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Thread: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

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    Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    As good as the Caped Crusader himself?
    Read more.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    I have the N66U myself and i don't really regret the outlay as coverage is now superb in our house over the VM SHub. Sadly my S3 is the only 5GHz device in the house, but havering ultra speeds upstairs and still having 'fast' speeds downstairs on 2.4GHz feel like a revelation.

    The heat is definitely an issue though. I can't say i like the thought of it running warm all the time and expecting 2+ years out of it.

    There is no way to turn off the 5GHz chip, for example, to possibly reduce the heat. There are a few other options that you can flick on/off in the config too which is says may reduce router load but all of these are performance based (naturally) so i feel a bit cheated that you should have to turn off "network hardware acceleration" to cool it down - among other things (firewall and so on).

    The USB ports not being 3.0 is pretty naff too, tbh given the price of the router. Furthermore, me and a few others around the web have had lots of issues trying to get portable USB HDDs to function properly.

    I can agree on the button layout too - it's very poor. The power cable also leaves a lot to be desired where build quality and flimsy feel is concerned.

    Lastly, my biggest gripe is the blue LEDs which can not be turned off. I have a Razer Nostromo and U2711 on my desk and the N66U's LEDs are far brighter! I came across a custom firmware which does turn them off but i'm nto sure which base firmware it's built on so didn't want to risk losing out on any fixes Asus may have done (they're been quite active with updates IMO -possibly good and bad, i guess).
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Did Asus not learn from their Hasbro law suit that they should perhaps avoid trying to gain popularity of their devices using references to popular films?

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Quote Originally Posted by Terbinator View Post
    I have the N66U myself and i don't really regret the outlay as coverage is now superb in our house over the VM SHub. Sadly my S3 is the only 5GHz device in the house, but havering ultra speeds upstairs and still having 'fast' speeds downstairs on 2.4GHz feel like a revelation.

    The heat is definitely an issue though. I can't say i like the thought of it running warm all the time and expecting 2+ years out of it.

    The USB ports not being 3.0 is pretty naff too, tbh given the price of the router. Furthermore, me and a few others around the web have had lots of issues trying to get portable USB HDDs to function properly.

    Lastly, my biggest gripe is the blue LEDs which can not be turned off. I have a Razer Nostromo and U2711 on my desk and the N66U's LEDs are far brighter! I came across a custom firmware which does turn them off but i'm nto sure which base firmware it's built on so didn't want to risk losing out on any fixes Asus may have done (they're been quite active with updates IMO -possibly good and bad, i guess).
    I had coverage "issues" (and stability ones too) with the VM SuperHub, so I had to choose between the older RT-56U router and a (more expensive) Cisco E4200. Unfortunately I believed all those stories about the '56U being a bit flaky and bought the E4200. It's an okay router, but for something from a company that makes only comms gear, it's amazing the lack of control - e.g. can't switch channels!

    The E4200 also has problems with USB HDD's - I put on a single port 1TB drive and ran into problems with connections suddenly dropping off. I also admit to being a little concerned about that reported heat level of the 66U - the 4200 does run quite cool.

    As to the bright lights issue, here's a tip - white foam-backed double-sided tape from Maplins. I had terrible problems with the SuperHub's lights being far too bright (as bright as a proper night light!) until I put a strip of this tape over them. You can still see the lights, but the tape diffuses them nicely - and if it's still too bright then a second strip of tape will take it down even further.

    Good review - if this Cisco continues to annoy me then I might consider the Asus as a replacement - although I'd really like to see an "improved" model with those USB3.0 ports and better cooling.

    That last picture, by the way, with the antennas extended and on the stand reminds me of a Transformer toy for some reason.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    I had coverage "issues" (and stability ones too) with the VM SuperHub, so I had to choose between the older RT-56U router and a (more expensive) Cisco E4200. Unfortunately I believed all those stories about the '56U being a bit flaky and bought the E4200. It's an okay router, but for something from a company that makes only comms gear, it's amazing the lack of control - e.g. can't switch channels!
    Originally i was looking at the 56U but then i thought the 66 must be better as it has it's antennae out! But seriously, for all my gripes i can't fault the actual performance of the thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    The E4200 also has problems with USB HDD's - I put on a single port 1TB drive and ran into problems with connections suddenly dropping off. I also admit to being a little concerned about that reported heat level of the 66U - the 4200 does run quite cool.
    Well i made the foolish mistake of copying some holiday photos onto the HDD i had plugged in to it for it only for it to drop out on me and not want to show up again for about a week. Safe to say the GF wasn't best pleased. The heat is definitely my biggest gripe/annoyance though, i just don't understand why it's so hot. I'm the only one in the house using the router at all and it's certainly warm even though it isn't obstructed in anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    As to the bright lights issue, here's a tip - white foam-backed double-sided tape from Maplins. I had terrible problems with the SuperHub's lights being far too bright (as bright as a proper night light!) until I put a strip of this tape over them. You can still see the lights, but the tape diffuses them nicely - and if it's still too bright then a second strip of tape will take it down even further.
    I just throw a sock on top of it!
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Quote Originally Posted by Terbinator View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    I had coverage "issues" (and stability ones too) with the VM SuperHub, so I had to choose between the older RT-56U router and a (more expensive) Cisco E4200. Unfortunately I believed all those stories about the '56U being a bit flaky and bought the E4200. It's an okay router, but for something from a company that makes only comms gear, it's amazing the lack of control - e.g. can't switch channels!
    Originally i was looking at the 56U but then i thought the 66 must be better as it has it's antennae out! But seriously, for all my gripes i can't fault the actual performance of the thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    The E4200 also has problems with USB HDD's - I put on a single port 1TB drive and ran into problems with connections suddenly dropping off. I also admit to being a little concerned about that reported heat level of the 66U - the 4200 does run quite cool.
    Well i made the foolish mistake of copying some holiday photos onto the HDD i had plugged in to it for it only for it to drop out on me and not want to show up again for about a week. Safe to say the GF wasn't best pleased. The heat is definitely my biggest gripe/annoyance though, i just don't understand why it's so hot. I'm the only one in the house using the router at all and it's certainly warm even though it isn't obstructed in anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    As to the bright lights issue, here's a tip - white foam-backed double-sided tape from Maplins. I had terrible problems with the SuperHub's lights being far too bright (as bright as a proper night light!) until I put a strip of this tape over them. You can still see the lights, but the tape diffuses them nicely - and if it's still too bright then a second strip of tape will take it down even further.
    I just throw a sock on top of it!
    I have the ADSL router version of this, N55 iirc. And ive got a bit of paper tapped onto it, spoils the look but also doesn't turn my bed room into some sort of light show.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    I`ve been looking at getting one of these to replace the Superhub.

