I recently decided to get a new router. Adding devices to my television encouraged me to make this purchase. There was a need for additional ethernet ports. The router that my ISP gave me only had two ports. While at it, I figured that I might as well get the best possible router that I could. 

After doing some research, I landed on the ASUS RT AC66U. This router has been around for close to 8 years now. That made it easy for me to piece together the experiences of other users before committing to it. 

Who Should Use This Product?

There are several features that captured my attention when I was considering this router. Here are some of them:

  • It is a dual-band router.
  • The speed of these bands is courtesy of the 5th generation 802.11ac chipset.
  • It has Gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • Uses AiRadar to give a reliable Wifi network.
  • It is effortless to set up.
  • The USB ports make file sharing on the networks very easy.
  • I liked that it has the ASUSWRT dashboard UI.
  • It includes the ASUS AiCloud service, for streaming, storing, syncing and sharing files.

There are several things that I was after in a new router. I wanted it to be one that would make the most of my internet speed. It also had to be one that provided connectivity features such as the ethernet ports. Getting USB ports would be a bonus. 

The ASUS AC66U is designed for those that are looking to get a reliable wireless connection across floors and walls. It is perfect for gamers. They have made it capable of streaming PC games to the NVIDIA® SHIELD™. Whether you decide to achieve this through a wired or wireless connection is up to you. The wired connections use the 4 Gigabit LAN and 1 Gigabit WAN connections to give you high-speed direct connection.

What gets the range that I wanted are the three detachable antennas. They can be adjusted to different positions in pursuit of the best connection. 

What You Should Know

Having two bands makes security much more manageable to protect your network. You can run the connection between the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band at the same time. What is perhaps even better is the fact that you can have guests on their own network. It tends to be the one that I usually keep open, without a password. 

The WPS button behind the router is another way to allow connectivity without the usual security restrictions. Another feature that I am excited about is bandwidth prioritization. The ASUS RT AC66U has Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities for this purpose. It also allows you to monitor web usage.

One of the most impressive things about the RT-AC66U is that it is capable of maintaining a pipeline of up to 300 000 data sessions. According to Asus, this is 20 times better performance than you would get from regular routers. It also helps to know that the router supports the ASUS AiCloud for storage.

My First Impressions

There was a software disc included in the box. This may come handy when setting up the router on some devices. The router is well wrapped, to protect it from damage in transition. Not that it needs this, the shape of the box would probably suffice. The package has:

3x screw-on antennas.

1x set up guide booklet.

1x modem stand.

1x power adapter.

1x set up disc.

I was quite surprised by how easy the antennas are to attach and to detach. True to their description, all you have to do is turn the screws. You are advised to keep the middle antenna fully stretched. It is not to be bent at any angle. The manufacturer says that is how you get the most out of it. 

The modem’s stand slides onto the bottom of the device. I was not going to use it. After deciding to give it a chance, I can tell you that it is worth using. It places your router at a more accessible angle. The connectivity ports are more comfortable to reach when your ASUS RT AC66U is mounted on the stand. 

The Use Phase

It takes very little time to get the RT-AC66U going. Once you have it powered and connected to the ISP, there are three steps to take. You will need a WiFi-enabled device to do this. A laptop, smartphone or tablet will do. As soon as you open the browser, it will redirect to a setup page where the password is requested. Once you have provided it, your router is ready. 

The booklet that comes with the router helped me get a clear understanding of how to use it. There is also a wealth of information available online. If you have questions, answers should be readily available from other users. Asus customer support has been at hand whenever I have required their guidance.  

The user dashboard is a great way to make changes to the network. It is a reasonably user-friendly system that a novice could use without trouble. Using the USB port was also a revelation. The sheer number of things that you can do with it is impressive. You can use the two USB ports to connect to FTPs, SAMBA, and UPnP AV servers. I also liked that I could access Peer to peer files without using a PC. They would be saved directly onto a connected storage device. 

After using it for a while, I am pleased with ASUS AiRadar performance when giving me coverage. According to the manufacturer, it uses a high-powered amplification and beam packaging to facilitate this. I found the signal to be robust and consistent in all directions. The two bands run at 450Mbps and 1.3Gbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz respectively. I get the best results as far as speed is concerned when I use the 5GHz network for the bandwidth intensive tasks. 2.4GHz can handle emails and general web browsing.

Results

 

My experience with this router has primarily been a positive one. There are some things that I would have liked to be better. Here are some of the highlights of my experience:

Pros

  • It is an incredibly fast 802.11ac router.
  • It has four ethernet ports.
  • The router is easy to install.
  • Exhaustive cybersecurity features.
  • Outstanding parental control features.
  • It has multiple USB ports. 

Cons

  • The antennas cannot easily be screwed off.
  • The 2.4GHz 802.11n router could do better.

The way that I use my router has changed. Some of the additional features have given me new options. I have made the USB ports and an integral part of everything that I do. My wireless printing is handled by these ports as well. 

I am also pleased with the wide range of coverage that this router has given me. The 256MB RAM within the router gives it impressive computing power. This becomes even more important when multiple devices are connected to the router.

One important tip for performance when connecting various devices is to ensure that they are not all on the same network. I would also encourage the user of the ethernet ports for devices that support them. Not only are they quick and reliable, but this also means less pressure on the wireless networks. 

Final Thoughts

One feature that I hadn’t been looking for but appreciate nonetheless is the VPN server capability that the router has. This is an additional layer of security. It uses MPPE encryption. I would certainly recommend the RT-AC66U to users looking for a fast and secure router. If I had to give it a rating, it would be about 4/5. It has features that would be appreciated by a non-tech user as well as an advanced user.