ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Router Review


Final Thoughts

I can boil all this jibber-jabber I've been typing away at pretty simply; the RT-N66U was one of the best consumer / SOHO routers money could buy last year, and I'm pretty confident from the response from the community and our own testing that the RT-AC66U is probably the best AC-ready router you can get today.  802.11ac specification is set to be ready by the end of 2013, in which time we'll probably see a slew of cheaper AC-ready routers with fewer antennas and lower prices for the masses, but even then the RT-AC66U should be praised for its value.  How can a router cost $200 and still be considered to have high value?  Simple.  It has the best performance, sleek, plentiful, and functional features that other routers just don't touch.


I was once in a camp that would look at $1-200 and wonder how it could possibly be worth it.  It's one of those things that once you experience it, you can't undo what you now know you're missing.  AICloud presents a suite of awesome features that really work and are really usable.  For those who love the idea of a connected home but don't want to run ethernet all over the place and invest in devices and services to bring cloud to your entire home, the RT-AC66U (or the RT-N66U if you don't care for AC and want to save a few bucks) are you one-stop shop. 


The RT-AC66U delivers speeds good enough that you can also have a simple NAS with a spare external hard drive and stream your media straight to your phone, laptop, or other devices.  AICloud and AIDisk allow you to create a "personal cloud" and a "cloud cloud," and when used together enable a hybrid cloud that distributes your media or data all over your home for consumption, or anywhere you can find an internet connection.  Setup your computer to Wake On LAN and fire up your computer from work to grab that file you forgot to put on your flash drive.  With VPN, your own ASUS-provided cloud, iTunes Media Server, QoS, and much, much more, you've got it all in one place.  The best part of all this?  It's EASY.




Many times it's the semi-intangibles that can make or break a product, especially one that is supposed to be a flagship.  Ease-of-use, responsiveness, how polished the sofware is, even the unboxing experience all come together to make a product what it is.  ASUS has, historically, been fantastic at making sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed and that they've tied up any obvious loose ends.  And if they miss something?  They are some of the companies who put the most time into fine-tuning their firmware and making timely and consistend firmware updates.  AICloud is awesome.  And soon it will be even better, as ASUS will add auto-syncing features.  This is typical of what we've seen from ASUS, continuing to try to bring value to the end-user, even though they don't need to.


ASUS has pushed to make their RT-AC66U 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.


Lastly, but farthest from the least, performance was stellar all-around.  We saw the RT-AC66U delivering the maximum performance we could expect from Wireless N and also maxing out our Realtek Gigabit NIC in same room tests.  It managed to get into the dark nooks and crannies that are rarely graced by Wi-Fi connectivity, and pushed over 100 Mbps using 802.11ac.  For your money today, you can't do appreciably better than the RT-AC66U has managed to do.


The RT-AC66U has mass appeal, but it does come at a cost of around $200, which is alot.  For those who really push their hardware or are looking into investing in other connected home approaches, the RT-AC66U is a great value.  Don't care much for the AC functionality?  Let me kindly point you to the (now lower in price) RT-N66U, which will deliver the same great features and Wireless N performance but at a slightly lower price tag.  Whether you're looking for a SOHO solution, a connected home with simple NAS and hybrid cloud setup, or are just a gamer looking to cut some cords, the RT-AC66U will give almost every scrap you hope to take from it.


The Kings' Ruling:

Great features, great wireless speeds, and ease-of-use makes this one of the go-to high end routers.  You really can't go wrong if you're looking for a router in the $150-200 range, and we really believe it doesn't get much better than the RT-AC66U.  Don't have any 802.11ac devices but plan to?  Well, what better way to get ready for the not-so-distant future?  For something we use so greedily now-a-days, we've found that a high-quality router can be worth every last penny, and in this case, worth more pennies than those you'll pay.


The Good



The Bad

  • 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)
  • AC-speeds really do max out Gigabit ethernet capability
  • Fast USB speeds
  • USB ports aren't USB 3.0
  • Price.  While a great value, it will simply be out of reach for many


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