    Does anyone have any experience of the wireless with big thick walls?

    The Superhub just about makes it to the back of the house which is a bit annoying as thats where the toilet is

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Quote Originally Posted by kopite View Post
    I`ve been looking at getting one of these to replace the Superhub.

    Does anyone have any experience of the wireless with big thick walls?

    The Superhub just about makes it to the back of the house which is a bit annoying as thats where the toilet is
    Seems you're in a very similar situation to me, in which case the N66U is miles better than the SHub.

    Our throne is in the opposite side of the house, downstairs in an outhouse sort of thing, relative to the router but i can still get 2/3 out of 4 bars on 5GHz with my S3 or full signal on 2.4GHz.

    We've also got a metal flu (not sure of the material) for our woodburner running through the centre of the build.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Quote Originally Posted by kopite View Post
    I`ve been looking at getting one of these to replace the Superhub. Does anyone have any experience of the wireless with big thick walls?
    Haven't good thick walls here (mid terrace - so it's normal brick/timber/plasterboard construction) but the StupidHub seems to be pretty widely thought of (check VM's own forums) as being a bit weedy - sort of a Pee Wee Herman of the wireless router world. Can't speak for the Asus either, even a pessimistic "finger in the air" estimate shows my Cisco to have at least 2x signal strength at distance.
    Heck, I got one of those Devolo PLE wireless routers (abou the size of a large power brick and plugs into the wall - giving three ethernet ports and 802.11n wireless) and even that outpaces the SH easily. I did a test a while ago with SH on the top floor, Devolo on the bottom floor - same distance from the back wall. Walked down the garden and at 5m my Asus Transformer claimed that the SH was at 1-2 bars, the Devolo at 4-5.
    Maybe it's just me, but I also didn't find the SH's had an awful lot in the way of configuration options - that said, that did get better with later firmware releases. In which case buying a separate router is probably justified for an "enthusiast" user - less so for the folks who just want an "install and forget" solution.
    Quote Originally Posted by kopite View Post
    The Superhub just about makes it to the back of the house which is a bit annoying as thats where the toilet is
    Too much information!
    Last edited by crossy; 10-12-2012 at 12:28 PM.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    seen a few video's about these - mostly positive feedback

    the included software looks very user friendly

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Hi, This router, when running "Merlin's" software, (from the smallnetbuilders site) is excellent. While near to the stock, it improves in numerous ways, including isolating the radios and allowing the LED's to be turned off.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Check out N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, much cheaper and has the same specs.

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    I've got the 56U and it's fantastic - performance is great, and the new V3 firmware is quite nice too - few more config options for the wireless have sorted out some long range comms issues
    I'd seriously consider the 66 as it would be nice to make sure the antennas are pointed in roughly the right direction - I wonder if they're compatible with any of the wall mounted paddle-type antennas?

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Am not sure if this is known alot but there is a custom firmware based on the offical Asus firmware from a guy call Merlin

    Homepage

    http://www.lostrealm.ca/tower/node/80

    Support forums at

    http://forums.smallnetbuilder.com/forumdisplay.php?f=42

    One of the things hes tweaked is the abillity to turn off the LEDS on the router - a lot of what this guy does ends up in the offical firmware.

    You can also turn off the 5ghz radio - thats both in the offical firmware and the custom one [his custom firmware now shows the temps for both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radios along with a lot of other useful information]

    Been happy since i got my RT-N66u; one of the best buys even if it was £120 - if it lasts 3-5 yrs like my last router then that to me is money well spent



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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Agree with Apex - Avoid the latest official 3.0.0.4.260 firmware as it has some issues with buggy wifi.

    i'm using the latest Merlin and it works a bloomin' treat. Merlin has introduced some excellent custom firmware options (better monitoring abilities and stability!) and for those of us that are true geeks even custom scripts etc.!

    even Asus are learning from him, and that's one thing I like about this router, Asus are open with the firmware and are taking onboard suggestions from pro's like Merlin.

    Wireless speeds are unbeatable from this router I believe at the moment, it even bests the AC-66U which costs a heck of allot more!

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    Re: Reviews - ASUS RT-N66U 'Dark Knight' router

    Yeah the wireless speed issue /buggyness is known about which is why merlin has put the older wireless driver into his firmware till such time that broadcom [this is not asus's fault] fix the faulty wireless driver.

    Personally this review is very light on details, if you are after a more indepth one i would look at the review on smallnetbuilder - but am gussing theres only so much you can write about a router when it's not your normal review fodder.



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