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 RT-N56U: Access your files remotely
In addition to having a dual-band wireless access point, the ASUS RT-N56U runs a Gigabit Ethernet switch that makes wired file transfers very quick, and it also has a UPnP server and two USB 2.0 ports. You can plug in external hard drives filled with movies or music and access them through your PS3 or another streaming device. You can also use one of the USB ports to share a printer over the network.
When you plug in a hard drive, you can access it from any computer on your network by simply browsing your network for shared folders. You can also enable FTP so that you can access files from your external hard drives over the Internet; you can set up a dynamic DNS (DDNS) service through the mini-wizard (called AiDisk Wizard) when you enable FTP access. It's not very intuitive though, and you're better off entering dynamic DNS settings manually and then going through the AiDisk setting to enable the FTP service. You can control access to connected disks by adding users and modifying their rights. Annoyingly, the default for every folder when you add new users is 'read and write' permission, rather than 'read only' permission.
You can access your connected hard drives remotely via FTP if you've set up a dynamic DNS connection.
ASUS RT-N56U: Web interface and security settings
The Web interface of the RT-N56U aims to be as pretty as the router itself. It's a lot more graphical than a typical Web interface and has a network map (showing you all the devices that are attached) as well as plenty of icons; it takes a while to get used to this layout. It wasn't as reliable as we hoped; often when we changed a setting we had to reload the page and change the setting again before it would take effect. This was particularly the case when changing the access rights of attached hard drives. Most changes make the router restart, and this takes an annoying minute to complete.
Security is handled by a built-in firewall and there is also a facility for keyword URL filtering. When a flagged keyword appears in a URL, the site will be blocked but the user won't get a conspicuous message telling them this (unlike the Netgear DGN1000, for example, which shows a nice big warning); instead the Web browser will just report a connection error. You can still access pages that contain flagged keywords in their body but not in their URL, so it's not a complete solution for parents who want to block their kids from searching for information about certain topics.
The Web interface on the ASUS RT-N56U is a lot more graphical than competing routers and takes some getting used to.
A unique design ensures that the ASUS RT-N56U will at least be a talking point when people come over and ask you what on Earth that funny-looking contraption is doing on your desk. In addition to being a far-from-boring router, the RT-N56U is also quite a fast and well-featured one. We're impressed with its 2.4GHz speed, and love the fact that it can run 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously. We also love its Gigabit Ethernet switch and its USB 2.0 ports for sharing storage devices and printers.
Overall, it's a very good little router that should serve enthusiasts well. We just wish it had a quicker and better designed Web interface. We also found its wall wart (which requires you to slide the prongs into the adapter) to be a little too flimsy and it could lose power if we moved it accidentally.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- 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
- New wireless tech from MIT promises password-free Wi-Fi
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
- FTApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- FTDevops / Technical Support AnalystVIC
- TPTechnical ArchitectVIC
- FTOracle eBusiness Functional Consultant. (Procurement)NSW
- FTWeb User Interface Developer. Work Location - CanberraNSW
- FTNetwork Services ManagerQLD
- FTService Delivery ManagerWA
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTStorage Engineer (HDS)NSW
- FTSenior Java Applications DeveloperVIC
- FTDWH Developer - Hyperion / DatastageNSW
- FTSecurity Support AnalystNSW
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorWA
- FTSales Operations ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Software DeveloperQLD
- FTData Analyst LeadSA
- CCAgile CoachNSW
- FTJunior DevOps Developer - TelcoVIC
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial MarketsVIC
- FTSecurity Monitoring SpecialistVIC
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectSA
- CCSenior Network Architect l CCIE R&S l Cisco ACINSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC