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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: Asus RT-N65U Router

The Asus RT-N65U Router is the successor to the RT-N56U in the form of ultra-slim routers. Looking for a successor to my old router, which tended to drop its connection once every few days for a small period of time (this prevents me from playing any online game due to the very possibility of being kicked due to a disconnect), I turned towards the ASUS routers for its high reviews and ability to share files.

I found both the N56U and N65U at Fry's. One Fry's store didn't have the N65U in their store, claiming that it was a 'discontinued' model. After looking at both models, I've determined that the RT-N65 would be a better choice for $20 more, due to the fact that it not only offers 450Mbps speed but provides two USB 3.0 ports for remote storage, which more than doubles the transfer speed to newer external hard drives. There were very few reviews on Newegg regarding this product but that's to be expected since it's quite new.

Router from the front side

Notable Features: Able to plug in hard drives and access them either via network or over the internet. Abiilty to create print and media servers. Can create a guest network (very useful if a friend with a laptop wants to connct to your router but don't want them accessing whatever you had lying around in your Shared Docs folder). You can safely plug in 2TB hard drives into the router for sharing - it's possible to connect drives with capacities higher than this, but there's no support if something goes wrong. Increased wireless speed (on a speed test I've found that my wirelessly connected laptop has a faster download speed than my wired gigabit connection.)

Drawbacks: With extra speed comes extra heat. In short, it runs extremely hot. So hot that it tends to overheat within a day of use, causing the router to shut down entirely* (and thus disrupting internet, local file sharing, and remote laptop operation via Mouse Without Borders.) It will power back on after a while, but it clears the logfile (meaning there's no way to figure out what caused the outage) and resets the router's internal clock. Also, any drives connected to the router will no longer be recognized, so you'll have to disconnect and plug them back in.

I bought the router a week ago and have yet to see it go through two entire days of continuous uptime.

Final Words: It's fast, it's easy to set up, but it's certainly not stable. I really like the ability to share files and faster wireless speeds, but the fact that it overheats very quickly means that I simply cannot rely on this router for a constant internet connection. Time to switch to the RT-N66U router.


Amy said...

Thank you for your review! I wish I had seen it a few days earlier so I could have bought something else! I have only had this router hooked up for a week, but I can confirm the overheating problem. I have it mounted in such a way that it's not touching any surfaces, in an air conditioned room. It shuts down about once a day, and even after turning it off for a few minutes, I have trouble reconnecting all the devices to it. It's sad because I really liked the dual usb 3.0 ports and the dual processors. I would have gladly traded some of its sleekness for an internal fan.

Jim said...

Thanks for your reviews. Can the stand be detached, and the router laid down? If so, I would probably put it on a cooling mat (e.g., for a netbook) with a USB fan. Please let me know if it lays down, as I am going to buy it and try it if it does. If not, I'll get the RT-N66U instead.

Brendan Chan said...

The router originally comes with the stand detached, so yes.

Cygnum said...

Try it out with this firmware, worked a lot waaaaaaay better for me.

Difference is night and day.

Anonymous said...

Most likely the problem is USB3.0 delivering over 1.0 Amps to the hard drive.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience using a USB3.0 drive plugged first into a powered USB hub? That seems like a better way, but does the router still overheat?

Anonymous said...

Based on review comments and the response from ASUS the router does not support USB hubs.

geothunder - to lazy to find my password.

helasz said...

I found on the ASUS site the whole factory firmware (apparently a Tomato flavour) as opensource. So some aspects of the firmwware (among them USB hub support) could be eventually addressed, but not the overheating issue directly.

Does anyone have experience regarding overheating in case of an USB3 SSD or even usb3 pendrive (I know this means performance loss) attached?

Reempj├╗h said...

Hey all, first, sorry for the poor english...

I've got the router now for about 3 months, i've got a 3tb hdd connected with USB3.0 (hdd supports it also)
read/write speed is nice, very nice.
the hdd is powered bij an adapter, not via USB.

I like the router very much, especially the 5 ghz connetion, works great for streaming :)

There is one big, or should i say, huge issue...

when the hdd drive is running the wifi signal (both 2,4 and 5 ghz are incredibly unstable, my phone (experia arc-s) doesn't even connect anymore, both ipads (gen3) are stalling in download from (example) youtube. (one ipad on 2,4 and one ipad at 5 ghz connected).

also my tv has troubles connecting over wifi when te hdd is connected.

it can't be a power issue because the hdd is powered externally...

very dissapointing becouse the AiCloud function is very cool.

+ very nice looking
+ nice fast router
+ afordable dual band gigabit router

-wifi drop when HDD is connected over USB 3.0

hope this helps a little...

Anonymous said...

I've read somewhere, you can fix this when you get a shielded USB cable for your HDD, or place if further from the router. There is some trouble with USB3 and Wi-Fi 5GHz frequency - interference. Hope ot helps. I'm gonna buy it too ;o)))

John Giallanza said...

This was an incredibly resourceful review and it contains many excellent comments as well. I look forward to getting my N66U shortly, I was opting for a N65U but it appears to have some minor issues...

Anonymous said...

This is REALLY late for the train, and it concerns the preceding ASUS model, the RT-N56U (note the tricky inversion of "56" to "65" for the next step up).

We have used this router for about a year and a half. When it works, it is fairly stable. But it is a bear to get set up and to play nice with a NAS, three laptops, attached printers, and so on. All things it claims to be able to do.

It is discouraging but unfortunately not too surprising to see the commenters who relate time-consuming and frustrating problems. Maybe a few of the routers themselves are haywire -- but one would think a trip back to the supplier and a second try would resolve that.

My opinion: this is a very shaky product. We just acquired an Apple Time Capsule, which does away with the ASUS completely, takes on its function as a router, both wireless and wired, and lets us use the NAS as an archive/further backup while having all the functionality of attached printing and internet access.

And as Apple never tires of saying it all just worked out of the box: about 10 minutes' worth of set up and nothing more.

It is so tiresome to write this, and so sad that ASUS can't seem to put forth a solid product. From the posts, the next model (65, after 56) may be a step down. Terrible!

Stefan berglund said...

Reempjuh is my hero!
I have been fighting with my 65U and Asus support for almost a year. Now I read that it's the USB disk causing the instabilitet and it was true!
Without the disk I get full speed in both 2.4 and 5GHz mode.

Thank you!!!!