unable to maintain a network connection for over 2 mins, it is an known issue as confirmed to me by ASUS via email with no known fix at the moment. I am not happy with Trusted Reviews for recommending this and less so with ASUS for selling a product that is not fit for purpose

Smile it is almost Friday!

January 19, 2015, 12:48 pm

Acutally this model has a well known reputation for "bricking". Mine did when it attempted to update to the latest firmware. I did not feel it was my responcilbility to fix it. I went to exchange it. There was a long queue. I was not willing to wait.

I tried the online customer service. They told me I needed to use the Windows based "recovery tool". I explained that I do not own a Windows based computer. They had no "canned answer" to that.

Many ISP's give them away free with a new contract. That is how I got mine. Being that it was free, I had nothing to lose.

Anyway, I did a search on the NET, only to learn that the problem is well known. I tossed it in the rubbish. It was free. I saw no point in bothering with trying to recover it. Not when so many good routers can be had for well under $100.

Being that they are free here, I know lots of people who have them, but I do not know any who have good things to say about this model.

The online customer service attempted to follow up. I told them I had tossed it in the rubbish. Again they had no "canned answer". It took them over two weeks to come back with, "let us know if you need more assistance".

Stu Lockwood

December 29, 2015, 9:59 pm

Extremely disappointed after seeing/reading all of the positive reviews for this model. I bought this because it was on offer advertising Dual Band, 600 Mbps etc etc.
The wi-fi was (I have removed the unit) not fit for purpose as another reviewer commented. Couldn't even get a full signal down a single flight of stairs!
I have reconnected my old TP-Link router which does everything this thing did but with a far superior wi-fi range.
So, so disappointed.
Actually, the ergonomics are not particularly good with this unit because the ethernet connections are made from the SIDE whereas most other routers are from the back!

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