Asus RT-N56U £90http://uk.asus.comFEATURES ★★★★ PERFORMANCE ★★★★★ EASE OF USE ★★★★★ VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★ Routers aren’t norm
FEATURES ★★★★ PERFORMANCE ★★★★★ EASE OF USE ★★★★★ VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★
Routers aren’t normally known for their good looks, but the Asus RT-N56U is a beautifully designed device. It has a stylish angled fascia dotted with subtle blue lights that indicate what’s going on. It doesn’t have an ADSL modem built in, but that's about the only negative thing we can say about it. If your internet connection arrives by cable, this isn’t going to be an issue, but those with ADSL should factor in the price of an ADSL modem with an Ethernet connection, available from around £20.
The Asus router has an excellent range of features, from Gigabit Ethernet ports to two USB sockets (for hosting storage or a printer). One of its best features is the web-based configuration interface, which ranks among the most well-designed and easiest to use that we’ve seen.
The router performed excellently in our speed tests and can run both 2.4 and 5GHz networks simultaneously. At close range, it was the fastest router in our 5GHz test, clocking an average speed of 190.4Mbps. On the 2.4GHz band, it averaged a speed of 115.2Mbps at close range, which put it in the top four. At longer range, it managed an average of 36.8Mbps on 2.4GHz, which was joint second with the Netgear N600, our Silver Award winner. On 5GHz, it managed fourth again, with a speed of just 11.2Mbps. This was a bit disappointing, but we don’t expect 5GHz signals to have the same reach as 2.4GHz networks. It’s also worth pointing out that one router couldn’t even manage this distance, so to get a decent connection that lets you transfer data at all is an achievement in itself.
From the way it looks to the easy-to-use configuration interface, this router has loads going for it. It’s also a superb performer, proving fast on the standard 2.4GHz network and impressive on the 5GHz network too, though this dropped off at longer range.
The main downside is that it doesn’t come with a built-in ADSL modem, so while this is an outright Gold Award winner for cable customers, ADSL users need to factor in the cost of a modem.