Recently our testing laboratory hosted an elder brother of the testing model – the repeater RP-AC52, which functionality and performance may be unclaimed by some users. Today we decided to review the youngest model from the product line of ASUS wireless repeaters – RP-N12, supporting 802.11N wireless standard with the maximum theoretical data transmission speed equal to 300 Mbps. Okay, let’s get started.
ASUS RP-N12 wireless repeater comes in a white plastic case with the dimensions of 81х55х34 mm (not considering the protruding plug and antennae). The plastic on the ribbed front panel is glossy, the name of the vendor’s company and three LEDs indicating operating of the whole device and its wired and wireless modules are located here. As the power supply unit is placed inside the case, no external adapters are required.
The upper panel is not remarkable, there are only small ventilation holes here. On the bottom panel there is a Fast Ethernet interface.
Located on the sides there are two non-detachable 2dBi antennae. The Reset and WPS buttons are also placed on one side. In addition, there is a power switch here, which allows switching off the device without unplugging it.
Connecting to a power line is carried out with the help of the plug placed on the rear panel of the case. Moreover, a sticker with brief information about the repeater is located here.
Now let's have a look at the insides of RP-N12 case.
The hardware platform of ASUS RP-N12 repeater consists of two green textolite plates, one of which serves only as a power supply unit.
The system is based on SoC processor MediaTek MT7628NN with built-in 2T2R wireless Wi-Fi module (IEEE 802.11n). Winbond 25Q32FVS1G microchip with the capacity of 4 Mbytes performs functions of flash memory. Winbond W9412G6KH-5 chip provides the repeater with 16 Mbytes of DDR RAM.
That's where we proceed to completion of the review about the hardware of ASUS RP-N12 repeater and pass directly on to studying its software capabilities.
After switching on ASUS RP-N12 repeater one more open wireless network ASUS_RPN12 appears on the list of SSIDs available for connection. It’s worth noting that one can also connect to the device for its initial settings with the help of its Fast Ethernet interface.
Regardless of the way chosen for connecting to the device for its initial settings, one should go to 192.168.1.1 address using any modern browser, where the quick setup wizard asks to choose an existing wireless network for the connection.
If the necessary network is absent on the list, a user can perform manual setting for connection to it.
After choosing a wireless network for the connection, one should enter parameters of the network supported by the repeater itself.
When both wireless networks are chosen and set up, the device needs about two minutes for applying user settings, after that RP-N12 is absolutely ready for work.
Though the firmware upgrade for the repeater is not a necessary action, we strongly recommend installing the latest firmware version during the initial settings procedure and keeping firmware up to date further. Changing of the firmware version is performed in manual or semi-automatic mode with the help of Firmware upgrade tab, Administration menu of the web-interface.
The whole process needs about three minutes and does not require any special knowledge from users.
That’s where we draw the review of the initial settings procedure for ASUS RP-N12 repeater to a close and move on to studying the web-interface capabilities of the device.
The web-interface of RP-N12 repeater is typical for ASUS wireless equipment and is available to users in twelve languages. We will not describe its capabilities in detail, but mention the most interesting of them.
Right after entering correct credentials, the user is navigated to the page of Network Map item, displaying the device operation mode, wireless clients and state of the wireless network which coverage area is extended by RP-N12.
Quick Internet Setup menu item launches the primary setup wizard, which we described in the previous part of the review.
With the help of tabs of Wireless item one can manage his/her own wireless network. Here one can set parameters for MAC addresses filtering, enable the help for wireless roaming, set security parameters and enable Wi-Fi Proxy function, which allows changing MAC addresses visible in the “parent” wireless network. In more detail we described the parameters of this function in one of our previous reviews devoted to ASUS RP-AC52 repeater.
With the help of LAN menu item the administrator can change IP parameters of the repeater and also enable the built-in DHCP-server.
Operation Mode tab of Administration menu allows selecting the device operation mode: Repeater, Access Point or Media Bridge (that is a wireless client itself).
One can change the administrator password, select time zone, enable or disable a capability of the connection via Telnet protocol with the help of System tab of the same menu item. To our surprise, it is one more device where we discovered not quite correct time zone for Moscow.
One can get access to the log information with the help of the tabs of System Log item.
That's where we proceed to completion of the quick review of the web-interface capabilities for ASUS RP-N12 and pass directly on to the command line interface.
Access to the command line of the device can be enabled/disabled with the help of System tab, Administration menu item of the web-interface of the repeater.
Login and password used for the access to the command line interface are the same as for the web-interface access. ASUS RP-N12 repeater is built on Linux operating system with a kernel of version 2.6.36 using BusyBox of version 1.12.1.
