ASUS RT-N66U "Dark Knight" Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router Review


The last Dual-Band Gigabit router to come out of the ASUS machine made quite a splash last year thanks to its impressive 5GHz performance, attractive GUI, and comparatively fast USB read/write times. Possibly the biggest selling point was its advertised 300Mbps throughput. Now we have access to the RT-N66U Dark Knight, a N900 Dual-Band station with an advertised throughput of 450Mbps. While being capable of speeds far outside the realm of the average consumer's usage habits, this router has a host of other features and a striking chassis that make it a very attractive package for those who take their networking seriously. 



Incredible Performance with Incredible Control

The ASUS RT-N66U dual-band wireless-N900 gigabit router delivers incredible performance and coverage range. With new ASUSWRT UI, quickly setup your network, customize user access, and monitor signal strength. Following the award-winning RT-N56U, the RT-N66U increases Wi-Fi speed for both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz transmission by 50% up to 900Mbps that makes it ideal for bandwidth demanding tasks such as 3D HD video steaming, multiplayer gaming, USB hard drive file sharing, and USB connected printer sharing. Built-in Wi-Fi amplifiers make the RT-N66U the perfect wireless router for larger, multi-level homes and buildings with signal range that reaches virtually any area.

Whether you’re a tech-savvy enthusiast or a first-time user, the RT-N66U is exceptional easy to use with CD-free, Quick Installation Setup (QIS) that lets you plug-n-surf right out of the box and connect PCs, smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices quickly. Thanks to its refined interface tools, you get control like never before, letting you monitor signal strength, setup parental settings, and other useful functions in a robust yet intuitive way.

  • 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Concurrent Dual-Band Transmissions for Strong Signal Strength and Ultra-Fast Connection Rates up to 900Mbps
  • Gigabit Ethernet Ports for the Fastest, Most Reliable Internet Performance
  • Download Master for Wireless Data Storage and Access to Router-Connected USB Storage Devices
  • Expanded Wireless Coverage with Detachable High-Powered Antennas
  • File Sharing, Printer Sharing, and 3G Sharing via Two Multi-Functional Built-in USB Ports
  • ASUSWRT Dashboard UI for Easy Setup, Signal Monitoring, and Network Application Control





Designed for Class-Leading Speed and Range

Designed with the latest in networking technology, the RT-N66U delivers exceptionally fast wired and wireless connectivity. What’s more, it comes with a powerful detachable Wi-Fi antenna to further extend wireless range.


Dual-Band Connectivity for Lag-Free Entertainment

Delivering both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz concurrent bands up to 450Mbps and 450Mbps respectively, the RT-N66U has a total speed of up to 900Mbps connectivity to provide speed with stability. Perform basic internet tasks like Web browsing and file downloading under the 2.4 GHz band, while also simultaneously streaming 3D HD content and other demanding applications smoothly on the 5 GHz band.


Optimized and Reliable Wireless Coverage via Air Radar

ASUS Ai Radar intelligently strengthens connections to wireless devices. With high-powered amplification and beam package, it provides optimized signals in any direction with better coverage to improve data throughput.


3-Step Easy Setup Through Your PAD, Smartphone, or PC

With the RT-N66U, setup is simple. Simply power and connect the router and then open a browser on a Wi-Fi-enabled device like a laptop or tablet. You will be taken to a setup page with a prompt to enter the ID/password from your Internet provider and that’s it! Now setting up your network is easier than ever.


Get Online In 30 Seconds

Smart auto-detection design makes it possible for you to go from first plugging in the RT-N66U to setup completion in under 30 seconds! Compared to the lengthy installs and hassles of other routers, this development from ASUS offers a true wonder of ease of use, and puts the most extreme networking speeds within your reach quicker than ever before.


Powerful Functions, Easier Management

With the ASUSWRT Dashboard UI, setup, monitor, and control network applications all in one intuitive area. The whole new dashboard interface lets you manage all clients and settings on a single graphical interface and provides 1-click updates.


