The Asus RT-AC66U is something of a beast and will do pretty much everything you might possibly want from a router. It supports the new (faster) 802.11ac wireless standard and can broadcast simultaneously on both the standard 2.4GHz frequency and on the less busy (and therefore subject to less interference) 5 GHz one, with wireless transfer speeds reaching up to an impressive 1.75Gbs.
New smartphones and tablets usually support both 802.11ac and 5GHz, while computers can be easily upgraded with a USB dongle.
How to Setup an Asus RT-AC66U Router
Setup is ridiculously easy - basically just plug the router into your broadband modem, turn it and on, and you are good to go. The first thing you should do once you have connected a computer is head to the router configuration page (type 192.168.1.1 into your internet browser) and change the network names and passwords.
Note that because this is dual-and router you can effectively run to two separate networks out of the same router. This means that you will, of course, have to set up names and passwords for both networks.
FlashRouter’s supplied configuration guide is text-only, but gently holds your hand through the process.
Is the Asus RT-AC66U reliable?
To get a basic idea of what the RT-AC66U can do, we tested it before configuring VPN.
We have a 20MB/s UK broadband connection, and our PC is only capable of picking up a 2.4GHz. 802.11n signal. The router was connected to a Netgear VMDG280 Wireless N modem/router supplied by our ISP, Virgin Media.
Connected directly to our home modem/router (i.e. not connected to the RT-ACU66U)
Connected to the RT-ACU66U
802.11ac/ 5GHz performance
As far as range goes we wandered around our building, phone in hand, and noted what reception was like at different ranges/positions in the building. Not very scientific, but it’s the best we can do, and to honest, we were a little disappointed with the results.
The RT-ACU66U is a fantastic router, and one of the very best available on the market. It has to be said that ‘off-the-shelf’, it comes with some very good software (including a VPN client, albeit one that is PPTP and L2TP only), but by going down the DD-WRT route you gain access to the full range of the hardware’s capabilities.
We were a little surprised and disappointed with a lack of marked improvement in range when using the RT-ACU66U, although given that many have praised the router on this front it may just be our building to blame. In all other respects though, it is an amazing bit of kit - broadcasting two separate networks for high-speed file transfers among as many users as you can throw at it, allowing hard drive storage and printer resources to be wirelessly shared, and providing excellent OpenVPN performance. As far as we know, there is no better router out there.