|At a glance|
|Product||ASUS RT-N56U Black Diamond Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router [Website]|
|Summary||Simultaneous dual-band Ralink-based 802.11n Gigabit port router with HTTP / FTP / BitTorrent download and USB drive sharing|
|Pros||• Ridiculously high routing throughput|
• 2 USB 2.0 ports for sharing storage and printer
• WDS bridging and repeating
|Cons||• A few odd selections for wireless defaults|
• No guest WLAN / multiple SSID
Typical Price: $93 Compare Prices Check Amazon
The RT-N56U is ASUS' new top-of-line wireless router. It is simultaneous dual-band 802.11n with four-port Gigabit switch and two USB 2.0 ports that support storage and printer sharing. It gets its "Black Diamond" nickname from the faceted diamond pattern on its front surface.
The router's packaging may not be to everyone's taste. It's designed to stand upright on the included stand as shown in the product shot above. But in real life all its connecting cables protrude unattractively from the right side.
The front panel holds USB, WAN and wireless indicators for the two radios. You'll have to look at the lights embedded in each of the Gigabit WAN and switched LAN ports for link status and activity.
ASUS RT-N56U ports and lights
Unlike ASUS' previous top-of-line single-band RT-N16U, which uses a Broadcom-based design, ASUS tapped Ralink to power the RT-N56U. Figure 1 shows all the components encased in an RF shield.
Figure 1: ASUS RT-N56U board
Figure 2 reveals some component details. A 500 MHz Ralink RT3662F SoC serves double duty as the main CPU and 5 GHz radio, while the Ralink RT3092 to its left provides the 2.4 GHz radio. A Realtek RTL8367 provides the four-port Gigabit switch and the single Gigabit WAN port. 128 MB of RAM and 8 MB of flash complete the design.
Note that while ASUS doesn't spec it, my tests revealed that the Gigabit switch passed 4K jumbo frames just fine. And the RTL8367 spec sheet confirms that it "supports 9216-byte jumbo packet length forwarding at wire speed".
Figure 2: ASUS RT-N56U board
This photo provides a closer view of some of the key components. Note that both radios feed a single set of three printed-circuit dual-band antennas. ASUS told me the 2.4 GHz radio uses two antennas (2T2R) and the 5 GHz radio uses three (2T3R) for a bit more receive gain.
Aside from having two radios to configure, the RT-N56U's feature set is essentially the same as ASUS' previous top-of-line single-band RT-N16U. So you can check that review for a detailed feature walkthrough and a peek at the web-based admin GUI. Figure 3 shows the main "Network Map" screen, with a USB drive attached. For those of you who care, there is no IPv6 support.
Figure 3: ASUS RT-N56U network map
A key difference from the RT-N16 is that the USB sharing feature supports SMB file sharing as well as FTP. So shares will show up via network browsing with any device that supports SMB. There's also a built-in UPnP AV / DLNA media server. But there are no controls exposed for the server except for an enable / disable. Note also that if you're planning to use the HTTP, FTP, and BT "Download Master" feature, it's a Windows program, not built into the router.
I ran into a few oddities on the Wireless side. The router properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode for the 2.4 GHz radio, with the 5 GHz radio defaulting to Auto 20/40 mode. But by default, both radios have the same ASUS SSID, making it impossible to force a dual-band client to a particular band.
The other questionable default is that Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is off. Enabling it was confusing because it appears that there is only one WPS setting for both radios. But when you bounce back and forth between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz screens if looks like you can enable WPS on both bands.
Enabling WPS appears to change the 5 GHz band SSID to be different from the 2.4 GHz radio's, so at least you can now select a band to connect to. I was able to successfully complete a WPS PIN session with my Win 7 client, which resulted in a WPA2 / AES secured connection.
The Professional tab of the Wireless settings shown in Figure 4 contains enable schedules for each radio as well as AP isolation (client separation) and the ability to flip numerous wireless function switches that are probably best left alone.
Figure 4: ASUS RT-N56U Wireless Professional Settings
You won't find any Guest WLAN or multi-SSID features, however, which puts the RT-N56U at a disadvantage to other top-end simultaneous dual-band routers like the Cisco Linksys E4200 and NETGEAR WNDR3700.
User reviewsView all user reviews
Average user rating from: 33 user(s)
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Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.
|User Rating [Back to Top]||Overall:||3.7||Features :||3.4||Performance :||4.1||Reliability :||3.5|
March 08, 2013
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The more wireless devices you connect, the hotter this thing gets until you start getting disconnections. My only workaround has been to disable the 5GHz band. With only one band running, the disconnects don't happen. Otherwise, this would be a stellar unit. I am waiting until the price of the RT-N66U comes down to upgrade to that. I haven't heard about that having the same problems.
Signal,Bandwidth,Signal dropping and no Guest network
February 13, 2013
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I bought this router to serve my purpose but it did not. As soon as i bough this Flagship router costing around 8K for a router which seems to be real expensive without much features built in it.
1. 5GHZ signal radio does not work when we cross just 1 wall which is about 20mts.
2. Firmware seems to be unstable always (In Download master link is been uploaded but doesn't show the status but says that it already exists.
3.No Guest Network available on the Flagship model.
4. No AI cloud, but only available on (RT-N60, RT-N65U, RT-N66U and RT-AC66U)
5. File Transfer rate seems to be slow.in local network.....
1. Customer service reacts and tries to provide a firmware to fix the issues.
2. Asus Products have never failed in build quality and performance.
3. Beautiful design but needs tweaks to improve the routers.
4. Download master is an amazing stuff on a router for people who often downloads.
5. Setup is very quick.
Finally i have decided to upgrade the router with and Asus RT-AC66U, to get all the benefits and to see the best performance coming out of this monster which is recommended from Asus.
You will find my experience on this router RT-AC66U very soon.....
Great little router
January 04, 2013
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I've had Zero problems with this router. I did cheat a little and used the alternate firmware located at this web site. http://code.google.com/p/rt-n56u/
December 29, 2012
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I've been running this router since march and it have never dropped a connection.
Only problem I've had with it is that it's impossible to access the web config when throughput is over ~250mbit/s.
And that the config page constantly refresh itself.
The downside with this is the lack of settings, firewall rules/port forwarding and so on.
Poor Config - Constant dropped signal
December 01, 2012
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Can't stand this piece of crap - won't hold a signal properly - constantly drops connection when attempting to copy files across network. Much slower than expected - max 1.5 Mbs when it works for 5gz but the signal strength is so low that it can't be used outside the same room as the router 2.4gz is ok, but not much better then my old 11g dlink
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