Optimize Your Network for You

Do you game a lot, or spend most of your time streaming videos? Whatever your planned use is, the RT-N66U has a Quality of Service (QoS) that lets you select how much bandwidth is prioritized for virtually any task. Plus, the traffic monitor allows you to check your Web usage in a clear and graphical interface.


Two Multi-Function Built-In USB Ports

Featuring connectivity to devices, FTPs, SAMBA, UPnP AV servers, and DLNA support, the RT-N66U makes sharing and networking easier with two built-in USB ports. Download HTTP, FTP, and P2P files to a router-connected USB storage device all day without the need of PC. Additionally, the twin USB ports allow network printer and file server connections, so you perform multiple tasks at once.


Download and Stream From Anywhere 

Download Master and DLNA server lets you download and play multimedia files stored on a router-attached USB storage device on DLNA-compatible devices such as PC, tablet, PS3, XBOX, and Internet TV. Download Master can also download files while a PC is turned off, and allows you to manage and monitor download status remotely.


Powerful Online Multitasking Up to 300,000 Data Sessions

Support for a massive data pipeline of up to 300,000 data sessions means the RT-N66U has around 20 times the networking capacity of other conventional routers for exceptionally smooth performance.


Separate and Secure Wi-Fi Network via Guest Network Access

The RT-N66U supports up to three wireless networks over the 2.4 GHz band and three over the 5 GHz band, so it can protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking and virus attacks. The parental control allows you to set up your kids' computer access times.


VPN Server Enabled

Easily set up a VPN server to surf the Web and access data—no matter where you are. Featuring MPPE encryption, your data transmission will be secure and confidential.

Flexible Installation With Versatile Design

Wall-mountable, the RT-N66U fits nearly any space in the home or office.



ASUS AiCloud is a smart and easy mobile application that brings your ASUS cloud experience to iOS and Android. Access, stream, sync, and share all your files on the go from both public and private cloud storage services.



Network Standard
IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IPv4, IPv6
Data Rate
802.11a : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps
802.11b : 1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps
802.11g : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54Mbps
802.11n : up to 450Mbps
Detachable antenna x 3
Operating Frequency
2.4G~2.4835GHz /5.1~5.8GHz
64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, WPS support
Firewall & Access Control
Firewall: SPI intrusion detection,DoS protection 
Access control: Parental control, Network service filter, URL filter, Port filter
UPnP, DLNA, DNS Proxy, DHCP, NTP Client, DDNS, Port Triger, Virtual Server, DMZ
VPN Support
IPSec Pass-Throuth
PPTP Pass-Through
L2TP Pass-Through
PPTP server
WAN Connection Type
Internet connection type : Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE(MPPE supported), PPTP, L2TP
Multicast Proxy support
Download Master
Media Server
Guest Network
Printer Server
File Server
Network Map
Traffic Monitor
4 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/Gigabits BaseT for LAN, 1 x RJ45 for 10/100/1000/Gigabits BaseT for WAN, Support Ethernet and 802.3 with max. bit rate 10/100/1000/Gigabits Mbps and auto cross-over function(MDI-X)
USB 2.0 x 2
WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Button
LED Indicator
LAN x 4
WAN x 1
AIR x 2
USB x 1
Power Supply
AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz)
DC Output : 19 V with max. 1.58 A current
207 x 148.8 x 35.5 mm (WxDxH)
450 grams
Package Content
RT-N66U wireless router
RJ-45 cable
Power adapter
Warranty card
Quick start guide

1. Actual data througput will vary from network conditions and environmental factors.All specifications are subject to change without notice.

2. Please check with your supplier for exact offers. Products may not be available in all markets.

3. PCB color and bundled software versions are subject to change without notice. 

4. Brand and product names mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies.  


*Specifications courtesy of ASUS.




The accessories that come with the RT-N66U are the standard manual, utility software, and an Ethernet cable.  The power adapter is actually rather pleasant-looking, however if it's used on a power strip it'll likely step on the slot next to it since it's relatively wide; something to keep in mind.


