- Review Price: £81.00
Unless you have a particularly stingy Internet Service Provider (ISP), it’s likely that you had an ADSL modem supplied when you first signed up for your broadband subscription. It’s also likely that if you’re the type to venture into such a device’s menus you’ll have found it isn’t exactly a bastion of configurability. And that is, of course, why power-users might consider throwing down a little over £80 to upgrade to the likes of the Asus DSL-N13 Wireless ADSL 2/2+ Modem Router.
The DSL-N13’s full name should betray its primary functions to all but the most dyslexic of would-be buyers. To whit: the DSL-N13 will hook up to your phone line, sync up your ADSL, ADSL2 or ADSL2+ connection and then broadcast it out over Draft-N Wireless – or 802.11g and b, if you’re still kicking it old-school.
The ADSL set-up process is blissfully easy, connecting to our O2 broadband service using its automatic detection, asking only for a username and password. There is a manual configuration option, but unless you’re using a particularly new and/or obscure ISP it seems unlikely to be needed. Broadband performance was entirely identical using the DSL-N13 compared to our O2 bundled router so there are no complaints on that front.
The admin interface offers a number of configuration options for managing network performance (QoS to the geeks). Either you can prioritise a mix of four pre-sets – such as Gaming Blaster and Internet Application – or alternatively set any number of custom options, giving different ports priority on a one to eight scale. So far as we could tell it seems to work, with a download of the Robin Hood trailer appearing to have no negative impact on a high-octane round of Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer when using the Gaming Blaster mode.
Using the excellent software tool Iperf to test its performance, the DSL-N13 delivered fairly poor results. Close up we recorded a disappointing 62.7Mbit/sec, and that dropped to a mere 13.3Mbit through two walls – a more typical home scenario. Enabling WPA2-Personal encryption saw speeds drop to 62.8Mbit/s close-up and 7.9Mbit/s at a distance – hardly blazing performance.
We’re not surprised that the DSL-N13 wasn’t able to deliver the 300Mbit/s theoretical maximum of 802.11n wireless, but it would be nice to see results at least besting 100Mbit Ethernet. Moreover, the routers MIMO capability doesn’t seem to offer much benefit in the situation it should prove most useful: connecting at a distance, through walls.
Even if the DSL-N13 did provide ultra-fast Wi-Fi it wouldn’t prove amazingly useful, as it doesn’t offer Gigabit Ethernet. As such there’s less benefit to the DSL-N13’s Wi-Fi exceeding 100Mbit/s anyway, as its wired interface is limited to that speed. Not that we’re willing to accept that as an excuse.
In the DSL-N13’s defence, it is fast enough to make transferring even multi-gigabyte files to an attached USB device limited by that interface, and to exceed most broadband connections, so these speed limitations might not be noticeable in the real world.
Outright performance isn’t quite its forte, then. Fortunately there’s more to the DSL-N13, helping to separate it from the pack. As a quick peak around the back betrays, the four Ethernet jacks are accompanied by a pair of USB ports. These enable connection of either a printer, which can then be accessed over the DSL-N13’s local network, or a storage device.
First, this lets the DSL-N13 double up as a (admittedly fairly basic) NAS device, as long as you don’t mind it being a fairly slow one. Second, with Asus’ AiDisk service you can assign your router an FTP address (routed via Asus and dynamically updated) giving you access to your files over the Internet. Obviously there are other ways of doing this, but it’s useful to have it built into the router itself and it does work.
The Asus DSL-N13 Wireless ADSL 2/2+ Modem Router doesn’t break any boundaries with its wireless performance. Luckily it has a number of useful extra features to entice buyers.
Score in detail
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