We present a complete analysis of the ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router , the long-awaited renewal of the popular ASUS RT-AC66U model, the first router that the manufacturer launched with AC Wi-Fi technology a few years ago.
This model has been renewed from top to bottom, starting with its heart (CPU and Wi-Fi chipset), going through the USB 3.0 port that it incorporates and also a firmware specifically designed to get the most out of this new hardware.
This new model already incorporates compatibility with fiber optic operators that use the 802.1Q standard such as Movistar, Jazztel, Orange and Vodafone, for customers of the Movistar FTTH operator, this model is fully valid for the well-known triple VLAN to get the most party to your services.
This equipment incorporates simultaneous dual band with AC1750 Wi-Fi , we can achieve a speed of up to 450Mbps in the 2.4GHz band thanks to its three antennas in 3T3R MIMO configuration that use Three-Stream technology to achieve this speed.
Regarding the 5GHz band, we can achieve a speed of up to 1300Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi AC technologyand its three antennas in MIMO 3T3R configuration, this router incorporates all the features of AC Wi-Fi such as 80MHz channel width and Beamforming.
The three external antennas are dual band, so they emit in the two frequency bands simultaneously, the external antennas are not removable so we cannot change them for others with higher gain.
With these specifications, we are sure that the wireless performance of this router will be excellent. Finally, it incorporates WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) to connect quickly to the Wi-Fi access point with the push of a button, it also has support for multiple guest Wi-Fi networks.
At the hardware level, this new router supports Turbo QAM in the 2.4GHz band, this means that we can achieve a speed of up to 600Mbps instead of up to 450Mbps. Although ASUS has cataloged this equipment as an AC1750, it is actually an AC1900 like the RT-AC68U.
truth be told, as you will find in the exhibition tests, there is a card that synchronizes at 600Mbps. In the firmware itself, we have the option to enable or disable this Turbo QAM, it is not an ASUS error, it is really an AC1900 equipment.
This ASUS RT-AC66U B1 incorporates one Gigabit Ethernet port (10/100/1000 Mbps) for the WAN and four Gigabit Ethernet ports (10/100/1000 Mbps) for the LAN. Thanks to hardware NAT , we will have great Internet performance with a large number of threads, this prevents us from having the dreaded “bottleneck” in faster Internet connections.
This router has a single high-performance USB 3.0 port on the front and another USB 2.0 port on the rear. We must remember that the original model does not incorporate a high speed USB 3.0. Both USB ports can be used to share files via FTP, Samba or HTTP, we can also share multimedia content in high definition thanks to its built-in DLNA server and even introduce a 3G / 4G USB modem to failover the fixed connection in case of failure.
Regarding the ASUSWRT firmware, it is one of the most complete on the market today, with a multitude of software and advanced configurations. The most noteworthy is perhaps Movistar FTTH’s triple VLAN support, excellent performance, double WAN for failover, OpenVPN servers and full support for IPv6 networks.
Once we know the main characteristics of this ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router, we go with the technical characteristics:
- Remote: Compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac principles. In the 2.4GHz band with a speed of up to 450Mbps, in the 5GHz band with a speed of up to 1300Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi AC. We will have a total of up to 1750Mbps of wireless bandwidth, the antennas are external and dual. Although this equipment is actually an AC1900 as it has TurboQAM.
- CPU & Ethernet: Broadcom BCM4708A with hardware NAT, dual-core 800MHz.
- RAM : ESMT M15F2G16128A-DEB with 256MB capacity.
- Flash: ESMT F59L1G81LA-ANY1P5F0B with 128MB capacity
- 2.4GHz Wireless Controller: Broadcom BCM4360KMLG with Wi-Fi N 3T3R at 600Mbps.
- 2.4GHz Wireless Amplifiers: Unknown
- Wireless 5GHz Controller: Broadcom BCM4360KMLG with Wi-FI AC 3T3R at 1300Mbps.
- Wireless 5GHz Amplifiers: Unknown
- Force supply: It needs a current voltage of 19V and a power of 1.75A.
When we know its specialized qualities, we go with the outer examination of the gear.
The ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router comes in a black and blue box with a fairly small size, as this router is not too big.
On the front of the box we find its main technical characteristics such as that it has AC Wi-Fi with simultaneous dual band at a maximum speed of 1750Mbps, it has a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port for file sharing. It also indicates that it has AiRadar Beamforming technology capable of providing additional coverage by focusing the signal where clients connect. Finally, the firmware of this equipment incorporates parental control and supports AiCloud to access the router from mobile devices and from anywhere.