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The ASUS RT-N66U a.k.a. "Dark Knight" does away with our traditional view of wireless routers as finicky devices encased in cheap plastic shells. Close inspection reveals why this product holds a Red Dot Design Award for 2012. Subtle blue LED's, checkerboard motif, and a relatively slim wedge-shaped profile make the RT-N66U stand out in a sea of bleak black and blue boxes. Thanks to the attention ASUS paid to designing the shape of the RT-N66U's trio of dual-band adjustable antennas, they actually help boost the router's aesthetic appeal. Certain customers will be excited to know that these antennas are removable and upgradable. The router can rest flat, stand vertically with the included plastic bracket, or be mounted to the wall. This flexibility is great for enthusiasts who want to reap the full benefits of having both bands available inside of a large home or even a warehouse setting. Whatever you might lose in aesthetics by mounting some large and unwieldy high gain antennas can be made up for in great coverage.


Subtle vents can be found on either side of the router just underneath its glossy face. These vents conceal a large aluminum heat sink that gives the Dark Knight far better heat dissipation and noise characteristics than other high performance routers. It also adds to the weight of the device, adding to the premium hefty feel and reassuring ballast on a desktop. A considerable amount of additional venting is hidden on the underside. The back panel is host to the obligatory WAN port, power button, and reset button, as well as four LAN ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a WPS button. As it turns out, the WAN port can be configured via firmware to act as a fifth LAN port, should you want to repurpose the router as an access point to extend the range of your network; just another example of ASUS covering all their bases when it comes to keeping the end user in mind. 


ASUS claims that the RT-N66U can be setup in under 30 seconds thanks to an auto-detect feature. We were excited to put this claim to the test, as we are very familiar with how frustrating it can be to setup a router with a tedious activation process. Getting the Dark Knight to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal can be completed in just 3 steps.  After completing step one, which involves connecting power and signal cables to the router and a LAN cable to a computer, we open a browser which automatically brings up the router's web interface. This concludes step two. One must proceed through four panes before completing step three: the setup wizard.  All told, we managed to setup a secure network on the RT-N66U in a couple minutes (including thinking of SSID names and setting passkeys for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands).  This is by far the easiest, quickest, and most painless networking setup I've had the pleasure of using. It’s not often that you see the words quick, easy, painless, and pleasurable associated with anything networking related. There is indeed a first time for everything!


The best part is that it requires no additional software and transmits a setup SSID so you can set it up without relying on a wired connection - fantastic for the mobile revolution we're seeing.  This can be especially useful in office environments where the router may not necessarily be placed in a convenient location.  The automatic setup detection means that looking up the IP of the router and entering it into the browser is completely bypassed and even the setup CD is completely optional, which is another +1 for ultrabooks and tablets.


Our next line of business was to test the router's range and network file transfer performance. According to ASUS, the RT-N66U performs admirably when compared to its older relatives the RT-N53 and RT-N56U. The N66U adds 150Mbps and 90ft of range to the N56U, which is also a gigabit router and was highly-touted in the days since its launch. The addition of Multi-SSID, wall mounting, and IPv6 support gives the N66U added versatility as well. 


RT-N53 RT-N56U RT-N66U
Dual-Band Wireless N
2.4GHz/ 5GHz
2 x 2.4GHz/
5GHz Internal
2 x 2.4GHz/
5GHz Internal
1 x 5GHz internal
3 x 2.4GHz/
5GHz detachable
10/100 LAN
Gigabit Gigabit
USB 2.0 Ports
0 2 2
Max Data Range
300Mbps 300Mbps 450Mbps
Coverage Range (estimated)
300ft 360ft 450ft
Unique Features
CD-Free Installation
ASUSWRT (Graphical User Interface)
Air Radar
USB Print Sharing Support
Ai Disk
Key Features
URL Filter
Real-time Traffic Monitoring
DLNA Support
Parental Control



Wall Mount Support
IPv6 Support


*Specifications courtesy of ASUS.


For our attempt to verify the advertised 450ft coverage range, we placed the router in as far in the corner of our yard as we could (150ft) and we still showed a full signal.  A walk down the street with a multitude of walls and object in-between us and the RT-N66U put the rough range at about 350ft... remarkable.  You can cover some serious ground in an office, large public areas, or even large multi-floor houses.


