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You are here: Wireless Wireless Reviews ASUS RT-N56U Black Diamond Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Reviewed - Performance, Closing Thoughts

ASUS RT-N56U Black Diamond Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Reviewed - Performance, Closing Thoughts

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Performance - File Sharing

I ran a file copy of our standard ripped-DVD test folder and measured write speed of 7.6 MB/s and 9.5 MB/s with FAT and NTFS-formatted drives, respectively. Reads came in at 13 MB/s for both formats. This performance is typical of embedded router file servers.

Performance - Routing

Routing throughput running the latest 1.0.1.2 firmware and our router test process established new Router chart highs of 802 Mbps WAN to LAN, 862 Mbps WAN to LAN and 1268 Mbps total with up and down tests running simultaneously. The Maximum Simultaneous Connections test maxed out our test capability at 34,925.

The IxChariot plot below (Figure 5) shows significant throughput variation. But that is more an artifact of test file size than the router itself.

ASUS RT-N56U routing performance

Figure 5: ASUS RT-N56U routing performance

Performance - Wireless

I used our standard open air test method to test the RT-N56U's wireless performance. As usual, I set the 2.4 GHz radio to Channel 1 and the 5 GHz radio to Channel 36. All tests were run using WPA2 / AES encryption.

The test client was an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card in an Acer Aspire 1810T notebook running Win 7 Home Premium and Intel's Win 7 13.4.0.9 driver for the Intel card.

I skipped checking fallback to 54 Mbps link rates when using WEP 128 and WPA / TKIP because the RT-N56U is Wi-Fi Certified and the certification test suite confirms that.

To cut to the chase, check the 2.4 GHz wireless performance table with the RT-N56U compared to the Cisco Linksys E4200 and NETGEAR WNDR3700v2.

Highest throughput for a single stream was 84 Mbps running downlink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode in location A. I was able to measure 100 Mbps running simultaneous up and downlink tests in 40 MHz bandwidth mode in location A.

ASUS RT-N56U 2.4GHz Wireless Performance comparison

Figure 6: ASUS RT-N56U 2.4GHz Wireless Performance comparison

In general, the three routers are comparable in the strong-signal test locations A - C and the RT-N56U's performance in the transition location D and weak signal locations E and F tracked closer to the E4200 than the the WNDR3700v2. You can see this more clearly in the example throughput vs. location graph in Figure 7.

2.4 GHz throughput vs. location - 20 MHz mode, downlink

Figure 7: 2.4 GHz throughput vs. location - 20 MHz mode, downlink

The 5 GHz table in Figure 8 shows somewhat stronger performance for the RT-N56U in this band. But none of the routers were able to reach into my 5 GHz dead zone locations E and F. The RT-N56U seems to be a bit stronger in Location D for some tests. But the advantage isn't consistent enough to be reliable.

Highest 5 GHz throughput measured was 86 Mbps running downlink in location A in 40 MHz bandwidth mode. Running simultaneous up and downlink tests in 40 MHz bandwidth mode in location A was once again able to goose throughput above 100 Mbps to 111 Mbps.

ASUS RT-N56U 2.4GHz Wireless Performance comparison

Figure 8: ASUS RT-N56U 5GHz Wireless Performance comparison

Here are links to the IxChariot wireless test plots if you'd like to explore further:

Closing Thoughts

The RT-N56U is a worthy successor to ASUS' RT-N16. It has a solid routing section with more speed than even our friends overseas can use, Gigabit ports and two 11n radios that both support WDS bridging and repeating. But with its Ralink chipset, you won't be able to run DD-WRT or other alternate distros on it as you can with the RT-N16.

If you're comfortable with routers that don't have the name Cisco, NETGEAR or D-Link on them and are looking for a less expensive two-radio dual-band router that can also share a USB printer and drive at the same time, you might want to give the RT-N56U a shot.




Related Items:

New To The Charts: ASUS RT-N16 Multi-functional Gigabit SuperSpeedN Ro
New To The Charts: ASUS RT-N13U Wireless N Router with All-in-One Prin
ASUS RT-N65U Dual-Band Wireless-N750 Gigabit Router Reviewed
Slideshow: Netgear WNDR3300 RangeMax Dual-Band Wireless N Router
Cisco Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router Reviewed

User reviews

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Average user rating from: 40 user(s)

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Very, very disappointed

Overall rating: 
 
2.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by Yasen Velichkov
December 10, 2013
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So I had ASUS RT-N12E router at home and decided to switch to something better. There were great prices for for RT-56U so I decided to give it a try after reading a lot of benchmarks and reviews for this legendary model.

At 2.4G RT-N12E my desktop (with ASUS PCE-N15 - same Realtek chip as the one in RT-N12E) was at -53 dB and the average download speed was 75-85 Mbps.
With RT-N56U I get -62 dB with same position of router and desktop and something like 30 Mbps, the link speed is 300 Mbps in both cases.

I've tried to adjust the position of the RT-N56U as it doesn't have external antennas to play with... and the given results are my best ones. Checked the differences with other devices too... same thing.

Generally I'm very disappointed with the 2.4G range and of this device. Yes, it's true - the performance of the router itself is great but I needed a better device in terms of wireless range and the 25$ router is just much better.

 

After a few quirky firmwares, this thing got some balls in the later release

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Zeus
September 18, 2013
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I dusted this off to give it another try, sure glad I did. After downloading and updating the firmware I have zero drops and super-fast speeds.

Now Asus just needs to do some additional performance tweaks and it would be the best one I have. Sure they're busy with the newer stuff right now tho.

 

There is one custom firmware

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by SpeedingCheetah
September 09, 2013
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This thing is super powerful with this custom "tweaked" version of the Asus firmware.
I get much better throughput. 113MB's wired file transfer and 20-25MB's over 5ghz wifi.

Can u belive I got this used on ebay for $25!!!!


ASUS RT-N56U/RT-N65U custom firmware
https://code.google.com/p/rt-n56u/

 

Amazing for under $100

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by T
August 31, 2013
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Have owned this router 4 months now and has never overheated, or dropped signal. The FTP service works amazing and has a way better range than my old router i bought from my internet service provider. (NEVER BUY ISP EQUIPMENT!!!) the only thing this router is missing is multiple ssid's but has everything else a SOHO network would need.

 

Overheating problem

Overall rating: 
 
3.3
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by chris
August 02, 2013
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it overheats at summer time at about 20c outside
lags a bit when playing lan games

 
 
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