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ASUS RT-N65U Dual-Band Wireless-N750 Gigabit Router Reviewed

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Dual-Band Wireless-N750 Gigabit Router
At a glance
ProductASUS RT-N65U Dual-Band Wireless-N750 Gigabit Router   [Website]
SummaryRalink-based Gigabit, N750 class 802.11abgn router with USB printer and multi-featured drive sharing and PPTP VPN server
Pros• Many features including WWAN backup and VPN server
• 2 USB 3.0 ports
• WDS Bridging / Repeating
Cons• USB 3.0 interferes with 2.4 GHz operation
• Somewhat weak wireless range

Typical Price: $80  Check NewEgg  Check Amazon

Introduction

Updated 6/6/2013: Corrected antenna information. Added USB part info

I have to wonder why ASUS produced the RT-N65U. With its ever-popular RT-N56U covering the N600 bases and RT-N66U taking top honors for N900 class routers, why bother with the odd-man-out N750 class?

Sure, N750's were fine in the days before 3x3 chipsets for both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands were readily available. But now that they are plentiful, why would anyone opt for an N750 router? But I come to review the N65U, not to dis it, although we'll see that ASUS has given us reasons to do that.

I also have to apologize for the tardiness of this review. ASUS pitched the N65U for review last July, but I passed for the reasons above. When I changed my mind toward the end of 2012, ASUS told me they wanted to hold off for a firmware update that had AiCloud enhancements.

After a few months passed still no router appeared, I had to threaten to buy one myself to review it because ASUS still wanted to hold it, pending a firmware upgrade. When the router finally arrived, it got caught in the transition to our new wireless test process, which caused a few more months delay.

You would easily mistake the N65U for the N56U, starting with its dyslexic-baiting model number. I'm sure I will screw up between the two in the course of this review. So please don't hesitate to call me out for any errors you catch. Both routers are physically almost the same size (the N65U is 5 mm narrower) and have the same glossy "black diamond" pattern on their front surface.

The callout diagram below shows you get the same vertical format, same front panel indicators and same Gigabit WAN (1) and switched LAN (4) ports. A key difference between the two products, besides the different wireless class, is the N65U's dual USB 3.0 ports vs. the N56U's dual USB 2.0 ports. The N65U's USB ports are down next to the power port vs. sandwiched between the WAN and LAN ports on the N56U.

ASUS RT-N65U ports and lights

ASUS RT-N65U ports and lights

Inside

Another thing the N65U has in common with its N600 cousin is its Ralink-based (now MediaTek) design, which is obvious from the board shot below, taken from the FCC ID docs. The gallery has a few more pictures of the N65U's innards, which employ a large heatsink that stretches across all the key components to try to keep things cool.

ASUS RT-N65U board

ASUS RT-N65U board
Updated 6/6/2013

Like the N56U, all of the N65U's five three antennas are printed directly on the circuit board. The 5 GHz radio, which is a 3x3 design (N450 class) supporting link rates up to 450 Mbps gets three. The 2.4 GHz 2x2 radio, with its maximum 300 Mbps link rate (N300 class) gets two. Both radios feed into the three antennas, two of which are dual-band.

Key components for both products are summarized in Table 1. The only other component of note not in the table is the Asmedia ASM1042 USB 3.0 host controller that provides the dual USB 3.0 ports.

  RT-N65U RT-N56U
CPU Ralink RT3883 (500 MHz)
802.11N 2.4/5GHz 3T3R(450/450Mbps) AP/Router SoC
Ralink RT3662F (500 MHz)
02.11N 2.4/5GHz 2T3R(300/450Mbps) AP/Router SoC
Switch Realtek RTL8367RB Realtek RTL8367
RAM 128 MB 128 MB
Flash 16 MB 8 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Ralink RT3352 @ 500 MHz 2.4GHz 2x2 Router SoC
- unidentified outboard amplifiers (x2)
- Ralink RT3092 2.4 GHz 2x2
- unidentified outboard amplifiers (x2)
5 GHz radio - In Ralink RT3883
- unidentified outboard amplifiers (x2)
- In Ralink RT3662F
- unidentified outboard amplifiers (x2)
Table 1: Key components



