Asus DSL-N55U review
A good price and superb performance in all departments mean that Asus’ ADSL dual-band router clambers to the top of the pile
Review Date: 22 May 2013
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £85 (£102 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
We haven't reviewed many Asus routers over the years, but when we do they tend to be good: the Asus DSL-N55U aims to continue that trend.
It makes a good start, and despite a reasonable price, this ADSL2/2+ router has plenty of features. There’s dual-band, concurrent Wi-Fi, rated at 300Mbits/sec in each band; twin USB ports, each one capable of supporting either a printer or a hard disk drive; VPN server capabilities; four Gigabit Ethernet ports; a power switch on the rear; and three, high-gain antennae sticking out the back.
When you connect to the DSL-N55U’s web UI, it delivers class-leading usability. The first page helps you set up the ADSL connection. Once that’s done, there’s a wireless and security setup wizard to go through, and you finally land on the router’s dashboard page. This displays a network map, showing an at-a-glance view of the health of your internet connection, and the status of the wireless network. Click an item on the map and further information appears in a panel to the side.
With the ability to change basic settings in these panels, you’ll barely need to wander outside the UI’s main page for most changes. When you do, the router provides help by way of some simple wizards. We particularly like the AiDisk function, which allows you to share storage across the internet through Asus’ own DDNS service. Including account setup, we were able to share our connected disk via FTP in less than a minute.
The only significant features missing from the DSL-N55U are wireless repeating functions, and advanced parental controls. You can block keywords and URLs and restrict usage based on the time of day, but there’s no whitelist control, nor more powerful, category-based filtering.
However, we’re willing to set aside these concerns in light of the Asus’ excellent all-round performance. At close range, we measured an average file-transfer rate of 13.6MB/sec over 2.4GHz, and 16.5MB/sec over 5GHz. At long range, speed over 2.4GHz was an impressive 6.3MB/sec. And, again, the DSL-N55U impressed over 5GHz, gaining a steady rate of 3.1MB/sec. For range, it’s one of the best routers we've seen recently, and certainly up among the most consistent.
The Asus doesn’t only impress in the wireless department. It also excelled in our USB disk tests. In the former, it delivered an average transfer rate of 12.2MB/sec, again a superlative performance.
In short, the Asus DSL-N55U couples table-topping performance in all departments and a great range of features with supreme ease of use, and does it all for a modest price. There’s no other ADSL router we've seen that carries off that combination with such competent, all-round aplomb.
Author: Jonathan Bray
This looks good, but anyone know if its suitable for BT's Fibre offering?
By orfordi on 24 Jun 2013
Can you tweak the SN margin? Doing so on my Billion 7800N gets me 3.5Mb instead of 2.5Mb so it is well worth doing. No tweak, no sale.
By JohnHo1 on 24 Jun 2013
For internal antennae they're a bit obvious.
By milliganp on 24 Jun 2013
I've been running one of these for a few months now, and it has been rock solid. No lockups, no dropouts, no running out of DHCP slots.
By PaulOckenden on 25 Jun 2013
Sent mine back!
I bought one of these following the recent review and had so many problems with it locking up etc that I sent it back and went back to using my 6 years old Belkin router!
By Victor_Delta on 26 Jun 2013
So...You live in the cabinet?
By bet1001 on 3 Jul 2013
I am peeved with the review here which encouraged me to choose this router to replace my ISP's old piece of kit. No doubt the Asus is blisteringly fast BUT:
The Asus manual on the supplied CD is woefully of out date, the screenshots in the manual do not resemble the router's control panel. Many of the Asus's features are undocumented. Help is at hand on the web and Asus' support site, but it's not comprehensive enough. Asus Support have manuals but these are the same as the out of date one on the CD.
Worse are the frequent line drops which require Asus reboots to iron out, but after a while the line drops return. One blog suggested Broadcom chipsets were better for poor ADSL lines but this router has TrendChip. So I have to part with my hard earned cash to get here?
Clearly PCPro labs cannot test every possible real life event, but you could have commented on the manual being out of date, and you could have warned that maybe this is not a router of choice for poor ADSL line quality.
I am disappointed.
By redfava on 26 Oct 2013
Anyone know whether this router passes Steve Gibson's shields up test (www.grc.com) and has no open ports?
I am wanting to replace my ageing BT router, to extend my wifi coverage, but the new one has an open port (161) so it ended up in the wheelie bin... Thanks
By oxout18 on 17 Nov 2013
Daily line drops
I regret buying this, I get daily internet connection drops. I tried updating the firmware using the router's UI, it changed the firmware from 188.8.131.52.364 (shipped) to 184.108.40.206.188! Problem persists. Look at Amazon reviews and other forms to see this is a common complaint. I've gone back to using my 7 year old ISP standard router which maintains WAN connection. The Asus is a waste of money and time.
By redfava on 22 Feb 2014
We ordered one to replace our aging Netgear DG834G.
On the paper the specs look really good. Unfortunately, the only good thing with the Asus is its admin software. The modem itself is a piece of junk. It disconnects every minute and reboot. Sometimes it crashes for no apparent reason, and above all the range is next to nothing. At the other end of our (big) house I used to have a solid signal and 54 MBps speed with the old Netgear. The Asus signal was barely catchable and the speed would never exceed 18MBps at best.
No need to say, it found its way back to the store the very next day.
I have reinstalled our old modem/router and will look for something better than this one.
By CharlyG on 4 May 2014
Had one of these since last July’s power outage up here on the Wold
Very fast and no problems till I wanted to change the settings which ran for two weeks
Great router, let down by crap CRM, and they want you to call on a premium line if you have a problem. I don't mind paying but these can be a blank cheque and what happens if the router is faulty? I guarantee there's going to be no cheque in the post! But I'd buy another one, and that’s after 7 days of intermittent connection & support! Oh and Amazon sent me a replacement, now that's what I call really great CRM! BC
By beecee on 7 May 2014
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