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Fastest WiFi router? ASUS ASUS RT-AC66U

Last response: in Wireless Networking
December 3, 2012 8:18:14 PM

CNET recently ranked the new Asus RT-AC66U the best router of 2012 =>

I bought a "Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router - Premium Edition (WNDR3800)" about a year ago and inside my condo we get about 2MB/s over the wifi... which sucks!

Should I switch to one of these new AC routers? What do you think of the ASUS one versus the brand new WD one? =>

I definitely respect the advice of Tom's Hardware community members more than a cnet review.

- Falieson
December 3, 2012 9:04:38 PM

Your router is only half the equation. You must look at all your wireless cards also.

It could very well be it is one or more of your PC devices causing the problem. If you even have a single G device the router will run in mixed mode and pretty much limit you to about 54m and that is maximum it is reduced by distance and interference.

To even think about going to any AC based router is crazy. First it is not standard for another year and there are still tiny differences between the vendors. So to actually use the Asus AC router you would have replace every single nic you have with a Asus AC brand. And you can just turn off things like ipad and xbox that you cannot replace the nics. If everything does not run AC you are right back to where you are with your N router. If you have a G based device it will pretty much turn you sporty new AC router into a old G device.

The current router you have should be able to perform much better it is not the router I suspect that is causing the problem. First replace all the nic with N cards rated to at least 150m This will give you wide channels. If you can find them with 2 antenna mimo you can get 300m. This is the maximum your router can run. Now if you want the magic 600m which is a lie. You would need dual band cards that could do mimo on both 2.4 and 5. But unlike the router a PC nic card cannot run both 2.4 and 5 at the same time. The router sorta can't either but they try to claim 300+300.

If you want a asus router the N66U is pretty much the same router as the AC but it has 2 N radios in it. It claims to be 900m. But it is just 3x3 mimo on 2.4 and 5

A second thought on are you measuring the speed. You must measure from a wireless PC to a wired PC not to the internet or from wireless to wireless. The speed to the internet means very little it could be the internet.

December 3, 2012 10:04:48 PM

After so many years of owning routers I didn't know that about the 'mixed' signal property that it automatically limited your transfer to the signal type of the oldest NIC. One of the housemates has an early gen macbook... I'm sure its a/b which would explain our shitty speeds.

After work I'll turn off mixed on my router and set up a second router to handle the A/B/G connections... if that fixes it then you just saved me $200. If it doesn't - I'll report in.

(I've tested our internet connection and we're getting within 10% of the 50Mbps line we pay for... our wifi rarely gets over 6Mb/s - its been really frustrating)
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March 22, 2013 10:44:11 PM

with my search, compare to other wireless router, the ASUS RT-AC66U has the best specs, you can see this article:

I think if you have enough money, you can upgrade to the ASUS AC66U, I’ve had the ASUS AC66U router running on my home network for about 2 weeks now, with the device running 24/7 for the last 7 days (last FW update). Apart from the specific issues and limitations noted earlier, the device has run well for me, providing what I need from a router. Wired performance is great, and I have sufficient admin monitoring and control over network clients. Added features such as parental control, guest access and traffic monitoring & management are all excellent features, and part of the reason that I bought the N66 before getting the AC66.

Wireless performance is also good, and provides better coverage when compared to my Apple Airport Extreme (dual band model). The AC66 manages to reach 90% of my home, whereas the Apple device manages about 50% reliably. Wireless throughput is also particularly good, even in my ‘non-ac’ system.

The additional functions provided by the USB applications are good (although I found some to be unreliable), however these are not things that I will tend to use much. That said, if the iTunes server was upgraded to handle video and serve files from another LAN location, then that would be something I’d use – much better than having to leave a Mac Mini running 24/7 on my LAN.

Firmware maturity is something that the AC66 does not have – a fact that’s borne out by some of my problems, as well as the queries currently on the Asus forums. What I would say though is that Asus are good at listening to feedback and are always improving the FW. This is a brand new device, so I think it’s inevitable there will be teething problems.

I recommend the AC over the N, simply because the AC does everything the N does, but has the newer AC standard built in, faster wireless capability and will have AiCloud when it launches (not sure if the N will get this via a FW update). The FW may be getting updated regularly at present, but as I hope my review shows, the router performs well on a home network for everyday use.
April 24, 2013 10:46:26 PM

Lets not forget that a wireless AP or router is NOT a layer 2 switch. It does not create individual collision domains. It is in essence a hub. The available bandwidth is shared between devices. While most of what ufo889 said is accurate, you mentioned you had other devices. How many? And what are they doing? Gaming or streaming? Plus don't forget that the TCP/IP stack has overhead.

However the whole idea of a dual band router means that it is possible to have some clients on A and others on G.

Also environmental factors come into play such as microwaves, metal file cabinets and wireless phones. ( not cell phones mind you )