Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac

Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac

Asus company continues to expand its range of wireless routers, trying to offer the device for any requirement and any budget. On the local market today can be found more than a dozen of this manufacturer routers with support for 802.11ac, which is about a quarter of all its devices.

In this article we look at innovation in this segment – a model RT-AC55U. This device is based on a platform of Qualcomm Atheros, equipped with Gigabit Ethernet ports, wireless controllers with maximum connection speeds of 300 and 867 Mbit / s for the 2.4 and 5 GHz, respectively, and also has two ports USB.

In terms of software, Asus device unified and significant differences between the different models is usually not.

Asus RT-AC55U: Package

The router is delivered in a cardboard box with dust jacket, decorated in traditional dark colors. As usual, it is possible to find the photo device specifications and requirements, the main features, the wiring and positioning in the lineup. .

The package also does not differ from other models: a router, switch mode power supply 12 V, network patch cable, two external antennas, a quick tutorial to get started in several languages  and a CD-ROM with software.

Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac

Note that the warranty period of the device is two years.

On the manufacturer’s website under Support you can find firmware updates, specialized proprietary utilities and electronic versions of the documentation.

Asus RT-AC55U: Outward appearance

The company is experimenting with the design of buildings only in the top-end models, so RT-AC55U «went” a long time friend of precursor body. Its dimensions without antenna is 206 × 148 × 39 mm. Antennas have a length of about 20 cm, but the “working” portion inside plastic housings actually size four times smaller.

Made of black plastic casing. Most of the surface of the mat, on the cover we see a recognizable “diamond” pattern and stripes with rough grinding “under the metal” and a clear gloss only on the narrow ends of the top panel.

Based housing on four rubber feet, and provided wall mount in any orientation. Between the legs at the bottom of the lattice are seen multiple cooling system.

On the front side is the port USB 3.0. A bit controversial option if you plan to use it to connect an external hard drive permanent with this interface.

All other buttons and connectors are assembled behind: two connectors for external antennas, four LAN ports and one port WAN, input power supply with a switch hidden reset button WPS button and port USB 2.0.

Last placed horizontally, so that the large USB-devices may not fit in the designated space. But around the WPS button is enough space. However, it would well be installed on the side or front ends.

Several LEDs located on the edge of the top panel. All of them are blue, and the light is not very bright. Note that the individual indicators for LAN ports in this model.

Once again, we note that this version of the body can be considered a convenient and practical.

Asus RT-AC55U: Hardware Configuration

The model is interesting and its hardware platform. It uses SoC Qualcomm Atheros QCA9557 architecture MIPS 74Kc, operating at a frequency of 720 MHz. The amount of RAM and flash memory is 128 MB.

Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac

The main processor is integrated radio unit with support for 802.11b / g / n 2.4 GHz with a maximum connection speed of 300 Mbit / s. Wireless Access Point 802.11a / n / ac in the 5 GHz band with a maximum connection speed 867 Mbit / s is implemented on a chip Qualcomm Atheros QCA9882 interface PCIe.

For work Gigabit wired ports switch responds QCA8337N. USB 2.0 controller is installed in the main processor and USB 3.0 add-known chip Etron Tech EJ168A bus PCIe.

Even at a relatively low weight models, it was clear that the big radiator it is not used. The housing has gone in a thin aluminum plate, combined with chips through thick teploprovodyashie pads. On the processor chips and the network switch may see small personal radiators. The remaining chips closed conventional metal screens. The same can boast USB 3.0 port and its chain. In any case, no problems associated with overheating during the test period were recorded.

Testing was carried out with the router firmware version

Asus RT-AC55U: Setting and opportunities

As we said earlier, the manufacturer, as well as some other uses for their router firmware unified AsusWRT, so that the web interface and functionality they are different enough. You can talk about that if you change one model to another Asus, do not even notice the difference in the interface.

The Web interface is made in dark colors, has a dedicated link to go to the wireless network settings and update firmware, there is a special button to restart, turn off USB-devices and other sought-after operations.

Provides translation into several languages, and built-in help system and assistant for quick setup. It is possible to access the settings via the Internet, support for HTTPS and changing port numbers.

On a special page “Network Map” presents the current state of the network, including customers, USB-device connection to the Internet. Relatively recently appeared here and graphics CPU and RAM, which can be useful in analyzing performance.

Internet connection supports IPoE, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP. It is possible to work through a USB-modems and dual-mode WAN. In the case of a provider of dynamic addresses handy built-in DDNS client with multiple services, including its own service Asus. The router supports the maintenance of some protocols (such as SIP and implementing VPN) through NAT. Support IPTV is to support IGMP, udpxy and highlight one or two physical ports for consoles.

