ASUS has long been known as a solid electronics manufacturers before establishing itself as a benchmark wireless routers manufacturer. The RT-AC66U is ASUS’s first AC router offering and, as we are about to see, one of the best dual-band routers on the market today. The RT-AC66U is a perfect blend of reasonable pricing and superb performance. So let’s dig into the review.
Asus RT-AC66U Features And Design
With a dual-band wireless, cutting-edge 802.11ac 3×3 technology for a combined speed of up to 1750 Mbps the 66U is a router not to be messed with. It has an AiRadar system that automatically strengthens wireless connections through high-powered amplification and beamforming. The router has a four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for fast wired productivity. No wonder it is our Editor’s Choice on our best dual band routers list of 2017.
It sports two USB 2.0 ports for extended connectivity. It is a bit strange not to see a USB 3.0 in a device of such class, but honestly, USB performance from other offerings from D-Link or TP-Link, for example, left us questioning whether the 3.0 ports are fully utilised. For most case 2.0 should be more than enough, even for media streaming.
The design is classic and you can’t easily distinguish the ASUS from any other router on the market today. It’s nothing like the aggressive alien look of the D-Link DIR-869, for example. Flat black box with a bit of shine to it. It is OK at best and it looks like just about any other router out there. Three removable, high powered antennas are sticking out of the back.
On the inside, the ASUS check all the marks, at least the important ones – strong WPA security, traffic control and QoS, guest networking, IP v6 support, UPnP and more. The WPS connection might be a bit tricky to connect since there are no lights to guide to through the process. It will leave you guessing all the way to the end whether you managed to connect or not. Maybe they’ll fix the issue one day with a software update.
Let’s start with the 2.4GHz band where most older devices are. The ASUS RT-AC66U managed to reach the impressive 170Mbps download speed at short distance and the average around the 156Mbps mark. As we always say, your mileage might and most likely will vary but nevertheless, that is an impressive result.
On the 5GHz band, the ASUS AC router managed to reach the staggering 312Mbps at short distance and around the 250Mbps mark at longer distances. That should be plenty for most home users gaming and streaming needs. Internet browsing is not even mentioned – rarely households have internet connections faster than 100Mbit per second. That should be plenty for 4K gaming and streaming 4K content to an Android TV Box.
Wired performance is still important these days with the growing popularity of wired NAS devices, smart TV boxes and other devices. The RT-AC66U comes with four gigabit ethernet ports so let’s see how they perform.
The LAN to LAN performance we managed to achieve is around the 845Mbit per second which seems a bit off. Most routers we tested so far have managed to stay above the 900Mbit line but not the ASUS. We tried it with four different devices and the result was all the same – never reaching above 845. The ASRock G10, for example, is a way better performer with almost 100Mbps faster LAN to LAN connection.
WAN to LAN speed is within the acceptable with an average speed of 840Mbps – way faster than most people broadband connections.
USB leaves much to be desired. All we managed to get was 26Mbps – slower than most. We don’t know whether it is due to the USB 2.0 or software shortcomings, but it is way off other routers, like the Netgear R7000, for example.
ASUS RT-AC66U Verdict
The ASUS AC router offers fast performance with lots of features. The design is just like any other router out there, but most people don’t buy wi-fi routers based on design but rather based on wireless performance. The AC66U doesn’t dissapoint in that aspect – it delivers excellend 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz performance and it is on par with the best offerings on the market today. Yes, it lacks USB 3.0 port but as we often see, most router USB ports don’t really perform like proper USB ports anyway, so we’re not losing too much in that department. The wired performance could be better, but it is not terrible in any way, just a bit slower than some other dual band routers. You just have to weigh your priorities at the end and go with the router that best fits your needs. To help you with that we created a best dual band routers list with what we think are the best devices to buy in 2017. Happy reading!
Netgear R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Router Review
Get faster Wi-Fi Connection with the Nighthawk
Are you a gamer? Then nicely, this might be just the router for you! Designed with gaming and streaming mind, this cutting-edge AC router has a max speed of 1900 Mbps, dual core processor, 3 high-power antennas, Beamforming and Dynamic QoS traffic management. It offers excellent performance for the price and it is no wonder that if found a place on our best dual band routers of 2017 list.
