Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Asus RT-N12B1 router review, initial impression

I was looking to replace my home router for a while now. I was still using Netgear MR-814 which is a 802.11b router and was getting slow. I was looking for a router capable of running DD-WRT or any other open firmware in case original firmware proves to be inadequate.

After some research I picked Asus RT-N12B1. This router is priced reasonably (around $40), capable of running OSS firmware and supports 802.11N single band. It comes with dual 5db antennas and provides good coverage for our house. Asus backs this router with 2 year warranty which should be sufficient since electronics in my experience ether fail shortly or run for a long time. This router equipped with 8MB flash and 32 MB ram and uses Broadcom BCM5357B0 chipset. It looks nice in white and has cool blue LEDs.

I did not update or change stock firmware and performance and stability so far are pretty good. The router came with firmware which is not available as download from the Asus site. I have not encountered any problems configuring it or connecting devices to it. After connecting router to my cable modem and rebooting the modem, my connection came up and tested at over 50Mb/s. My old router was able to only achieve about 19Mb/s (which was plenty for my purposes). The weak point of models sold many years ago was stability under BitTorrent download. This router does not have any issues and I downloaded different Ubuntu iso files just to test it. Port forwarding, which I use for VPN connection, is also works without a hitch. I probably need to note that the router runs without encryption and with open authentication so the described performance may change if encryption is turned on. I have no plans to do this however.

My goal was to run 2 Roku boxes at the same time, which was not possible with the old router. This seems to be possible with the new Asus router and it performs well. I have no video drops or buffering with both Roku devices playing at the same time.
Firmware on Asus site is updated regularly and was updated as recently as Dec 2012. Hopefully the Asus keeps up the good work and there is always DD-WRT for backup.
I wanted to mention that there is no temperature problems. The unit is cool to the touch from the top and the bottom. There is slight warm spot right above the main chip but only few degrees warmer than any other place. It is cooler than my cable modem or even my Pogoplug. I do not anticipate any issues in this area.
My first impression is favorable and I would recommend this router if one needs a simple N router without fancy options.

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