To access from the Internet to the internal network services have DMZ, UPnP and a table to manually adjust the translation rules ports. Like other models, it is possible to add your entries in the routing table.

There is a flash and the implementation of IPv6 in several modes. However, the spread of this protocol today stalled somewhat, but probably it will be in demand in the future.

Traffic management system supports the creation of rules for applications based on port number and the appointment of their priorities and speeds. However, despite the rather powerful platform, enable this feature significantly reduces the overall performance of the router. So, most likely, it will use only the pages with graphs of network traffic on interfaces.

The user can change its own internal address of the router in the segment of LAN, configure the server option DHCP, including the issuance and assign a static IP clients required MAC-address.

Wireless access point devices operate independently and have similar settings for the two bands.The basic set of options includes the name of the network, the standard number, and the channel width (5 GHz are supported only channels 36-48) and the protect mode. In addition, there is a filter MAC-addresses to restrict access, configure WPS, Bridge Mode (WDS), setting the timetable and some other parameters. Note that the output power control in this model, which can be related to the chipset used.

Besides the two major wireless networks can be arranged three more guest in each range. For them you can choose the variant of protection (or leave the network open), allow access to network devices, use a filter MAC-address of the network to limit the time of operation.

Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac

The firewall has a filter URL-addresses, keywords and customizable rules blocking services. The “Parental Control” allows you to restrict access to the Internet to customers weekly schedule, up to an hour.

Many modern models of the manufacturer in the firmware can be found a set of client and server VPN, helps to organize secure remote access and network integration. In this device, the server has support for PPTP and OpenVPN, and the client can work with PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN.

In the “Administration” presents the usual functions to change the administrator password, setting the time, firmware upgrade, configuration management. There is also a convenient opportunity to override the action of the WPS button on the wireless LAN off. Preserved familiar from other devices Asus optional console access router protocol telnet. Also in this section is a switch mode devices: router, access point, wireless client.

In addition to the standard Asus routers event log has a separate page with wireless clients, a list issued by DHCP addresses, routing table, configured through UPnP port translation rules and connections. Note that in addition to the storage router, the magazine can be sent to the server Syslog.

If necessary for the diagnosis of the network, you can use built-in tools ping, traceroute, nslookup, and netstat. In some cases, the useful ability to “wake up” customers WOL directly from the interface of the router.

The router is equipped with two ports USB – one 2.0 and one 3.0. Both ports can be used with a USB-hubs to increase the number of simultaneously operating devices.

On drives supported file systems FAT32, NTFS, EXT2 / 3/4 and HFS +. For NTFS in the router using a driver Tuxera. Access to data is performed using SMB and FTP. You can program the user accounts and give them individual access rights to folders in the volumes. The FTP server does not have any settings, except for the choice of code page. At the same time, you can work with them and through the Internet. To set up remote access to files on disks provided assistant AiDisk.

Additional drives can be used for the organization of a media server and DLNA server iTunes. In the first case, you can select specific folders to index. It supports files of popular formats, including jpeg, mp3, m4a, flac, wav, wma, avi, mpeg, mp4, mkv, mov, wmv.

Provides for the implementation of service of the autonomous loading files Download Master. To do this, the user must select a partition disks attached to install the proprietary package management system and related programs. Service supports the protocols HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, NZB and ed2k.For BitTorrent client provided port selection, speed limits and the number of connections. With the default settings on the popular download speed problems can be several megabytes per second.

Support cellular modems for networks 3G / 4G allows for a router backup link or use it without a wired connection.

USB ports can be used to connect printers and MFPs. There are two variants of this scenario work: just print on standard network protocols LPR of compatible operating systems, or full use of technology through the virtual USB port using a special client for Windows.

The firmware is implemented AiCloud 2.0 – a set of services for remote access from a browser and proprietary utilities for mobile devices, as well as synchronization.

Asus RT-AC55U: Performance

Connection to the “Home Beeline” an L2TP passed without problems. The speed of the used corresponded to the tariff plan. Customer p2p, running on a computer, download files at maximum speed of more than 10 MB / s. This configuration worked with translations and IPTV multicast mode, including on Wi-Fi, but for stable image quality and comfortable use of other services, it is desirable to limit the speed of the client p2p.

This model is interesting router using the platform Qualcomm Atheros, which is rare in our tests.Especially interesting to see high-speed characteristics of the device in our standard booth.

The first chart shows the results of performance testing of the router in routing problems when connecting different protocols.

Modes IPoE and PPPoE for a long time is not particularly difficult for this segment of devices. The speed in which almost reaches the hardware capabilities of Gigabit ports. However, this unit is in single-threaded mode shows a slightly worse results than most competitors. In addition, the full-duplex mode as implemented is not very effective.