We used the "Network" benchmark included in the Passmark Performance Test suite to test throughput between computers using several different adapters.  For wireless tests, we used a multitude of devices ranging from standard integrated laptop wireless G of a Dell XPS M1530, the ASUS N53 USB N300 adapter (2.4 and 5GHz), and ASUS' EA-N66 3-in-1 adapter (also 2.4/5 GHz-capable) and placed them in a number of rooms around our office to simulate a typical home or sprawled setup.  The router was placed on the top of a desk behind a monitor, and the test different locations are described below:

Location 1:  6 feet away (typical 2nd workstation location)

Location 2:  20 feet away, same room (large room/living room or office situation)

Location 3:  20 feet away, 1 wall and 1 half-wall separation (next room performance or cross-office performance)

Location 4:  40 feet away, 2 external insulated walls (through-floor or multi-unit usage)




Gigabit and 10/100 wired performance is fantastic. TCP/UDP transfers were  only ~5 Mbps below their theoretical maximum throughput for 10/100 ethernet connections with TCP transfers at 94.1 and UDP transfers at 93.4 Mb/s.  Gigabit connections showed a remarkably-solid 940 Mbps throughput for TCP transfers and a lower but still respectable 650 Mbps for UDP transfers.  The RT-N66U's performance also does not see very much performance degradation for the distances and obstructions given.  The trends are remarkably flat, and UDP transfers are nearly 350Mb/s with the EA-N66 N900 connected via ethernet to a Gigabit-equipped computer, which is phenomenal.  These go to show why the RT-N66U is great for large homes, home offices, or even medium-sized office buildings.  Great range, and great signal stability go a long way to making the RT-N66U an end-all for large environments, even for the power users out there.


For our attempt to verify the advertised 450ft coverage range, we placed the router in as far in the corner of our yard as we could (150ft) and we still showed a full signal.  A walk down the street with a multitude of walls and object in-between us and the RT-N66U put the rough range at about 350ft - remarkable.  You can cover some serious ground in an office, large public areas, or even large multi-floor houses.  Even large houses should be blanketed heavily by the RT-N66U without a very noticeable performance degradation. 





Serious gaming on wireless is a holy grail for many, especially LAN-goers and planners, and the 5GHz connection is a big step in that direction.  Latency can make-or-break a battle in fast-paced FPS' and RTS', so we wanted to see how our pings compared to wired performance.  Connection to a Speed Test server in Seattle, only 30 miles away from our office, the wired connection gave a 4ms ping, and was consistent through 5 tests.  At locations 1-3, the wireless 5 GHz ping was an incredible 5ms and only dropped to 7ms at Location 4 with both an N300 and N450 connection.  I've gamed wirelessly on the RT-N66U for a couple months now and have no real complaints, and the fact that it has often slipped my mind that I'm gaming wirelessly is a testament to its capability to deliver lag-free and low-latency gaming.  The 2.4GHz lead to a less-impressive 12ms ping at all locations, still doable but you'll stand a better chance of noticing the difference between wired and wireless. 



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The RT-N66U comes with some added functionality compared to other routers that add value to its already impressive performance. These include the AiCloud, Media Server, Download Master, QoS, VPN Server, Network Map, and Traffic Monitor utilities, which are accessed via the ASUSWRT Dashboard. The dashboard features the same eye-pleasing UI that ASUS puts into their overclocking utilities, with many shades of grey and blue making up the color palette. A large sidebar makes it very easy to find the settings that you are looking for, and statistics like web traffic data are presented in good detail. This makes the interface appealing to both novice and veteran networkers. I will readily admit that I belong to the former camp, so the ASUSWRT Dashboard is a welcome sight when all I want to do is setup a network printer without hassle and get back to work. 


