Considered "one of the friendliest routers to administer," the Asus RT-N56U is more widely reviewed in Europe than in the U.S. In general, it receives mixed ratings for performance but high scores for style and features. Reviewers recommend the RT-N56U as an alternative to routers from larger manufacturers.
Well-designed interface. Both professional and user reviewers praise the RT-N56U's ease of setup and use, which Dong Ngo of CNET calls foolproof; another reviewer describes the interface as "clearly laid out." While Ngo says the entire configuration took less than three minutes to set up, Kate Bevan of The Guardian had difficulty configuring the RT-N56U for more advanced settings. She warns that inexperienced users can get into trouble if they attempt to move beyond the basic features. Along the same lines, Ngo says the web interface takes a long time to apply changes.
One of the best wireless routers. Ngo says the RT-N56U is "arguably one of the best true dual-band routers on the market," and Jonathan Bray of PC Pro U.K. calls it "a diamond in the rough" that's comparable in performance to all but the most expensive routers. While PC Advisor finds the unit's speed to be average, Tim Higgins of SmallNetBuilder.com, a highly technical review site, says the RT-N56U has "more speed than anyone can use." He recommends it as a worthy alternative to the more popular Cisco, Netgear and D-Link routers after the Asus unit outperformed the Cisco Linksys E4200 (Est. $190) and the Netgear WNDR3700 (Est. $85) in the 5 GHz band and was comparable in the 2.4 GHz band. A few users, however, say their routers stopped working suddenly after a few months of use. The RT-N56U doesn't support 450 Mbps data transfer, and some experts complain that its long-range performance isn't as good as expected.
More USB 2.0 ports than competitors. The Asus RT-N56U simultaneous dual-band router operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and, like most premium routers, has 4 Gigabit LAN ports and one WAN port. The Asus RT-N56U's two USB 2.0 ports, rather than one, set it apart. They allow the user to connect a printer and a storage device to the router at the same time. At two-thirds the size of the Cisco Linksys E4200, the RT-N56U is one of the smallest wireless routers available. Most reviewers give it at least 4 out of 5 stars for design and features, as do 70 percent of the more than 350 users posting at Newegg.com
Review Credibility: Excellent Calling the Asus RT-N56U "arguably one of the best true-band 300 Mbps routers on the market," Dong Ngo awards it 4 out of 5 stars and an excellent rating. He praises the unit for ease of setup and use, and he is pleased with its throughput performance and built-in storage feature.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router, Dong Ngo, March 30, 2011
2. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good The Asus RT-N56U receives 4 out of 5 stars from Tim Higgins, and he says it has "more speed than anyone can use." Its two USB ports are rarely found in routers this small, and Higgins recommends it as a worthy alternative to Cisco, Netgear and D-Link routers.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Black Diamond Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Reviewed, Tim Higgins, March 4, 2011
3. PC Pro (U.K.)
Review Credibility: Good The Asus RT-N56U is a "diamond in the rough," according to Jonathan Bray, who says its combination of style, power and features make it the equal of all but the most expensive routers. Bray particularly likes its ease of use, including the onboard web pages with pictograms that novice users can follow.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Review, Jonathan Bray, Dec. 9, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Neil Mohr says Asus has spared nothing in the technical and aesthetic design of its RT-N56U wireless router. He finds its performance in the 5 GHz band impressive, but he says its long-range capability isn't as good as expected.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Dual-band Wireless-N Router Review, Neil Mohr, Jan. 28, 2011
5. PC Advisor (UK)
Review Credibility: Good Orestis Bastounis highlights the design and applications of the dual-band Asus RT-N56U, and he calls its wireless performance "middle of the road" compared to other wireless routers tested. However, its build quality and features each receive 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Black Diamond Review, Orestis Bastounis, Sept. 20, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Of the 500-plus users posting comments on the Asus RT-N56U, more than 60 percent give it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. The router's design and ease of use earn rave reviews, although a few owners had difficulty setting it up. Others complain that the unit died after a few months of use.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Wireless Router Dual-band N600 Multimedia Ultra Slim Gigabit 802.11a/b/g/n, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of Nov. 2012
7. The Guardian (U.K.)
Review Credibility: Fair Although she praises the Asus RT-N56U's user-friendly web interface for basic setup and maintenance, Kate Bevan says she had difficulty configuring it for more advanced settings. She warns that there are lots of places where inexperienced users can get into trouble if they move beyond the basic features.
Review: Asus RT-N56U Router -- Review, Kate Bevan, May 3, 2011