But when using PPTP and L2TP we see one of the highest numbers that users might like the new tariff plans with connection speeds of more than 100 Mbit / s.

No comments and to implement simultaneous double access to the network provider and the Internet, which can be seen on the second chart.

The second group of tests will allow us to estimate the speed of the server VPN. We tested three options: PPTP encryption and without, and OpenVPN. Use server wide settings by default. Selecting PPTP encryption implemented on the client side. The graph are averaged over the three scenarios (reception, transmission and full-duplex, with eight threads in each case) figures.

When working without encryption can count more than 100 Mbit / s connection to any version of the provider on the server side. Using MPPE128 reduce these figures up to 50-70 Mbit / s. For many tasks, remote access these rates will be more than enough. The most difficult one is traditionally OpenVPN. Here, we get a maximum of 20 Mbit / s. Recall that the top models of Asus in the last test showed about twice better results.

In testing the speed of the external drive used SSD, which are connected via adapters SATA-USB 2.0 and 3.0. Drive pre-formatted file systems FAT32, NTFS and EXT3. Verify the speed of reading and writing of large files over SMB and FTP.

Reading speed is limited in this case the interface and not more than 25 MB / s. Recording much slower – only 7-12 MB / s. It is difficult to say with certainty what is the reason, but other devices normally show better results.

Let’s see if any effect on the work with USB 3.0. It is worth recalling that in the options of the wireless controller at 2.4GHz has the option that disables the version with USB 3.0 protocol to reduce the impact on wireless network (enabled by default). For this test, we, of course, turned off.

Strange, but the speed of the external drive has not changed. For control, we tried another drive USB 3.0, and it showed a similar rate. Recall that for USB 3.0 before we see figures on the level of 50-70 MB / s. Perhaps here is the firmware, since checking the console showed that the drive did work in the mode interface version 3.0.

Regarding the impact on wireless network 2.4GHz, then this adapter we did not notice. Speed reading and writing to the disk via Wi-Fi on and off with the option did not differ.

Testing speed wireless communication performed with adapter Asus PCE-AC68 (PCIe, 802.11b / g / n of 2.4 GHz to 600 Mbit / s, 802.11a / n / ac 5 GHz to 1300 Mbit / s). Tests were carried out in one / two flow streams and eight. We tested three versions of the mutual arrangement of the router and client: four meters line of sight, four meters through a wall eight meters through two walls. The latter point has been tested only on the 5 GHz band as 2.4 GHz client saw there several dozen wireless networks that do not allow us to estimate directly test the router.

The devices are tuned to maximum performance mode with WPA2-PSK, and channels 40 and 80 MHz in the 2.4 and 5 GHz, respectively. Note that most modern mobile devices in the 2.4 GHz band can use only one channel, so that actual performance with them will be approximately two times lower.

Given the connection speed of 300 Mbit / s in the 2.4 GHz band, the results displayed can be considered quite worthy. Although, of course, today’s urban environment is very difficult to predict the performance in this range because of the numerous neighboring networks.

In this situation, the transition to 5 GHz is more than justified. Even in the farthest points of the proven we get 200-300 Mbit / s in single-threaded mode. On 802.11n clients results will be modest, but they will be able, in particular, view high-resolution video. In general, with the speed controller 802.11ac 867 Mbit / s a router showing good results. We can say that the chipset Qualcomm Atheros is not inferior to the market more popular Broadcom.

Asus RT-AC55U: Conclusion

The company Asus is trying to be a leader in each segment and is able to offer users a solution to any requirement. On formal specifications discussed in the article router RT-AC55U tested very similar to a year ago RT-AC56U , however, it is based on a platform of Qualcomm Atheros, instead of Broadcom. Such a change is likely caused by a desire to reduce the cost of the product, but to compare this parameter model, published at different times is difficult. In addition, the new product in the domestic market is not presented.

What is nice, the use of the new platform has not affected the quality of embedded software. The product has more features, many of which are associated with the presence of the router ports USB.

In terms of performance in routing scenarios to the device do not have any comments. Of particular note during high speed connections PPTP and L2TP, which can be claimed with some local providers. Also pleased with the speed of wireless access points. Today, the use of the 5 GHz band, and especially 802.11ac is practically the only way to get high-performance wireless communications in urban environments.

Several surprising results of testing of network access to the hard drive: the recording speed is relatively low, and the use of the USB 3.0 interface provides very little effect. Let us hope that this defect is not related to the hardware and will be fixed in firmware update.

Note also that a router is a practical and convenient housing with the possibility of wall mounting.


Review Wireless router Asus RT-AC55U with supporting 802.11ac updated: May 5, 2015 author: John Malkovich