The added features also follow the same trend we've found through a couple months of usage of the RT-N66U, which is that using them is easy, easy, easy.  The dashboard also allows you to prioritize connections with QoS (quality of service) for gaming optimization.  VPN servers, network mapping, traffic monitoring, and the addition of several guest SSIDs and varying keys make for robust, flexible, and yet dead simple operation.  All of the advanced operations that admins or networking gurus would want access to are there, and if it's not quite what you're looking for, ASUS uses open-source DD-WRT firmware so you can find a solution that works for you, with Tomatoe being a popular one.





These are two pretty awesome features, but we'll start with AiDisk, as it's the most straight forward.  Turning AiDisk on allows you to discover USB devices over the network.  I have several drives that I've mapped, so they readily show up in my computer as a drive.  This is super handy and invaluable for anyone managing a single file store with multiple computers.  It's great to save straight to the USB disk over the network on a test machine, and removes alot of the tedium of sharing between computers.  It's also a great way to share data if you don't necessarily want to share you computer.  It's fantastic for collaboration and/or as a data repository, and that's been fantastic for me personally, and small to medium businesses could probably use this to its full potential.   An iTunes server can be setup to offer you another way to quickly and easily access your media, which can be especially tough to do with iTunes.  The Network printer server also works in a similar way, and is great if you don't have a Wi-Fi or ethernet-enabled printer.  We also saw very good transfer performance, with large file transfers from the USB network disk averaging around 10 MB/s, and has been more than enough to seamlessly stream video and music directly from the device from my phone and other computers.  The fact that you can basically setup a NAS as a default feature is simply awesome, no matter how you slice it.  The logical complaint here is that the USB ports aren't USB 3.0, but I'm sure we'll be seeing that soon.  The USB transfer performance still rocks compared to many routers out there.


ASUS' brand-new AiCloud also is super handy and easy to use, bringing cloud storage and connectivity to your mobile devices integrated into your router which allows remote control of your computers from your phone or tablet, a feature we've also seen and thouroughly enjoyed on ASUS' latest motherboards.  In some ways it's similar to AiDisk, but its functionality is far more vast.  Using a computer or the ASUS AiCloud application downloaded from iTunes or Google Play for your respective mobile device, you can access any device on your network remotely.  Using the AiCloud login service with your own (free) custom domain, for instance, "" will bring you to your AiCloud login.  From there you can access the devices you have setup for AiCloud access, and can stream directly from them, download, edit files directly, and it all runs on your device as though the files are on your own computer. 


Of course, streaming videos can be limited by either the host or your internet connections.  This becomes a great way to store files you'd like to access remotely, and you could even use it to play media while on-the-go, say on a capacity-limited device like a phone or tablet.  If you have media attached to the RT-N66U via USB, you've basically got your own personal cloud at your fingertips.  ASUS also offers web storage as another option.  At work and forgot to bring your presentation files from your workstation?  Normally this would require a trip home, which may not even be feasible, but if you've got AiCloud setup and Wake On LAN enabled for your workstation, you can even wake your computer up to retrieve your files.  Pretty awesome to say the least.


AiCloud's application is smooth, refined, and works very well.  It's really in Beta form at the moment, so the couple force closes are excusable, but for the most part the interface is intuitive and looks great.  It works fast, and I was streaming media directly from computers and USB devices literally in minutes.


What these two services do it to roll the idea of a "connected home" into one sleek and simple package.  Anyone can setup streaming and file sharing with this without any previous experience.  It's the easiest implementation I've found, and it's truly fantastic, and really changes how you use and interact with all of your data.  No DLNA streamers coupled with this and that and hunting IP addresses and forwarding ports like you have to with many solutions.  With this, you can get networked printing, networked storage, streaming, personal cloud, and awesome transfer speeds and performance all in one.  It's one of those things that makes you feel like you're life is truly more convenient, and becomes a staple of how you interact with your technology.


Ontop of the idea of the "connected home," it also goes to making a "connected life."  The busy individual, say with an ultrabook or even a tablet, who doesn't have a lot of storage space to spare, but has videos, music, media, large file stores, you name it, can have access wherever they find an internet connection.  Additionally, the Android application as well as the web interface has a number of options to share quickly and easily share files and folders, similar to how you would with a Dropbox account.


