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ASUS RT-AC66U Review Part 3 : Performance & Conclusion

In this section , I’ll be taking a look at the performance of ASUS RT-AC66U and also my conclusion on the router. Do read part 1 and part 2 as well if yo want to know more about the functions of the router and the interface of the router – otherwise continue on reading on how the router compares and if it is worth your RM 719 (yep – thats the suggested retail price of the router)

Conducting The Performance Test

To conduct a performance test , what I did was to install a software called LAN Speed Test , which you can get it from here . What it does is that it measure the time taken to upload and download file to a specific location in your local area network

For this test , what I did was to create a 1.5GB file and upload and download to my server over Wireless and Wired to measure the performance. My server is running on GigE (1000 Mbps) connection.

I have conducted the test to measure the performance on the following devices :-

  • My Desktop PC which is located 10 feet away from the router (running Windows 8 using ASUS PCE-AC68 aka Broadcom 802.11ac Adapter)
  • My MacBook Pro which is located like 2 feet away from the router (running Windows 7 using Apple AirPort aka Broadcom 802.11n Adapter)
  • My HP TC4400 which is located like 2 feet away from the router (running Windows 7 using Wired Connection and Atheros 802.11abg Adapter)

I have performance the test where applicable on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz as well

Results

Here are the results.

Throughput
Throughput for Download/Upload
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Time Taken to Download/Upload

Well as you can clearly see that I am getting around 155Mbps for upload and around 261Mbps for download with 802.11ac. It is not somewhat I expected , I did expect to get slightly more. Windows was showing that I was connected at 866.5Mbps as you can see from the screenshot below – but as we all know that it does not factor into real-world physics. Noises , Distance , Encryption would have probably reduced the speed.

Having said that , it’s clearly amazing that I could about 200Mbps ‘over the air’ which is great to stream HD content wirelessly to your HTPC or your Smart TV (if it has a 802.11ac adapter)

Windows 8 is showing that I am connected at 855Mbps
Windows 8 is showing that I am connected at 855Mbps

It is also nowhere near Gigabit Ethernet connection. Yes , it does beat regular 100Mbps (Fast) Ethernet connection and it is twice as fast. Also if you have noticed 802.11n is pretty close to regular 100Mbps Ethernet connection as well.

I have also noticed improvement on my 802.11n devices , the signal that I’m getting are much more stronger as opposed to my ASUS RT-N56U router. I am guessing this is because of the 3 dedicated antenna that ASUS AC-66U has.

Is 802.11ac Worth It ?

Well it depends actually. If you want to stream wireless HD content and other stuff twice the speed of Fast Ethernet but without wireless , which is great for your HTPC to stream content from your NAS.

However having said that , it is not worth it to invest on 802.11ac if you are hoping to get Faster Internet speeds. If you are using 5Mbps UniFi for instance , changing to 802.11ac would not benefit your Internet connection , however it would benefit your overall local network provided that if you have 802.11ac devices. If you have mostly 802.11n/g devices , then I would say that 802.11ac is not for you – but if you wish to make your home 802.11ac ready – by all means grab this router as it is more than capable of being your trusty router.

Power Consumption 

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ASUS RT-AC66U draws about 10.4W on normal usage. It would be certainly higher when you plug in USB Hard Disk or Printer which I did not in this case. I do expect it to up to 15-16W. However keep in mind that the power consumption of this router is way lower compared to your PC which consumes around ~80W when downloading. The savings is there !

Price/Performance Ratio 

This router costs RM 719 (SRP). Yes,  I know it’s expensive for a router , but then if you come and think about it doubles as a NAS (Network Area Storage) – allows you to run your own file server. Plus you could turn it into a Print Server , combine it together with DLNA Support (that allows you to stream content to your TV wirelessly) , ability to run an iTunes server (that allows a centralised music server , download server and all. Basically , you are not buying a regular router but instead you are buying like a mini computer that allows you.

Of course there are other brands out there in the market that does it cheaper as well , but ASUS has packaged in a nice way for people who are less tech-savvy to use the device. However if you have an existing NAS device , then it is not worth to get this router

Final Thoughts

ASUS RT-AC66U is a router aimed for the power users – and for those who are looking to build a smart home whereby to have everything centralized. The price is very steep compared to other routers in the market. I am guessing this is due to the 802.11ac technology. If you are planning to make your network 802.11ac ready , then I would suggest you by getting RT-AC66U first as your first step in making a ‘Tomorrow Network’

Pros :-

  • Packed with Features & Low Power Consumption – Torrent Server , File Server , Print Server all in tiny box
  • Ability to install third party firmware such as OpenWRT/DD-WRT
  • DUAL WAN capable (which means you could have 2 Internet connection and acts as a load balance)
  • Easy to use QoS Out Of The Box

Cons :-

  • Lousy WebUI (for instance – unable to load two instances of the Web Interface in two different PC. Configuration are hidden within the Web UI)
  • Limited Configuration for Power Users (no SSH out of the box , no OpenVPN)
  • Inability to turn off the LED lights at night (It’s bright in a dark room)

The drawbacks of RT-AC66U can be easily overcome by flashing to OpenWRT/DD-WRT which unlocks a lot of things that the router is capable of doing.

The Journey

Part 1

Part 2

Disclaimer

The router is a review unit given as a loan by ASUS Malaysia Sdn Bhd for reviewing purposes. This is not a sponsored post. The review can be negative or positive and like many other things I’ve reviewed in my blog

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