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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 BlackBerry Priv review: When old habits die hard
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Google Nexus 6P review: An outstanding multimedia machine
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Apple recalls AC wall plug adapters
- This Asus router is a powerful rebuttal to Google OnHub's stark simplicity
- Google releases stylish $199 Wi-Fi router meant to be shown off
- iiNet unveils Social Post at Perth Arena
- Telstra officially launches its national Wi-Fi network
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCLevel 2 Helpdesk, Service Support- Remedy or SAP backgroundNSW
- FTLogistics Systems ManagerNSW
- CCBusiness Project Manager - Transformation ProgramNSW
- CCImmediate iOS Developer Required - Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTJava Web Development OpportunityVIC
- CCWintel Support EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Consultant | Project work | National Systems IntegratorNSW
- CCInformation ArchitectQLD
- CCSolution Design EngineerACT
- CCHybris Developer - Global Digital AgencyNSW
- FTProject Coordinator - My Learning Space (Oracle iLearning)NSW
- FTApplication Packaging & Deployments Team LeaderNSW
- FTTechnical Support EngineerNSW
- CCSharePoint EngineerACT
- FTNetwork Engineer | Canberra | NV1 NV2 clearance | Defence projectsVIC
- FTUX Front-End DeveloperWA
- FTBusiness Analyst AGILENSW
- CCOracle Applications Projects Functional ConsultantSA
- CCContract System Engineer (Lotus Domin) 160129/SE/vccAsia
- FTSystems Administrator/Engineer | Projects & BAU | Coastal Newcastle NSWWA
- CCMid-level DevOps EngineerNSW
- CCService Delivery Manager - Infrastructure/ApplicationsNSW
- CCDigital ProducerNSW
- CCProject SchedulerNSW
- FTSenior Business ConsultantNSW