Final Thoughts

ASUS has pushed to make their RT-N66U remarkable by making it look remarkable, and operate in a way that is impressively-unremarkable by being super easy to setup and use.  In the past few months of usage, we've never had to power cycle.  Not once, and if that isn't worth a big something to you in a router, I don't know what is.  Additionally, the setup only takes a few minutes and can be accomplished wirelessly and requires no CDs or IP lookups.  The UI is simple and unintimidating and WPS connections for companion WPS-enabled devices is a lovely departure from the typical connection process.  Simply click the WPS button on the router and the device on the other end and let them figure out how to connect.


Performance was great, and even in my house we weren't able to challenge the Dark Knight too hard, and even through two external walls we saw little attenuation with both 2.4 and 5GHz connections, and the connection was very stable.  We saw throughput of up to 35 Mbps with a standard integrated wireless G adapter at 2.4 GHz which is enough to max out most home internet connections and handle HD streaming.  Gaming on the 5GHz connection was pleasantly uneventful both using a PC to play Battlefield 3 in the same room and a variety of shooters and other online games on a PS3 in the next room.  Pings were only 1ms lower than wired in most locations in my home and with several months of wireless gaming under my belt, I didn't even notice, which is the true testament of its viability, although I'm not hardcore enough to complain about the 1-2ms I'm losing.  Even USB transfer performance rang in at a solid 10 MB/s.




The other features add lots of value to the package, with super easy network-attached storage (NAS) setup to easily share and stream data throughout a home or office.  Networked printing is also super easy, and the AiCloud rounds out ASUS' push for a connected home made possible by one device, the RT-N66U.  Every device quickly and easily can communicate with each other, share storage, connect to the cloud, stream data, and your computers can even be remotely-controlled by your phone or tablet to wake it from sleep if you want to be able to access files and folders located on it.  The possibilities are nearly-endless, and it doesn't require special knowhow or rigging to make it all work.  It's hard to sound overly-fond of a router, but the Dark Knight is refreshingly easy to use and maintain, and that's enough to make it an exciting acquisition for your home or business network.  The ability to access data from anywhere is huge, and the ease of being able to stream data throughout a house is something that is hard to live without once you know what you're missing out on.


So the RT-N66U has features that anyone would love and is all easy enough for anyone to use, but the price will unequivocally not be for everyone at around $160.  It's a stretch, but if you're making a push for a fully-connected and integrated home, it could likely end up costing much more by stringing together multiple devices to complete the same end goal, and the setup and user experience will most certainly not be as good.  Also, the fact that it's as low-maintenance as we've found, has huge appeal for heavy home users and small businesses/offices. The small business appeal is also huge because it doesn't require any technical knowledge to use and setup, so small businesses that don't have an IT guy on staff won't feel left in the dark.  We wouldn’t necessarily advocate purchasing the RT-N66U to cover a small, single-story apartment however, as tighter spaces would be better served by the more affordable RT-N56U and RT-N53. For most, ASUS' Dark Knight must be looked at as an investment, comparing the needs they have for integrated printing, cloud storage, central storage, and low-maintenance networking against the long-term cost of going through several $30-50 that require frequent power cycles and an unfriendly UI.  With budgets being tight, the RT-N66U will probably be simply out of reach for many, but for those demanding dual-band reliability and expansive coverage, it's likely a purchase they won’t regret, or be able to live without.  Stated simply, there's a reason why the RT-N66U was one of the most-anticipated routers ever, and why it's brought up whenever a discussion springs up about the best router money can buy.


The Good

  • Form and function in a sleek package
  • Super quick and easy setup
  • Excellent featureset
  • Clean/inviting and easy to use GUI
  • Integrated printing/storage/cloud
  • Great network performance (speed/range)
  • Fast USB speeds

The Bad

  • Price.  $160 is alot to spend on a device that "works" for ~$30, although we think we could make a good case that it's well worth it for anyone with a medium-sized home or larger.
  • USB ports aren't USB 3.0

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