ASUS DSL-AC56U Gigabit WiFi Router Reviewed


Having a router that can do a bit of everything can mean the difference between business downtime and staying online, even when one of your connections fails.

The AC56U from ASUS is one such router, thanks to support for a pretty extensive range of connection types. It’s not just an ADSL modem, it supports VDSL for those 20mbps+ speeds as well with an option to plug in a 3G dongle to provide wireless cellular connectivity when either of those two goes down.

But as you can only choose one connection method at a time, the AC56U works best as a router with built-in redundancy by way of a 3G connectivity that kicks in when your main connection is disrupted for whatever reason. That’s because it has two USB 2.0 ports which support a wide range of USB 3G dongles in addition to USB-based storage and printers.

USB 3.0 ports would have been nicer, of course, as they’re much faster for things like hooking up external drives as centralised network storage.

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The internet connection is distributed via Gigabit Ethernet ports and dual-band AC-class WiFi that’s rated at above Gigabit speeds. The AC56U’s WiFi has a theoretical maximum throughput of 1167mbps – 300mbps on 2.4Ghz and 837mbps on the 5GHz band.

I’ve struggled to get my Xbox One to stream to my Windows 10 PC over WiFi using 2.4GHz routers. Sure, it works, it’s just not a wonderful experience – I get a lot of compression and the game appears to perform terribly. With this router, however, I was able to stream to my P35X laptop at the highest quality setting, with no problem at all.

I literally got a 1:1 reproduction of what was happening on my Xbox One on my laptop screen; I’ll put this down to the superb bandwidth offered by AC-class WiFi, and the fact that the network card in my P35X is also AC-class.

So thanks to that AC radio and the fact that I moved around my home while maintaining that excellent streaming performance from my Xbox One, I can quite confidently say the AC56U can blanket a large area with reliable WiFi signal. And that reliability is key – good performance is one thing, but maintaining it wherever you are in your home (or business) relative to the router is just as important.

And as this is an ASUS router, you’re also getting one of the easiest to use and most streamlined web interfaces on the market that lets you find what you need and make any desired changes quickly and easily. Setting up is a matter of going through the wizard that starts up when you access the router for the first time, entering the appropriate information and you’re off.

ASUS has done a great job of delivering on the promise they display prominently on the box: this router is indeed fast, easy and stable.

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Unfortunately for anyone hoping this would all come at an affordable price, that’s not the case. You’re looking at just under three grand for this router, which is quite a large cost to swallow when less-capable yet not terrible routers can be picked up for three times less.

Ignoring the price and just looking at the tech alone, I was very happy with the DSL-AC56U. Its fast setup, really good interface and consistent performance sold me very quickly on it, and were it not for the high price, I’d be only too happy to recommend it to gamers who want to stream their games over WiFi, and businesses looking for high-quality WiFi signal all over their premises.

Should your budget be okay with spending three grand on a router, this router will serve you incredibly well. If you’re feeling the pinch, on the other hand, you might want to look elsewhere for your network needs.

Get it from: ComX Computers
Price: 2 945

Having a router that can do a bit of everything can mean the difference between business downtime and staying online, even when one of your connections fails. The AC56U from ASUS is one such router, thanks to support for a pretty extensive range of connection types. It’s not just an ADSL modem, it supports VDSL for those 20mbps+ speeds as well with an option to plug in a 3G dongle to provide wireless cellular connectivity when either of those two goes down. But as you can only choose one connection method at a time, the AC56U works best as a router with built-in redundancy by way of a 3G connectivity that kicks in when your main connection is disrupted for whatever reason. That’s because it has two USB 2.0 ports which support a wide range of USB 3G dongles in addition to USB-based storage and printers. USB 3.0 ports would have been nicer, of course, as they're much faster for things like hooking up external drives as centralised network storage. The internet connection is distributed via Gigabit Ethernet ports and dual-band AC-class WiFi that’s rated at above Gigabit speeds. The AC56U’s WiFi has a theoretical maximum throughput of 1167mbps – 300mbps on 2.4Ghz and 837mbps on the 5GHz band. I've struggled to get my Xbox One to stream to my Windows 10 PC over WiFi using 2.4GHz routers. Sure, it works, it's just not a wonderful experience - I get a lot of compression and the game appears to perform terribly. With this router, however, I was able to stream to my P35X laptop at the highest quality setting, with no problem at all. I literally got a 1:1 reproduction of what was happening on my Xbox One on my laptop screen; I'll put this down to the superb bandwidth offered by AC-class WiFi, and the fact that the network card in my P35X is also AC-class. So thanks to that AC radio and the fact that I moved around my home while maintaining that excellent streaming performance from my Xbox One, I can quite confidently say the AC56U can blanket a large area with reliable WiFi signal. And that reliability is key - good performance is one thing, but maintaining it wherever you are in your home (or business) relative to the router is just as important. And as this is an ASUS router, you’re also getting one of the easiest to use and most streamlined web interfaces on the market that lets you find what you need and make any desired changes quickly and easily. Setting up is a matter of going through the wizard that starts up when you access the router for the first time, entering the appropriate information and you're off. ASUS has done a great job of delivering on the promise they display prominently on the box: this router is indeed fast, easy and stable. Unfortunately for anyone hoping this would all come at an affordable price, that's not the case. You're looking at just…

Score

Score - 8

8

Rock-solid

DSL and VDSL connectivity are handy to have and the interface is nice and all, but it's the excellent AC WiFi performance that sells this router. It's just a bit pricy, is all.

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