We didn’t find Multi-SSIDs and VIP zones too tricky to set up but were surprised that the documentation is completely devoid of any enlightenment on these topics. For each LAN port you can allow access from all SSIDs or a specific one only. To create a guest wireless zone with Internet access only you need to assign an SSID to a LAN port with no wired clients attached. For bandwidth controls, you define the total amount available and then split it up between each SSID using percentages.
To test wireless performance we used a Fujitsu Siemens 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo system with 2GB of memory, running Vista SP1 and equipped with a Netgear RangeMax wireless N USB adapter. Copying a 690MB video clip over a close range WPA2 encrypted link returned uninspiring average speeds of 58Mbps and moving the system to the floor below the router with a few brick walls in the way saw speeds drop by around 40 per cent – pretty much on a par with similarly priced wireless N routers.
Standard features include a NAT/SPI firewall which can be disabled if required and augmented with your own sets of filter rules. Once again, you’re on your own as the manual doesn’t even mention these. Virtual servers are used to route inbound traffic to specific servers based on port ranges, and multiple entries are supported.
A single DMZ (demilitarised zone) entry allows one LAN system to leave the protection of the firewall and you can apply lists of URLs and keyword blocks, as well as use schedules to define when they are active. A separate section is provided for domain filtering but these all have serious limitations if you want to create decent access policies.
If you want a more sophisticated URL filtering solution than check out D-Link’s similarly priced DIR-615, which uses black and white lists allowing you to decide precisely what websites your users can and can’t access.
Bandwidth management can also be applied to LAN systems where you choose from a list of predefined protocols such as HTTP, POP3 and SMTP, assign local and remote IP addresses to them and choose from three traffic priorities. As with wireless clients you can also apply a MAC address filter list to LAN users for either blocking or allowing listed systems.
Support for multiple SSIDs makes the RT-N11 more flexible than most wireless routers at this price point and it also provides some useful bandwidth management tools. However, wireless N performance isn’t anything to write home about and Asus’ documentation is woefully inadequate.