- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
This router rises about its predecessor, the Dark Knight (RT-N66U)
Asus nicknamed its last-generation router—and our zero-point in this roundup—Dark Knight, and if it’s looking for another DC Comics hero to represent the RT-AC66U, we recommend going with The Flash. Point blank, this is the all-around fastest router we’ve ever tested. It came out on top in five of our 10 throughput tests and nipped at the heels of the leader in three others.
A pair of slower USB 2.0 (compared to USB 3.0) ports on the back temper our enthusiasm over performance, though at least Asus offers a host of ways to share and stream files—DLNA, iTunes, FTP, and Samba server support all showed up to the party. You can also use Asus’s AiCloud app available on Android and iOS to tap into your files from a mobile device.
If speed kills, this router would be a serial killer.
The user interface is brilliantly mapped out and chock-full of settings. All the main functions are categorized on the left-hand side, while tabs on the main window allow you to dig several layers deep. Power users and novices alike will feel right at home jumping around the menu. It’s also nice that Asus gives you the ability to tweak the signal strength and external antennas.
$180 (Street), www.asus.com
High maintenance, low reward
We’re not sure if the RTA15 is so potentially fast that it keeps tripping over its own two feet, or if this is a case of being seduced by promises of a wild ride by a hot number that has no intentions of following through. Either way, we were left frustrated and unsatisfied.
Amped Wireless advertises the RTA15 as a “High Power 700mW” router, yielding expectations of both speed and distance. During our tests, we saw glimpses of the former—the RTA15 would spike on the 5GHz band before taking a dip in performance. Averaged out over time, the best we could muster was just shy of 300Mb/s, and even that took a lot of tinkering. We spent way more time experimenting with settings on the RTA15 than any other router. One thing we discovered is that dialing back the signal strength helps in close quarters, but we never did uncover the magic formula that would make this router scream.
Move along. This is not the AC router you’re looking for.
File transfer speeds over the single USB 2.0 port failed to impress, as well. It was among the slowest of the bunch, taking a minute and a half longer than any other router to write a single 3GB file.
Amped Wireless RTA15
$185 (Street), www.ampedwireless.com
Don’t judge a router by its cover
Whereas high-performance routers are adopting sleek designs with aggressive angles and external antennas, Buffalo’s WZR-1750DHP stands up like a hardcover book with subdued LEDs and a rubberized coating. This isn’t a fashion contest, however, and Buffalo’s model quickly demonstrated why looks mean nothing. Throughput on the 5GHz band in 802.11ac mode consistently bumped elbows with Asus and Netgear, with Buffalo edging out both in the Entryway. 802.11n and file-transfer performance via USB 3.0 were both solid, too.
A wealth of advanced features can be found in the back end, including some not-so-common tweaks like an eco mode and an optional time limit for guest access. Buffalo earns bonus points for a persistent Help button in the upper-right corner. Clicking it brings up an explanation of whichever settings are on the page—we wish more router makers would follow in Buffalo’s footsteps here.
Exceptional speed and features belie this router’s unassuming looks.
Zooming through the menu system is a little quirky. The main menu is the most touch-friendly of the bunch with four large, tiled menus, but the deeper you go, the more traditional (and a little confusing) the menus get. Given the focus on touch computing lately, we hope Buffalo eventually extends the main menu look throughout the UI.
$140 (Street), www.buffalotech.com
|Bedroom – 10ft (Mb/s)||416||324||361||400||419||298||398||N/A|
|Dining Room – 15ft, 2 walls (Mb/s)||243||221||239||291||335||138||309||N/A|
|Entryway – 20ft, 3 walls (Mb/s)||257||178||241||336||284||112||268||N/A|
|Driveway – 35ft (Mb/s)||67.8||20.2||63.7||136||132||42.4||138||N/A|
|Backyard – 90ft (Mb/s)||15.1||2.76||11.1||15.3||9.54||2.81||14.3||N/A|
|Bedroom – 10ft (Mb/s)||79.5||97.1||170||96.4||180||159||180||111|
|Dining Room – 15ft, 2 walls (Mb/s)||65.6||95.2||140||93.4||163||66||141||99.3|
|Entryway – 20ft, 3 walls (Mb/s)||62.3||42.2||149||88.3||145||50.4||91.7||122|
|Driveway – 35ft (Mb/s)||42.8||31.4||80||78.7||95.5||4.13||64.4||73.4|
|Backyard – 90ft (Mb/s)||4.31||23.8||56.4||54.4||58.4||2.35||51.4||59.1|
|3GB Router to PC (min:sec)||1:38||2:16||1:41||0:50||4:29||6:20||1:12||4:28|
|1GB Router to PC (min:sec)||0:39||2:16||0:40||0:22||1:35||2:14||0:29||1:52|
|3GB PC to Router (min:sec)||2:51||4:33||6:09||1:31||6:00||7:45||2:15||6:15|
|1GB PC to Router (min:sec)||1:10||2:58||2:58||0:40||2:25||2:35||0:59||2:34|
Best scores are bolded.