On the back of the box we find a more detailed explanation of what the AiRadar technology of the manufacturer ASUS does, and that is that it will allow us to obtain additional coverage, especially if we are in places far from the AP. Another very important feature is that it is compatible with the ASUS Router App, this application allows us to manage the main router options from our smartphone and tablet with Android and iOS operating systems. In RedesZone we have carried out a complete analysis of this application.
ASUS also gives us information about the parental control that the router incorporates, as well as the ports that we have on the back of the router. Users less accustomed to routers will have it easy to connect different devices to it. Another detail that we would like to highlight is that in the box they recommend us to acquire the ASUS PCE-AC68 Wi-Fi card and the ASUS USB-AC68 if we want to maximize the wireless performance of this router.
On the right side of the box we find the main technical specifications in detail that we have already told you in the introduction to the analysis.
n the bottom side of the box we find other very interesting features of this router, especially related to its ASUSWRT firmware, and that is that it has a large number of services such as DLNA media server, print server, AiDisk, the Download Master and for supposed VPN servers.
As soon as we open the box, we find the black ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router, perfectly protected with a transparent plastic. At the top we find the three external antennas of the router that are dual (they emit in both frequency bands at the same time) but they are NOT removable, it is a very important detail.
The content of the ASUS RT-AC66U B1 box is as follows:
- ASUS RT-AC66U B1 AC1750 Neutral Router.
- RJ-45 CAT5e Ethernet network cable.
- Power adapter.
- CD with user manual and additional software.
- Quick installation guide.
This ASUS router needs a current transformer that provides a voltage of 19V and a current of 1.75A to power the equipment properly.
On the front of this ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router we find the status LEDs, from left to right we find the four LAN status LEDs, the Internet status, the status of the 5GHz band and also the status of the 2.4GHz band. Finally, we find the power status of the equipment. We miss in this part an activity LED of the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports of the computer.
At the top of this router we have a brief silkscreen with the class of this equipment (AC1750) and that it is simultaneous dual band with Gigabit Ethernet ports.
On the right and left side of this router we find ventilation slits so that hot air can escape from the equipment and in this way keep the interior cool.
On the front of the router we only find the maximum speed USB 3.0 port, thanks to this high speed USB port we can use our router as if it were a NAS. Although we will not get the same speeds as if it were a NAS server, we will have high performance for the most demanding users.
At the back of the router is where we find all the connectors and ports, from left to right we find the power connector of the equipment, it needs a current voltage of 19V and a current intensity of 1.75 A. We also find in this part rear the router’s on / off button, the rear USB 2.0 port, the RESET button on the computer as well as the Gigabit Ethernet port for the Internet WAN. Finally, we also find the four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN and the WPS button on the router.
At the bottom of the router we find some ventilation grilles to evacuate the air inside, and we find the typical ASUS sticker with the exact router model, the router’s administration website as well as the default credentials. We also find a sticker with the SSID of the two Wi-Fi networks, the default firmware version and the MAC address of the ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router.
In the following photo you can see the ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router in all its splendor, it is a small router if we compare it with other routers such as the RT-AC87U or the RT-AC88U that are much larger.
So far we have arrived with our external analysis, now that we know how the router is, we are going to disassemble it and see in detail all its internal components.
USB tests are like the ones we have been doing regularly. We will check the speed of perusing and writing in NTFS design since we will duplicate records of more than 4GB (recordings in top notch). We will carry out the measurements with the Samba server that the router incorporates and also via FTP with a USB 3.0 hard disk to always obtain the maximum possible performance.
The new routers with USB 3.0 incorporate a feature that reduces interference from the 2.4GHz band when transferring data, by enabling it we will lose USB performance but we will not have interference in the wireless network.
Samba on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction disabled
NTFS-> Read: 52MB / s; Write: 37.6MB / s.
FTP on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction disabled
NTFS-> Read: 46MB / s; Write: 37MB / s.
DLNA on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction disabled
The DLNA media server performance has been excellent, something we expected considering the read speed this router is capable of providing. In the tests carried out with the reproduction of movies in 720p and 1080p with a high bitrate it has been perfect, we have not had cuts or pixelations, also it allows to advance quickly through the film without problems. In this aspect we will not have any problem with streaming playback.
The results with interference reduction enabled are as follows:
Samba on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction enabled
NTFS-> Read: 27.1MB / s; Write: 26.2MB / s.
FTP on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction enabled
NTFS-> Read: 26.6MB / s; Write: 26.1MB / s.
DLNA on USB 3.0 port with interference reduction enabled
The performance of the DLNA media server has been excellent, same behavior as in the first test.
Samba in USB 2.0 port
NTFS-> Read: 28MB / s; Write: 25.8MB / s.
FTP in USB 2.0 port
NTFS-> Read: 27.4MB / s; Write: 18.2MB / s.
DLNA in USB 2.0 port
The performance of the DLNA media server has been excellent, same behavior as in the first test.