While the speed is marked as AC1900 it is highly unlikely for you to achieve anything closer to that with any device older than a year-year and a half. By any means the R7000 is a very fast and capable router, but don’t be fooled by the large numbers claimed by most manufacturers – you experience and “mileage” will vary. By a margin!
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Wireless capabilities
The AC1900 router is a dual band device. That means that it has two separate wireless bands – one on 2.4 GHz and on 5GHz. The 2.4 one has a max speed of 600Mbps and the 5GHz has a whopping 1300 Mbps. Combines it reaches 1900Mbps as mentioned above.
Dynamic QoS (Quality of Service) ensures that important tasks are uninterrupted by other users in the household. For example, if you are deep into the next Halo mission online you can set the router to keep that connection prioritized no matter what everyone else connected to the router is doing. You can keep Skype calls alive, Netflix streaming flawless with this very useful function.
Netgear R7000 Wireless Performance
The router, as promised, delivers excellent WiFi speed and signal even at large houses and buildings. In our tests the router managed to hold its ground versus its rivals – the D-Link EXO DIR-869 and the Asus RT-AC66U. On 2.4 GHz it managed to sustain class-leading 170 Mbps while using 802.11n mode. 10 meters away it dropped to about 140Mbps which is still pretty good for 2.4Ghz N performance.
When switched to AC mode the game changes completely. The router managed to hit the promised 600Mbps with ease on 2.4Ghz. Even further – it managed exactly 612Mbps which is a fantastic result for any 2.4Ghz router, especially in the price point of the Nighthawk.
It is a bit different ball game on 5Ghz. While it is supposed to be the better and faster standard, the R7000 managed to achieve only around 450 Mbps in our close range tests. We tried with different adapters and setting but 450 pretty much tops it in our tests.
Nighthawk AC1900 Wired performance
Let’s start with the USB. The Netgear router has one of the fastest USB ports ever present in a router. OK, maybe not that much but nevertheless speeds are impressive! We managed to get about 31MBps from a USB 3.0 device and about 29MBps from using USB 2.0 hard drive. The results are excellent considering the results from the rest of the competition – mainly the Linksys and ASUS offerings in the price range.
The gigabit LAN performance is not too shabby either. While we fully expect any offering from Netgear to have a fantastic wired performance we were surprised to see the R7000 achieve speeds of over 900Mbps. It got the amazing 949 Mbps which is a tad faster than the 869 of the D-Link DIR869 and the 896 of the Asus RT-AC66U. The WAN to LAN speeds we managed to get were 914Mbps which is still very acceptable.
Netgear R7000 User Interface
We agree that the GUI is not the most user-friendly part of the router – it keeps Netgear’s tradition of a clunky and unoptimized interface. It consist of two separate tabs for basic and advanced setting and it is similar to most Netgear devices on the market today.
The most notable features are the VPN server, QoS settings, parental controls and network settings.
The parental controls are there to allow you to block certain websites from being accessed from within the network. You can block internet access to devices connected to the network and restrict them during certain times.
The QoS ensures traffic priority for chosen apps, tasks or devices on the network so you can do important stuff uninterrupted while other users can still access the internet.
The VPN server is based on OpenVPN and it allows you to connect to your router via an encrypted connection while you are away. You can access local devices and network resources without being visible to prying eyes on the outside. You can also browse the net as if you were at home.
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Specifications
Here are the most notable specs of this Netgear router:
Dual Band Technology
3 High Powered MIMO antennas
1Ghz Dual Core processor with 256Mb RAM
4 Ggiabit LAN ports
2 USB ports – one 3.0 and one 2.0
The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 is a stylish and high performing offering on the market today. An ex-flagship device, the hawk performs admirable, especially considering the price it can be had for today. The dual core Broadcom processor it features is at the hear of the router’s marvelous performance and it can be tweaked even further by the more adventurous of us. There are plently of reports on the net from users reaching over 1.4Ghz with this beast. Rightly so, we placed it on our best dual band routers of 2017 list. The price is very reasonable for the excellent performance. It has fierce competiotion from every notable router manufacturr today but we believe that it more than stands its ground and it is a highly capable router even today.
