I had Scott take a look at ASUS' current router OS features, so won't repeat any of that here. A shot of the N65U's Network Map is below.
ASUS RT-N65U network map
Wireless features sometimes differ router-to-router, so Table 2 summarizes the basic wireless setting modes and channels supported. Note that 5 GHz channel 165 is not supported.
|Setting||2.4 GHz||5 GHz|
|Channel||Auto, 1 - 11||36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161|
|Wireless Mode||Auto [default]
(Also b/g Protection checkbox, default checked)
|Security||Open System (WEP)
Shared Key (WEP)
WPA Auto Personal
WPA Auto Enterprise
Radius with 802.1x
|Other||- Separate Control and Extension Channel setting
- No Transmit power control
- Scheduled radio on/off
- Client-to-client isolation enable
- WDS based bridging / repeating
- AP mode
Table 2: Wireless settings summary
The gallery on the previous page has shots of the basic and "professional" wireless pages and the Bridge page, too.
Scott covered the AiCloud and USB application features in his review. So I focused on checking out the N65U's storage performance. I ran Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed connected to the N65U with our USB standard drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) formatted in FAT32 and NTFS.
|FAT32 Write (MBytes/s)||11||7.6|
|FAT32 Read (MBytes/s)||29.2||13|
|NTFS Write (MBytes/s)||17.6||9.5|
|NTFS Read (MBytes/s)||30.8||13|
Table 3: File copy throughput
Table 3 shows the N65U does much better (more than 2X) for reads than the USB 2.0-equipped N56U. FAT32 writes are almost 50% better, but still pretty slow. NTFS writes are almost 2X the N56U's.
Unlike more recently-released USB 3.0 equipped routers like the NETGEAR R6250 and Linksys EA6300, the N65U has no shielding added to solve the USB 3.0 / 2.4 GHz interference problem described in this Intel whitepaper. This is probably because the router was designed around the time (April 2012) Intel's paper came out.
I haven't been testing for this problem, but decided to, due to reader complaints in the Forums. I started to set up for the test by associating a client (my trusty Lenovo X220i) to the 2.4 GHz radio, which was set to Auto 20/40 mode and had automatically selected Channels 1 and 5. I then plugged in the same USB 3.0 drive described above. I didn't get very far in the test, because each time I plugged the drive's 1 M cable into the N65U, the 2.4 GHz client disconnected. The drive and dock were sitting on a shelf about 1 M away from the router.
I found that if I set the router to 20 MHz mode, the wireless connection would not be interrupted. I then tried some large folder copies to a client computer connected to the router via Ethernet. I found sometimes when I plugged the USB 3.0 drive into the N65U during the folder copy that the transfer would briefly hang, then resume at about half the throughput. Other times, repeating the same experiment seemed to have no effect.
The conclusion is that the N65U definitely does have an interaction between its USB 3.0 ports and 2.4 GHz radio and that it can be quite severe. I don't think there is a firmware fix that can be cobbled up for this, the solution has to come in the form of a hardware change like those shown below. If you're buying the N65U in hopes of getting better storage sharing, better rethink that plan.
Performance - Routing
Routing throughput running the 22.214.171.124.342 firmware and our router test process showed steady downlink (WAN > LAN) throughput. But running uplink (LAN > WAN) had significantly higher variation as shown in the IxChariot plot below. Note that interaction between the two in the simultaneous up/down test knocked total throughput down to 574 Mbps. This really pushed the N65U down in our N750 Router Ranking, which I'll come back to in the close.
The Maximum Simultaneous Connections test maxed out our test capability at 29,152 connections.