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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

ASUS RT-N16

At a Glance
Product ASUS Multi-functional Gigabit SuperSpeedN Router (RT-N16)
Summary 2.4GHz, Broadcom-based 802.11n router with HTTP / FTP / BitTorrent download, USB drive sharing and Gigabit Ethernet
Pros • Gigabit WAN and LAN ports
• DD-WRT compatible
• 2 USB 2.0 ports for sharing storage or printer
Cons • Low file sharing speed
• Middle of the pack wireless performance
• Help and documentation for advanced features needs improvement.

When you hear the name ASUS, your first thought is probably of netbooks, desktop computers or, if you're a DIY kind of person, motherboards. Wireless routers from ASUS don't immediately come to mind. Although previous ASUS routers may not have appeared on your radar screen, the new, full-featured RT-N16, appropriately named " Multi-Functional Gigabit SuperSpeedN" is worth a look.

The RT-N16 is a single band 802.11N Wi-Fi Certified router with Gigabit Ethernet WAN and LAN ports and two USB 2.0 ports for sharing a USB printer, or USB storage devices. Housed in an 8.5" X 6 3/8" X 1.6" plain white plastic case with gray trim, the RT-N16 is likely to appeal to Mac users who tend to like white devices. It's quite a bit larger than a similarly-featured D-Link DIR-655 that measures 7.6" X 4.6" X 1.2".

The front panel has blue LEDs for power/status, link/activity for each of the four LAN ports, and an LED for wireless status/activity. The top and bottom of the case is loaded with ventilation holes to ensure that the device stays cool. Figure 1 shows the configuration of the rear panel.

ASUS RT-N16 rear panel

Figure 1: ASUS RT-N16 rear panel

The rear panel has RP-SMA connectors for the three supplied 2 dBi antennas, a power receptacle, a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button, two USB ports, a reset button, one WAN port and 4 LAN ports. Though the ports are color coded (WAN=Blue, LAN=Yellow), the quick start guide doesn't take advantage of, or mention the color coding for the initial configuration. Power is supplied by a 100-240V 50/60Hz auto switching "wall wart". With two computers and two USB devices connected, the RT-N16 consumed 8 W.

On the Inside

Figure 2 is an FCC ID doc shot of the the board with the heat sinks and RF shields removed.

ASUS RT-N16 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: ASUS RT-N16 board

ASUS made an interesting choice for their component selection. The RT-N16 is powered by a Broadcom BCM4718 Intensi-fi XLR 802.11n Simultaneous Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz) Router System-on-Chip. This chip combines the baseband, MAC, 533 MHz CPU and radio modules and includes the USB support found on the RT-N16.

Although the BCM4718 has a 5 GHz radio, ASUS didn't put the circuitry in to support it. So even if you load up the DD-WRT distro, you won't get a dual band router.

The Gigabit WAN and four Gigabit LAN ports are supported by a Broadcom BCM53115 which provides a full 5 Gbps switching fabric and built-in QoS. 128MB of RAM and 32 MB of Flash round out the design.

The switch device is spec'd to support up to 9K jumbo frames. But ASUS doesn't spec jumbo frame support and we didn't check to see if jumbo frame support is enabled.

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