Related Items:

ASUS RT-N56U Black Diamond Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Reviewe
ASUS RT-AC66U Second Wireless Retest
NETGEAR Suing ASUS For Wireless Hanky Panky
ASUS RT-N66U and Linksys EA4500 / EA4200v2 Wireless Retest
Linksys EA6500 Wireless Retest

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

User Rating    [Back to Top]
Overall: 
 
3.3 Features :
 
3.0 Performance :
 
3.7 Reliability :
 
3.3
 
Ratings (the higher the better)
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Performance*
 
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again (after N56U) well touted Asus router goes back to the dealer.

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by Mi Chu
October 22, 2013
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again (after N56U) well touted Asus router (firmware:3.0.0.4.372_1363) goes back to the dealer.
Basic functions (routing, range): ok
WebUI: not working properly (again)
additional features (USB applications) do not work properly (again)

 

Best N750 for the money, imo

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by John
August 30, 2013
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I've had Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, and Belkin routers in the past, and it was long past time for me to upgrade from my old N150. I wanted the ASUS RT-N66u, but alas, my wife gave me a $100 budget.

That left me stranded to an N600 or possible an N750 device, and this particular router happened to be $102 with a $15 mail-in-rebate the date I went to Fry's, which was cheaper than the RT-N56u I probably would have otherwise bought.

My experience has been limited thus far, but I'll share what I can.

Pros:
-The web UI is easily the most pleasant for a retail router that I have experienced. It's very detailed, but also very intuitive. ASUS nailed it with this UI.
-USB 3.0 is backward compatible. Whether or not you experience radiation issues, you don't have to use 3.0. Also, I have seen that shielded USB 3.0 cables can solve the problem.
-Easily good enough range for a 2,000sf house, and I have noticed no difference in speeds in any location of the house. Speedtest.net has yielded the same results on every test in my whole house.
-Cut my ping in half vs. my old N150.

Cons:
-No wall mount capability. I wasn't going to originally do a wall-mount, so that's why I purchases this without thinking twice about its lack of ability to be wall-mounted. I changed my mind a couple of weeks after purchase, and now I've had to work a little harder than otherwise would have been necessary to get this thing where I want it. Not a huge deal, but it's a slight ding.
-If you're going to desk mount, managing the cables while still keeping this router visible will be fairly difficult. Why make the router look so nice if you're not going to give users the ability to effectively hide wires and show off the router?

I know my cons are frivolous, and really what that shows is that this router has met all of my expectations, and I am absolutely thrilled with the ease of use and attractiveness of this router (and ASUS routers in general).

 

Thanks for the update.

Overall rating: 
 
3.3
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Tyler M
June 23, 2013
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I was one of the complainers on the forums about the USB 3 and 2.4Ghz interference issue.

I'm glad that this was examined in the update of this review. I've used the 65u for over 6 months now and it's been no fun at all. The marginal speed gains, even after purchasing the most expensive shielded USB 3 cable I've ever seen, when using the attached USB 3 drive were not worth the lack of wireless signal strength and other weird issues I've had with this router.

The newest issue I'm having with it is that the SMB share seems to "lose" files in Windows 7. For example the first folder starting with the letter "M" in my folder of MP3s is "Mars Volta". I know the folder is there (because when I type the exact path into the address bar it shows me the folder) but it's not displayed while I'm in the parent MP3 folder or when I search for it. Not only that folder is affected but the next 10 or so folders starting with with the letter "M" are missing as well.

Disconnecting the USB drive from the 65u and directly connecting it to my computer shows all the folders from "Mars Volta" through "MC Hammer".

This might be some sort of issue with Windows 7 caching network folders but I can't seem to remedy that with troubleshooting methods that should fix it. I didn't have that issue in the year that I used my rt-n56u

I am going to purchase (my second) rt-n56u as I sold the last one I owned before realizing how faulty the 65U is.

 
 

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