If you have a budget for a high-end tri-band router I am sure that the Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream is on your radar. It is a fantastic high-end offering from Linksys – it features tri-band AC5400 Wi-Fi, MU-MIMO, Beamforming and everything in between. Yes, it is big and clunky but it totally deserves the footprint for the features it offers.
Linksys Max-Stream Wi-Fi Capabilities
The EA9500 is a tri-band, quad-stream WiFi router with a total Wi-Fi data transfer capacity of up to 5,333 megabits per second. For a three band router, it has two separate 5GHz bands with a connection speed of 2,166.67Mbps and a 2.4GHz band that bests out at 1,000Mbps. Keep in mind that these are theoretical speeds and only achievable with devices that share the same standard. The truth is, in any case, that you won’t achieve those speeds on regular basis at all. Most computers, tablets and phones just got updated to AC WiFi standard and most devices built before 2016 do not even support AC standard.
Multi-User Experience (MU-MIMO)
The EA9500 bolsters Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), which is an innovation intended to effectively deal with Wi-Fi data transmission speeds at homes with devices of various WiFi speed and standards. Every device can connect to the router at its optimised speed without unfavourably influencing the connection of others.
Linksys EA9500 Wireless Performance
You are correct to expect a top-level performance from a top-level offering from Linksys. It has a quad configuration antennas to match the 4×4 capabilities of the router.
In real-world tests, we managed to get about 170 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and roughly around 750Mbps on the 5Ghz band. Real world testing brings the router to about total connection speed of about 1750Mbps which is not bad at all – much better than most of the competition. No wonder we placed it on the best fastest gaming routers list we published recently.
Keep in mind that your mileage may vary – we tested the router with a very high-end WiFi adapter in almost ideal conditions. If you have older tablets or laptops you might not see speeds anywhere near that. We managed great results with some of our Android TV boxes but other just couldn’t cope due to slow wireless or limited LAN options.
Linksys Max-Stream AC5400 Wired (LAN) Performance
The Linksys flagship has the best-in-class number of ethernet ports – a whopping eight Gigabit ones! They are fast ones as well. In our tests, we managed to get close to 921 Mbit per second transfer speeds. That is as fast as you get out of a gigabit wired connection and the Linksys certainly delivers a great deal of transfer speed here.
Graphical User Interface
Ok, we understand if the physical appearance of the EA9500 is not your cup of tea – we get it! It is a bulky, big and black box that doesn’t have the exoskeleton appeal of the D-Link DIR-895L, for example. But on the inside, it is a beautifully designed machine that it is a pleasure to work with.
The homepage is full of widgets allowing you to configure the router and make changes to all the main functions. You can move them around and arrange them in any way that you prefer.
All the connected devices are shown on a connection map allowing you to quickly glance and see what is connected to the network. You can assign different priorities to each connected device or application via the Media Prioritization page. It is a very useful feature if you have an important conference call with your boss and you want that to stay uninterrupted regardless of the heavy gaming activities happening in the kid’s room or the binge Netflix streaming happening in the living room.
You can restrict access to certain websites or devices or block them completely off your network via the parental controls page. It is a great feature for growing teenagers to keep them off bad influences… If you can, of course!
The GUI allows you to easily share any media stored on external USB devices such as flash drives or connected external hard drives. You can do so via FTP or DHCP access. You can even restrict users from accessing certain folders on external media. It is working great when we tested it.
There is an Android and iOS Linksys app allowing you to modify most functions on the router remotely.
Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream Specifications
Here are the most notable specs of this router offering from Linksys:
Tri-band technology for combined speeds of up to 5.3 Gbps.
Offers Seamless Roaming when paired with the Max-Stream AC1900+ MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender.
