ASUS RT-N56U wireless router
ASUS RT-N56U review: One of the best looking dual-band wireless routers you will ever see
- Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB storage ports, printer sharing, good wireless speed
- Web interface a little slow and takes time to get used to, power adapter is flimsy
The ASUS RT-N56U takes router styling to a whole new level. It's slim and (we think) good looking; most importantly, it has plenty of features and performs very well. Its simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi worked well in our tests and produced fast speeds, especially from close range. We do wish the router's Web interface was faster and a little better laid out, but you quickly get used to it.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
ASUS has strived to make the RT-N56U dual-band wireless router a stylish unit worthy of putting on display rather than hiding out of the way. It doesn't have any unwieldy external antennas, and its fascia sports a glossy, diamond-like pattern through which the status lights beam like stars — it actually does look good. But not only that, it also produced fast speeds in our short and long distance tests, proving that there is also plenty of substance under those good looks.
ASUS RT-N56U: Design
Unlike most routers on the market the ASUS RT-N56U places a huge emphasis on style. With a slim, wedge-like shape and a diamond-patterned fascia, it's the type of router you might initially baulk at putting on your computer desk, but we actually grew to love it!
The cross-like pattern that the status lights make as they shine through the face of the router is quite elegant, but the lights themselves are fairly bright and this can get annoying in the dark. A small wedge-shaped stand ships with the router so that you can sit it upright. While our first instinct was that this stand would not hold up the weight of the router (especially with Ethernet cables connected), it was actually very sturdy; even with four Ethernet cables and two USB cables plugged in, it remained upright throughout the course of our test period — we even placed it relatively high up in order to tempt fate. But that's enough about how it looks and sits on a desk — you can see it for yourself in the pictures.
In a dark room, the router's lights really stand out. While they can be annoying at night, we think they look quite good.
ASUS RT-N56U: Dual-band wireless performance
Inside the slim chassis is a dual-band 802.11n wireless access point that can run 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks simultaneously. It's great for segregating traffic in your local area network; for example, you can use the 5GHz network with your computers (if they are 5GHz-capable) for transferring files and using the Internet, while the 2.4GHz network can be dedicated exclusively to your PS3 for online gaming. But the usage model of the wireless networking bands will vary depending on your equipment and needs. You may just want to run a 5GHz network because everyone else in your apartment building runs 2.4GHz networks and you want a better performing wireless network.
In our performance tests, the RT-N56U showed plenty of speed in the 2.4GHz band, recording average transfer rates of 10.66 megabytes per second and 12.08MBps in our 2m and 10m tests, respectively. Indeed, it was faster from 10m than it was from 2m, and in our distance tests we were able to get a usable signal over 37m away. This will vary in your own environment depending on the obstacles in between the router and your client devices.
The 5GHz band proved to be faster than the 2.4GHz band from close range, recording a rate of 12.08MBps. Its speed from 10m away was 7.51MBps, which is a little slower than we expected. We achieved a usable signal up to 35m away, but again, this will vary in your own environment. Just like the Linksys E2000 dual-band wireless router (although the Linksys doesn't offer simultaneous dual-band operation), we think the RT-N56U will perform well in a mid-sized house for sharing a fast Internet connection and streaming videos across a LAN.
We paired the RT-N56U with our little Billion 5200S RD ADSL2+ modem and used it to distribute our iiNet ADSL2+ connection. Throughout our week-long test period, the router stayed connected and never unexpectedly dropped the connection.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- Netgear expands its Orbi Wi-Fi system into a product family, adding two less-expensive models
- Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router goes all the way to 11
- Can Wi-Fi and LTE-U live together? The tests are ready
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - ApplicationsSA
- FTProject CoordinatorSA
- CCNetwork and Cloud SMENSW
- TPSenior/Lead AEM DeveloperQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD
- FTLead Network Project ManagerNSW
- FTPurchase Orders Administrator.VIC
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Office 365QLD
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectVIC
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- FTICT ManagerNSW
- TPAutomation Test AnalystSA
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- CCPeoplesoft ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Angular JSVIC
- TPSenior Front End DeveloperVIC
- FT.Net Developer - Mid-levelNSW
- CCICT Project ManagerACT
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- CCInside Sales ConsultantNSW