Saturday, July 26, 2014

Asus 6 Series Wireless Routers - FINALLY an AP with Decent Strength / Coverage for Home / SMB


Sorry for being a slack-ass.

Rather than have a fluffy write-up of the unit, I've now actually got one in my hot little hands (my old-trusty Netgear WNDR3700 decided to pack it in after four years).

Although the reviews on SmallNetBuilder are good and I love the work they do, their theory could go a little way further.

I'm currently working on a wireless article that brings together the theory of wireless plus how this applies in the real world, and all the factors that you should bring into the equation when talking wireless (and uplinks as well!).

In the mean time, don't bother buying anything else except an Asus RT-N66U or one of it's 802.11ac variants.


In the enterprise environment it's pretty much taken for granted that wireless AP's will throw wireless signal a decent distance (generally about 15M in a spherical pattern with the AP in the middle) and handle up to about 20 clients when using factory internal antennas.

In the situation where I need to throw signal further than that of a factory internal antenna, I employ an AP with external antenna connectors and then model the RF coverage based on an appropriate external antenna to ensure the required coverage is delivered.

Home AP's (generally sold as wireless routers) always seem to have the same if not better wireless throughput and routing performance than enterprise APs (at short range) but always skimp out on the antennas and internal amplifiers resulting in piss poor coverage and in-turn poor throughput within the home (unless you're generally within 10m of the AP).

Thankfully, that has now changed.

The following models of Asus Wireless Routers have the same if not better processors and 2.4/5GHz radios than their enterprise counterparts and also pack 2.4GHz and 5GHz amplifiers and use external antennas (reportedly 5dBi gain).

RT-N66U (802.11n Simultaneous Dual-Band)
RT-AC66U (802.11AC 1750)
RT-AC68U (802.11AC 1900)

The signal transmit power is significantly better and receive sensitivity also much better than a standard SOHO AP.

In the real world, this means that high throughput applications such as playing a video file off another device on the same WLAN will have much better performance within the same environment when compared to a standard SOHO AP.

As a quick overview, the specs of these AP's is as follows:

The System On a Chip (SoC) processors used in these APs provide fantastic routing performance between interfaces within the device (i.e. Gigabit LAN and 2.4GHz / 5GHz radios)  and the Broadcom chips used for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios are generally regarded as some of the best in the industry.

RF Coverage Pattern (Antenna Modelling):

Example of coverage and throughput provided in a house:

In the event that you require more coverage than what is provided by the included external antennas, using the Asus 6 series you have the option of purchasing additional external antennas to throw the signal even further.

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