ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac Wi-Fi Router Review
By Bruce Normann
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASUSTeK.
The ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac wireless router builds on the success of the RT-N66U model that Benchmark Reviews also tested recently. ASUS has been busy looking to the future, and the new IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. While it’s not officially approved, it does appear to be stable, and there are products on the market already from all the serious players in wireless networking. While 802.11n was a step forward, and many of us have been appreciative of the additional legroom that the 5GHz band allows, there is still plenty of room for improvement in Wi-Fi performance. The ASUS RT-AC66U looks great sitting on the shelf, better than the majority of routers on offer today, but it’s the higher throughput and expanded signal coverage that’s going to win over most consumers.
The RT-AC66U wireless router has three high gain external antennas, and each of them can transmit simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals. With three data streams running concurrently on each band, you have simultaneous access to 450Mb/s on the 2.4GHz 802.11n channel and 1300Mb/s on the 5GHz 802.11ac channel. A word of caution; those throughput numbers represent the raw data rate that the wireless signal can support. They do not take into account the communications overhead associated with typical data streams such as TCP/IP or UDP. So don’t be disappointed with the test results you see in this article or elsewhere; real world throughput is much lower, even for loosely structured protocols like UDP.
Before we get to the testing stage, let’s have a thorough look at the RT-AC66U hardware and some of its features.