Asus RT-N56U - Asus RT-N56U

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Firewall options are similarly comprehensive. As well as standard features such as DoS protection and MAC filtering, the RT-56U also offers a time-restricted URL filtering list. Need to stop employees ‘tweeting’ their every activity during office hours? Go ahead. Annoyed by hoe many hours your daughter is spending on Facebook? Just throw it on the blacklist. And hope they don’t own a smartphone, of course.

The RT-56U’s two USB ports can be used for attaching a hard drive, a printer or a compatible 3G dongle (sadly none of the adaptors we have in the office were compatible). Hard drives can then be accessed either as a network drive or via FTP, and there’s even the option to make that FTP server available over the internet with several choices of dynamic DNS services if you want to use those.


The RT-56U will also make any media files on attached drives available via a built-in uPnP server. We found this worked perfectly well with both a PS3 and an Xbox 360, with literally zero configuration required on our part, which is good. The RT-56U also has a software utility on a bundled CD that enables downloads over HTTP, FTP or BitTorrent to be handled by the router, with the files being saved to any attached USB hard drive. The only possible downside to this tool is that it is Windows-only.

All this would be for nothing were the Asus RT-56U sluggish as a mule, but in fact it proved one of the fastest routers we’ve ever tested. With the RT-56U sat between a two systems, one connected via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and the other via Gigabit Ethernet, we saw average transfer speeds of 92Mbit/s within the same room, only dropping to 74Mbit/s when separated by two brick walls. Switching to the 5GHz network saw results improve significantly to 124Mbit/s up close and 103Mbit/s at a distance. Admittedly nowhere near the “up to 900Mbit/s” transfers boasted on the RT-56U’s packaging, but still impressive.

Verdict


It’s not often that a router can be considered remotely interesting, but the RT-56U is such a rarity. Not only is it attractively designed, it’s also very well featured, and offers exceptional performance. Plus, it’s well-priced considering what’s on offer.

Score in detail

  • Value 9
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