As you can see, the performance with USB 3.0 with interference reduction enabled and the performance of the USB 2.0 port is very similar. Underneath you can see a similar table:
This ASUS RT-AC66U router setup incorporates the same configuration wizard as the rest of the manufacturer’s routers. Thanks to this wizard we can start up our router in a few steps and with maximum wireless security by default. The first time we connect the router to any computer and enter through its default gateway http://192.168.1.1, this configuration wizard will appear. On the first screen it will ask us if we want an automatic configuration of the WAN (if the router detects it), or if, on the contrary, we want a manual adjustment.
On the second screen it will allow us to change the username and password to log in to the router, and it will also indicate if the password is weak or strong depending on the length and complexity that we enter.
On the third screen, the router will ask us in which configuration mode we want to put it, as you all know, ASUS routers allow up to four operating modes:
- Router mode
- Universal Wi-Fi repeater mode
- Access point mode
- Media Bridge mode
Depending on your choice, the next menu screen will change. We have chosen the router function, since it is the main function that we will use.
On the screen that we will see, it will ask us if we need to enter a username and password, or if instead it will take the public IP address through DHCP or static IP.
Once the option is chosen, we can select if we want IP by DHCP or fixed IP, in addition, if we click on “special ISP requirement” we can incorporate VLANs as in the case of Jazztel or Orange. This router supports the Movistar FTTH triple VLAN, so if we select PPPoE we must choose this option to enjoy all the operator’s services.
Once we have entered the Internet parameters, we must enter the name of the wireless network and also its password, being a router with simultaneous dual band, we must indicate two SSIDs and two passwords.
Once it has finished, it will show us a summary of the configuration we have indicated.
Finally, it will take us to the main web of the router where we will see that we are correctly connected to the Internet and also the rest of the router configurations.
Once we have thoroughly seen the configuration wizard, we are going to talk about the ASUSWRT firmware that this equipment incorporates.
ASUSWRT is one of the most complete firmwares that we have tested to date, this equipment incorporates the same firmware interface as other equipment such as the ASUS RT-AC87U that we already analyzed previously.
In the main firmware screen we can find shortcuts to all parts of it, in the main section we will see above all how the router is configured and also the status of its CPU and RAM, exactly the same as the rest of the ASUS manufacturer models .
This AC1750 Wi-Fi wireless router with simultaneous dual band, allows you to create up to 3 guest Wi-Fi networks for each frequency band, that means that we will have a total of up to 6 guest Wi-Fi networks plus the 2 Wi-Fi networks from the main network.
ASUS has also not forgotten to incorporate the AiProtection software into this router that allows us to scan the security configuration on our router, and suggest changes to the user to further protect their network, we also have complete parental control.
Advanced ASUSWRT firmware features like Adaptive QoS, Traditional QoS, and Traffic Analyzer are also available on this router, so you don’t have to go to higher-end routers to enjoy these options.
Regarding the software to get the most out of the USB ports, ASUS has incorporated all its artillery, the AiDisk, the DLNA server, Samba, FTP, print server, the possibility of connecting a 3G / 4G modem, Apple Machine and also the popular ASUS Download Master to download files from P2P networks directly to the USB port. Of course, we also have ASUS AiCloud 2.0 to remotely access USB content, file sync, etc.
The Wi-Fi configuration options are the same as always, very complete, intuitive and functional, in this aspect it is totally the same as that of its older and younger brothers.
In the LAN options we also have the same configuration possibilities, highlighting that it comes with hardware acceleration enabled (NAT HW), however, it does not come with the Jumbo Frames option enabled.
so if we want to accelerate our local network to support MTU of 9K we will have to activate it. The WAN options will allow us to configure the router for any operator, including Movistar FTTH’s triple VLAN, create double WAN for connection failover, port opening, DMZ, etc.
Something that we value very much is also present in this router, the OpenVPN server with the possibility of expert level configuration, so it is ideal to easily mount our OpenVPN server in our home and access it quickly and safely.
Other security options is for example the firewall, we can enable a series of rules to mitigate denial of service attacks, register packets and even allow or not the ping to the WAN.
Finally, this firmware also incorporates all the options related to the administration of the router, such as being able to configure HTTPS, enable the SSH server, view the registry of the entire system and even also use some basic network applications of the router such as ping, traceroute , nslookup, netstat, and even WoL.
So far we have come with the ASUSWRT firmware, as you have seen, it is one of the most complete firmwares that we have tested to date.
This ASUS RT-AC66U B1 router has undergone a number of very important changes compared to the original version, these changes put it at the level of its more direct rivals, in fact, it has been able to improve in many aspects its older brother the ASUS RT-AC68U, and all for a lower price.