ASUS USB-AC56 Wireless Adapter Review

As part of #BoostMyNetwork campaign , I was given an ASUS router , which you can read the review about it by clicking it here , ASUS PCI-E Wireless card and finally a USB Dongle. This time around , I’ll be reviewing ASUS USB-AC56 Wireless Adapter which is a 802.11ac Wireless USB Adapter by ASUS  (more after the jump)

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Overview & What’s Inside the Box

The ASUS AC-56 is a pretty Wireless Adapter as it retains the diamond-patterned décor from ASUS routers. It sort of gives you the feel of having something pricey and awesome. Best of all it is USB-3 enabled which means that you can enjoy faster speeds

Basically inside the box you get the Wireless Adapter , a USB extension cord something like ASUS PCE-AC68 that allows you to place the antenna out and anywhere , which is ideal for desktop computers and an external antenna. That’s right you can plug in an external antenna to get the extra coverage !

The ASUS USB-AC56 with the extra antenna
The ASUS USB-AC56 with the extra antenna
The ASUS USB-AC56 which extension cord and extra antenna
The ASUS USB-AC56 which extension cord and extra antenna

Installation

Installation was simple , all you need is a USB3.0 port (don’t worry it’s backwards compatible with USB 2.0 as well). You would have to install ASUS Driver and Utility which comes together with the CD they have provided. Surprisingly , there is driver for MacOS X 10.6 and above as well . However it is not AirPort compatible which means that the MacOS X will not see it as an AirPort card !

Macintosh/Apple/Hackintosh Compatibility

Yes , you can use this card with OSX . There is a supplied driver. It would not make it into an AirPort-enabled card , but it would give you Wireless. You would have to use ASUS’ own tools to connect to WiFi network and not the one provided by Apple

Windows compatibility

It just works. No fuzz , TurboQAM appears to be working for Windows as I was getting around ~800Mbps which is almost the same as what I was getting for PCE-AC68 !

Performance

The performance varies actually. I am not sure is it because of my USB 3 port that was giving issue. I was getting very poor performance on 2.4Ghz – I was merely getting 50Mbps (despite it being showed that it is connected to 300Mbps)  however on 5Ghz (aka on 802.11ac) , I was getting around 100-105Mbps for Uplink and 130Mbps for Downlink. I believe that I should be getting more , but I think it maybe due to USB3 drivers. Since I do not have any other PCs which are USB3 , I cannot narrow it down was it due to the USB3 port issue or the card itself is not powerful

snipping

The card works great with USB2.0 port , I was getting around the same speed that I was getting in USB3.0 . So if you do not have USB3.0 port , do not worry , you should be getting decent speeds on Wireless (that is 100Mbps) which I think is great.

One thing to note is that the dongle gets pretty warm after normal usages (this includes surfing YouTube, playing some video games , downloading few files) It is alright if you have it docked. It is only a concern for laptop users who have it connected directly 🙂

Final Thoughts

The Asus USB AC-56 costs around RM 319 (SRP). However , the bigger brother PCE-AC68 costs an additional 10 ringgit more . If you are looking for a good desktop Wireless Adapter , I would say to purchase the ASUS PCE-AC68. Also this card does not support Wireless Wake-on-Lan as well which kind of defeats the purpose if you are building a HTPC and want it to wake automatically via wireless and suc.

However if you plan to have something which is easy to carry and plan to use it in your laptop and you want to switch it between computers , I would say go for it. It offers decent performance. I also think the price is not justified at all , it could have been priced slightly lower say around RM 250 instead , but since 802.11ac is the new thing probably that is why it is expensive

Pros :-

  • Works with Windows/Macintosh
  • Super cool design & USB3 capable adapter
  • Ability to connect external antenna

Cons :-

  • Pricey for a USB Wireless Adapter
  • “So-So” Performance on 2.4Ghz
  • Gets Warm After A While On Normal Usage

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

One thought on “ASUS USB-AC56 Wireless Adapter Review”

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