ASUS RT-N56U wireless router
ASUS RT-N56U review: One of the best looking dual-band wireless routers you will ever see
- Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB storage ports, printer sharing, good wireless speed
- Web interface a little slow and takes time to get used to, power adapter is flimsy
The ASUS RT-N56U takes router styling to a whole new level. It's slim and (we think) good looking; most importantly, it has plenty of features and performs very well. Its simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi worked well in our tests and produced fast speeds, especially from close range. We do wish the router's Web interface was faster and a little better laid out, but you quickly get used to it.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
ASUS RT-N56U: Access your files remotely
In addition to having a dual-band wireless access point, the ASUS RT-N56U runs a Gigabit Ethernet switch that makes wired file transfers very quick, and it also has a UPnP server and two USB 2.0 ports. You can plug in external hard drives filled with movies or music and access them through your PS3 or another streaming device. You can also use one of the USB ports to share a printer over the network.
When you plug in a hard drive, you can access it from any computer on your network by simply browsing your network for shared folders. You can also enable FTP so that you can access files from your external hard drives over the Internet; you can set up a dynamic DNS (DDNS) service through the mini-wizard (called AiDisk Wizard) when you enable FTP access. It's not very intuitive though, and you're better off entering dynamic DNS settings manually and then going through the AiDisk setting to enable the FTP service. You can control access to connected disks by adding users and modifying their rights. Annoyingly, the default for every folder when you add new users is 'read and write' permission, rather than 'read only' permission.
You can access your connected hard drives remotely via FTP if you've set up a dynamic DNS connection.
ASUS RT-N56U: Web interface and security settings
The Web interface of the RT-N56U aims to be as pretty as the router itself. It's a lot more graphical than a typical Web interface and has a network map (showing you all the devices that are attached) as well as plenty of icons; it takes a while to get used to this layout. It wasn't as reliable as we hoped; often when we changed a setting we had to reload the page and change the setting again before it would take effect. This was particularly the case when changing the access rights of attached hard drives. Most changes make the router restart, and this takes an annoying minute to complete.
Security is handled by a built-in firewall and there is also a facility for keyword URL filtering. When a flagged keyword appears in a URL, the site will be blocked but the user won't get a conspicuous message telling them this (unlike the Netgear DGN1000, for example, which shows a nice big warning); instead the Web browser will just report a connection error. You can still access pages that contain flagged keywords in their body but not in their URL, so it's not a complete solution for parents who want to block their kids from searching for information about certain topics.
The Web interface on the ASUS RT-N56U is a lot more graphical than competing routers and takes some getting used to.
A unique design ensures that the ASUS RT-N56U will at least be a talking point when people come over and ask you what on Earth that funny-looking contraption is doing on your desk. In addition to being a far-from-boring router, the RT-N56U is also quite a fast and well-featured one. We're impressed with its 2.4GHz speed, and love the fact that it can run 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously. We also love its Gigabit Ethernet switch and its USB 2.0 ports for sharing storage devices and printers.
Overall, it's a very good little router that should serve enthusiasts well. We just wish it had a quicker and better designed Web interface. We also found its wall wart (which requires you to slide the prongs into the adapter) to be a little too flimsy and it could lose power if we moved it accidentally.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Netgear expands its Orbi Wi-Fi system into a product family, adding two less-expensive models
- Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router goes all the way to 11
- New Skype Preview lets Windows 10 Insiders manage phone texts on PCs
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCState-wide Business Transition LeadQLD
- FTProject Manager - Accountin Finance and AssetWA
- FTWEB DesignerQLD
- TPProgram Governance Lead (PMO)VIC
- FTData Analyst/ Reporting AnalystQLD
- FTlevel 2/3 SupportVIC
- TPNetwork and Systems AdministratorNSW
- FTWeb Developer - 2 PositionsQLD
- FT.NET Web DeveloperSA
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTQlikview Developer | Contract 6-12mthVIC
- FTDemand Release ManagerNSW
- FTDealing Room Support Analyst - IPC voiceNSW
- CCScada Project ManagerWA
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- FTSystems EngineerVIC
- FTIT Systems EngineerTAS
- FTNetwork EngineerQLD
- CCNetwork Security Engineer - Finance - Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTDeputy Chief Engineer - Defence Systems - IT Services - Nowra BasedNSW
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior DeveloperNSW