Product snapshot: ASUS RT-N66U ‘Dark Knight’ router

It’s the coolest networking device we’ve ever laid eyes on

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Modems and routers and network cards aren’t usually the sexiest and most exciting of devices to pass through the PC World test centre. They’re generally going to be hidden under a desk or in a cupboard, so we don’t pay much attention to how they look.

The ASUS RT-N66U changes all of that. It is, as wireless routers go, gorgeous. It’s no surprise that ASUS refers to the N66U as the ‘Dark Knight’ — Christopher Nolan’s caped crusader would definitely use a couple of these for Wi-Fi in his Bat-cave.

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When it comes to current Wi-Fi specifications, the RT-N66U sits at the top of the tree. It’s a dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n router, rated at N-900 for simultaneous 450Mbps transfer rates over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

802.11ac routers are starting to become available — ASUS does even have an 802.11ac version of this router, called the RT-AC66U — but we’d personally stick with 802.11n until the new standard is agreed upon.

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It doesn’t have an ADSL2+ modem built in, so you’ll need to hook it up to your existing modem through the RT-N66U’s Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. It can distribute your Internet and home network connection through its four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, too, although with such solid Wi-Fi specs we’d be tempted to use it entirely wirelessly.

Two USB 2.0 ports on the Dark Knight make for easy connectivity if you’ve got a printer that you want to share around your home’s network, or a external hard drive. You can also hook a 3G or 4G mobile broadband dongle to use as a backup Internet connection if your main ADSL connection is down.

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If you’re the kind of person that likes playing around with your home network, setting up static IP routes and port forwards and whatnot, you’ll probably love the RT-N66U. It’s chock-full of settings to adjust in its ASUSWRT Dashboard Web interface — you can change practically every aspect of the RT-N66U’s opration.

ASUS has done a great job of filling the RT-N66U with features, making it easy to adjust and easy to control, and packaging all of that in a deadly-looking shell. It’s got to be one of the best routers on the market at the moment, at least until 802.11AC Wi-Fi becomes standard.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

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