Remotely monitor and control the network with Linksys Smart Wi-Fi.
Eight Gigabit ports and USB 3.0 for fast wired connections.
EA9500 Review Verdict
The Linksys EA9500 is not for everyone – there is no question about it. It is bulky and very very expensive. It is the Linksys flagship router and a lot of thought and features are crammed into it. It offers the latest AC speeds with great performance and speed optimisations. The GUI looks great and works flawlessly. If you have the budget for it – by any means – but it! You won’t be disappointed. If you are like me and can’t spare that much cash on a single device – check out the best dual band routers that we have reviewed recently and save some hard earned cash!
The D-Link EXO AC1750 Wi-Fi router brings a host of latest tech to sustain a great Wi-Fi connection throughout your home. Gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity as fast as 1750 Mbps (up to 1300 Mbps 5 GHz AC and up to 450 Mbps 2.4 GHz Wireless N) allows you to create a blazing fast home network that connects all your computers, game consoles, 4k video, set top boxes, Smart TVs and cellular gadgets to your broadband internet connection.
Why do you need the D-Link EXO AC1750?
First, it has a dual-band WiFi – two separate 2.4 Gigahertz and 5 Gigahertz WiFi bands. It ensures optimum connection speed for every device connected to the router. The total “speed” is 1750Mbps.
Second, it has an ultra-modern antennas technology that brings wider wireless coverage to your home. Third, Gigabit Ethernet is part of it, which means that there are 4 fast Gigabit ports for faster Internet connectivity.
Third – 4 Gigabit ethernet ports ensure optimum wired connection to compatible devices.
And lastly, the router comes with a dual-core processor for a greater computing power and faster operation.
EXO AC1750 Wi-Fi Capabilities
The D-Link EXO AC1750 router has four antennas that amplify the signal and are able to distribute multiple wireless streams for a reliable connection. You can get a much faster connection with dual-band technology – You can use the 2.4 Gigahertz band for older and slower devices whilst leaving the high-paced 5 GHz AC band free for HD video streaming, online gaming and big file transfers. With fewer gadgets using the fast-paced 5 Gigahertz band, there’s much less interference and congestion, providing you with higher overall performance and zero lag wireless experience.
D-Link DIR869 Wi-Fi Performance
The D-Link EXO AC1750 determines the Quality of Service (QoS) which tracks the sort of connection that is available for media streaming, web browsing, online gaming and decide which one deserves higher priority. Controlling your Internet connection through parental controls, blocking off undesirable sites, tracking activities online and creating Wi-Fi Guest networks is less complicated than ever with the D-Link EXO AC1750’s graphical user interface.
D-Link EXO AC1750 Features
The main feature of the D-Link router is a super fast AC1750 that divides to 450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300mbps on 5GHz. Additionally, you get 4 super-fast Gigabit LAN ports alongside a single WAN gigabit port. All this paired with dual core processors with 1GHz Dual Core CPU and 128Mb RAM for fast processing power and adequate amount of RAM for a lag-free experience.
The D-Link offers excellent coverage and wireless speeds – a superior QoS engine distributes traffic optimally across each wireless band to assure great signal and matching band for each device connected to the network.
Strong security is also present in this router. It offers parental controls to create online access rules and schedules. You can also block or allow precise web sites to be visited and/or devices to be connected.
Negatives Of The EXO AC1750
It has no USB ports. Here, I said it. This could be a major deal breaker for some, especially people who want to connect external drives in order to emulate NAS storage. Another useful feature of routers USB ports is that you can connect 3/4G devices and distribute the internet throughout your house if the broadband suddenly goes down for no particular reason.
The DLink DIR-869 is a capable wireless router delivering great WiFi signal and advanced features for a somewhat reasonable price. The lack of USB ports can be a turn off for some people, but a negligent feature for others. It is a great offering from D-Link and it also deserves a spot on our best dual-band routers list.
Looking for the ultimate gaming and streaming router? Check out the D-Link AC5300 flagship, a router that delivers the ultimate performance. The kind of performance people look for when it comes to the most demanding tasks like 4K video streaming, hardcore gaming, multiple device capabilities and more. What is this router? It is the D-Link AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-895L/R).
