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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews ASUS RT-N16 Multi-functional Gigabit SuperSpeedN Router Reviewed - Performance-Routing, NAS, Wireless, Closing Thoughts

ASUS RT-N16 Multi-functional Gigabit SuperSpeedN Router Reviewed - Performance-Routing, NAS, Wireless, Closing Thoughts

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Routing Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

Table 1 summarizes the results of the N16's routing tests, which show it to deliver slightly over 140 Mbps in each direction. Maximum simultaneous sessions hit our test limit of 200 on the first try.

Test Description Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN 141.1
LAN - WAN 143.3
Total Simultaneous 155.9
Max. Connections 200
Firmware Version
Table 1: Routing throughput

Figure 17 shows the IxChariot aggregate plots for WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous routing throughput tests, which have a bit more variation than we've seen in current-generation N routers. Still the N16 should have enough routing power to keep up with fast cable, DSL and even fiber connections.

ASUS RT-N16 routing throughput
Click to enlarge image

Figure 17: ASUS RT-N16 routing throughput

Wireless Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

I used the open air test method described here to test the N16's wireless performance. Testing was done using our standard wireless test client, an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card in a Dell Mini 12 running WinXP Home SP3 and version of the Intel drivers. I left all client-side defaults in place except for enabling throughput enhancement (packet bursting).

I tested the N16 back in October using firmware. All factory default settings were left in place, except setting channel 1 for the 2.4 GHz band.

Figure 18 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. Throughput variation is relatively high, even in the stronger signal test locations. The other plots can be viewed via these links: uplink- 20 MHz BW; downlink 40 MHz BW; uplink 40 MHz BW.

ASUS RT-N16 routing throughput
Click to enlarge image

Figure 17: ASUS RT-N16 routing throughput

Wireless performance from the Broadcom-based radio wasn't particularly impressive for speed, although it did reach all six of our test locations in both 20 MHz and 40 MHz bandwidth modes. Average throughput across all six test locations was only 29.5 Mbps and 37.2 Mbps running downlink in 20 MHz and 40 MHz bandwidth modes and 27.4 and 42.3 Mbps uplink. Maximum throughput was 84 Mbps running uplink in Location A in 40 MHz bandwidth mode.

But our Wireless Location Performance Table provides a much better look at comparative performance. I chose two other popular single-band N routers, the D-Link DIR-655 [A4] and Cisco / Linksys WRT310N and the RT-N16's less-expensive (but much better performing) sibling, the RT-N13U.

The Performance Table gathers all the average throughput test results for the selected adapters into a single table. It then highlights the highest throughput value in each Test location for each benchmark test. If results are within 1.0 Mbps of each other then both products' results are highlighted. Finally, the number of highlighted results are tallied for each test group and the product name with the most highlighted values is then highlighted.

It's easy to see that the N16 lost to its less-expensive sibling, except running uplink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode, where it tied.

Wireless Performance Comparison Table

Figure 18: Wireless Performance Comparison Table

These results don't show that the N16 is a particularly bad 2.4 GHz N router. Just not a particularly outstanding one.

Closing Thoughts

With a list price of $99.99, the RT-N16 finds itself right in the thick of the competition for single band, Gigabit-port 802.11N routers. It's a fairly full-featured router that can also double as a WDS bridge / repeater or an AP. And I like that I can attach USB storage and share it via SMB on my local network. If I didn't already have several NASes on my network, the RT-N16 could be a viable, albeit slow, option for network storage.

But I found the virtual server and port triggering features lacking in comparison to the venerable DIR-655. And from a performance standpoint, it features middle-of-the-pack routing joined with middle-of-the-pack wireless performance.

In reading the message boards, there seems to be a lot of excitement about the RT-N16 as a hardware platform. Apparently, there's a fairly good DD-WRT implementation for it. So for devotees of alternative router firmware, that fact alone might push you toward the N16.

The N16 tends to be in short supply at many stores, so its price tends to stay up near its suggested list. If you're strapped for cash, this could push you toward a Cisco WRT310N, which can be had for around $45 if you're ok with a refurbed unit.

In the end, the RT-N16 is worth a look if you're looking for an alternative to D-Link's DIR-655, which used to be our go-to single-band N router. But until D-Link gets its firmware troubles sorted out, you might want to see what ASUS has to offer.

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User reviews

Average user rating from: 4 user(s)

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Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Justin
July 20, 2011
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This has got to be the best router available at the moment. It has a MIPSR2 480 MHz processor that actually rated to over 500MHz. It has 128MB of RAM and 32MB of EEPROM. It has two USB ports and because it uses the Broadcom chipset third party open source firmware can be flashed into the unit. Don't even consider using the Asus firmware as Tomato USB runs fantastic on it. I suggest Victek's Tomato RAF as the Tomato branch/derivative of choice.

Also the review on this site really seem concerned about wireless performance and equate it to the wireless chipset used. Do you guys not understand that it's all in the ANTENNA GAIN!!!

Take the Asus RT-N16 here for example and place three L-com HG2405RD-RSP 5.5dBi antennas on it and run your wireless tests again!!!

The routers you guys suggest can't even have the antennas replaced duh!!!


Great router if using Tomato USB

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Amac
June 04, 2011
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I'm a semigeek. Some of the stuff on this site confuses me. But I figured out enough to get this router and install Tomato USB. Great combination. Have not had any problems with router. Love all the features that Tomato gives me. Like blocking my son's iPod after 7 PM. Blocking certain website. Yeah, I know you can do that with other routers but Tomato made it easy. Also love the QOS features. Netflix devices get highest bandwidth while wife's bit torrent get's low...

Review was too heavily slanted against the Asus software, which I agree is crap. I bought the router for it's hardware specs. Large memory. Fast processor. Gigabyte lan. 2 USB ports.


72/102 Mbps, 90/94 Mbps

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by sf3000
February 03, 2011
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"LAN speed test" setting: 100MB, 300Mbps, wireless-N

Latitude E6400 Intel 5100 AGN writing/reading speeds
from dining room: 50ft away & 3 walls
best 41/82 Mbps
worst 54/71 Mbps
3ft away:
best1 72/102 Mbps
best2 67/106 Mbps
worst1 76/75 Mbps
worst2 68/81 Mbps
worst3 54/68 Mbps
walking back to dining room:
55/59 Mbps

Sony Z112 Intel 6200 AGN writing/reading speeds
from dining room: : 50ft away & 3 walls
48/57 Mbps
3ft away:
best1 90/94 Mbps
best2 88/90 Mbps
worst1 70/84 Mbps
worst2 71/81 Mbps
15ft away (bathroom)
75/80 Mbps
15ft away
79/75 Mbps

Latest tomato firmware at time of writing. (Feb 2, 2011)


Not Recommended For Novices

Overall rating: 
Reviewed by Thai
August 16, 2010
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- First unit received dead-on-arrival. (Confirmed by Asus)
- Documentation very poor. User manual poorly written and incomplete.
- Firmware inadequate. (Confirmed by most users recommending use of 3 party firmware.)
- Overall performance specifications below average.
- Long term reliability below average.

Unless you're very experienced in systems and internet protocol, this is NOT your best choice.


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