Superb Tri-Band Wireless Capabilities
With advancement in technology we come to see more and more Tri-band Wi-Fi tech and, of course, it is present in this router. The “top speed” of the D-Link flagship is 5,332Mbps, equivalent to 1,000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, 2,166 Mbps on the first 5GHz band and 2,166 Mbps on the second 5GHz one. Thanks to 4×4 data streams that can be created through beam forming and MU-MIMO technology the router offers dependable connections and wide coverage. That means that everyone at home can now enjoy 4K streaming and gaming with zero lag on multiple devices.
There are 8 high-performance external antennas with high-power amplifiers providing enhanced Wi-Fi ranges and signal stability anywhere in your home or office. Wi-Fi bands are not always the same but that’s not a problem when you have Smart Connect Technology. The D-Link AC5300 picks and designates from the 3 Wi-Fi bands available and automatically connects each device on your network to the optimum unobstructed signal accessible for the best connection every time you connect. Known as Band Steering usually, it automatically assigns devices to less crowded 5 GHz networks to increase bandwidth efficiency and accessibility. Through Tri-band technology, this router offers the ability to decrease wireless interference and congestion, allowing you to connect more devices with ease and great performance.
D-Link DIR-895L Features
The D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 has a dual-core processor that improves multitasking and computing power. It boosts throughput speeds for all of your devices in use. The router also has Advanced Smart Beam Forming, which means that it enhances the signal coverage by allocating bands to your devices on the go around your home. Basic things you can do with this device are HD Video Streaming, Surfing the Internet, communicating with friends on social media platforms and Online Gaming with the best experience and zero lagging.
The D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 has a new and improved user interface. It enables you to control your network with ease by permitting parental controls, blocking unwanted devices, monitoring internet activity. It has the ability to create Wi-Fi guest networks as well.
Traffic Prioritization is built in the router with an Advanced QoS engine that guarantees optimum performance for apps that require high priority like gaming and movie streaming.
A good feature of this router is what they call Airtime Fairness. It means that the router automatically adjusts data rates to steer clear of network lagging devices that use a slower connection to it.
D-Link DIR-895L Specifications:
Combined tri-band wireless speeds of up to 5.3 Gbps1
MU-MIMO offers high-bandwidth Wi-Fi signal to multiple devices at the same time.
Advanced Wireless AC beamforming dramatically enhances wireless signal strength and throughput
Enhanced SmartConnect feature prevents older devices from affecting optimal performance
Gigabit WAN and LAN ports for high-speed wired connections
Two USB ports to connect storage drives and printers for sharing
Remotely view and manage your network over the Internet
mydlink Lite mobile app allows you to access, manage and view your network remotely
Advanced Quality of Service (QoS)
Band steering efficiently balances the data load between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands
Airtime fairness optimally adjusts the data rate of wireless clients for the best performance
WPA & WPA2 wireless encryption protects the network from intruders
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) securely adds devices to your network at the push of a button
802.11 ac/n/g/b/a Wireless LAN
Four 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN Ports
10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN Port Mode Switch (Router/Extender)
Mode Switch (Router/Extender)
One USB 3.0 Port
One USB 2.0 Port
mydlink SharePort™ web access
Multi-language web setup wizard
Advanced AC SmartBeam
Dual active firewall
Network Address Translation (NAT)
Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
VPN Passthrough (PPTP/L2TP/IPsec)
QuickVPN – L2TP over IPsec
View current upload/download bandwidth
View currently connected clients
View web browsing history per client
Block/unblock client network access
Manage wireless network details
Accessible through a web browser or iOS or Android mobile app
Mobile App Support
QRS Mobile v1.5
WPA & WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) PIN/PBC
Overall this is a top performing router with a high price tag. There are plenty of competitors out there so it is best to check out our best router guide and decide for yourself. You can’t go wrong with the D-Link AC flagship though, especially if it is within your budget.