RP-N12 login: admin
BusyBox v1.12.1 (2015-04-08 15:38:57 CST) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
BusyBox v1.12.1 (2015-04-08 15:38:57 CST) multi-call binary
Copyright (C) 1998-2008 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: function [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as!
Currently defined functions:
[, [[, arping, ash, basename, brctl, cat, chmod, chpasswd, cp, date, dmesg, echo, expr, free, ftpget, ftpput,
grep, halt, hostname, ifconfig, insmod, kill, killall, klogd, ln, logger, login, logread, ls, lsmod, mdev,
mkdir, mknod, mount, mv, ping, poweroff, ps, pwd, reboot, rm, rmmod, route, sed, sh, sleep, syslogd, telnetd,
test, touch, traceroute, umount, unzip, vconfig, vi, wc, wget
# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.36 (root@asus) (gcc version 3.4.2) #1 Wed Apr 8 15:44:07 CST 2015
With the help of ps command, let’s see what processes are currently running on the device. Unfortunately, top utility showing information on the current activity of the launched processes is absent on the device.
PID USER VSZ STAT COMMAND
1 admin 2468 S /sbin/init
2 admin 0 SW [kthreadd]
3 admin 0 SW [ksoftirqd/0]
4 admin 0 SW [kworker/0:0]
5 admin 0 SW [kworker/u:0]
6 admin 0 SW< [khelper]
7 admin 0 SW [sync_supers]
8 admin 0 SW [bdi-default]
9 admin 0 SW< [kblockd]
10 admin 0 SW [kswapd0]
11 admin 0 SW [kworker/u:1]
14 admin 0 SW [mtdblock0]
15 admin 0 SW [mtdblock1]
16 admin 0 SW [mtdblock2]
17 admin 0 SW [mtdblock3]
18 admin 0 SW [mtdblock4]
19 admin 0 SW [mtdblock5]
20 admin 0 SW [mtdblock6]
21 admin 0 SW [kworker/0:1]
39 admin 0 SW [RtmpCmdQTask]
40 admin 0 SW [RtmpWscTask]
41 admin 0 SW [RtmpMlmeTask]
48 admin 2468 S /sbin/wanduck
50 admin 2124 S httpd
51 admin 1404 S dnsmasq
52 admin 1588 S /usr/sbin/infosvr br0
56 admin 2468 S watchdog
57 admin 2468 S apcli_monitor
62 admin 1280 S lld2d br0
313 admin 1812 S /sbin/syslogd -m 0 -t GMT-4 -O /tmp/syslog.log
317 admin 1812 S /sbin/klogd
328 admin 2464 S ntp
329 admin 1820 S /bin/sh
331 admin 1816 S telnetd
418 admin 1820 S -sh
443 admin 1816 R ps
Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilization, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM.
# cd /proc/
455 52 18 6 fs iomem locks softirqs
418 51 17 5 driver timer_list cmdline kcore
331 50 16 4 tty modules cpuinfo kmsg
329 48 15 3 bus buddyinfo devices kpagecount
328 41 14 2 sys pagetypeinfo interrupts kpageflags
317 40 11 1 irq vmstat loadavg crypto
313 39 10 self misc zoneinfo meminfo diskstats
62 21 9 mounts mtd vmallocinfo stat partitions
57 20 8 net execdomains slabinfo uptime mt7628
56 19 7 sysvipc ioports filesystems version Config
# cat uptime
# cat loadavg
0.07 0.02 0.00 1/36 459
# cat cpuinfo
system type : MT7628
processor : 0
cpu model : MIPS 24Kc V5.5
BogoMIPS : 382.97
wait instruction : yes
microsecond timers : yes
tlb_entries : 32
extra interrupt vector : yes
hardware watchpoint : yes, count: 4, address/irw mask: [0x0000, 0x0ff8, 0x0ffb, 0x0ff8]
ASEs implemented : mips16 dsp
shadow register sets : 1
core : 0
VCED exceptions : not available
VCEI exceptions : not available
# cat meminfo
MemTotal: 13864 kB
MemFree: 1112 kB
Buffers: 1152 kB
Cached: 2664 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 2788 kB
Inactive: 2316 kB
Active(anon): 640 kB
Inactive(anon): 716 kB
Active(file): 2148 kB
Inactive(file): 1600 kB
Unevictable: 68 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 1388 kB
Mapped: 992 kB
Shmem: 0 kB
Slab: 4748 kB
SReclaimable: 560 kB
SUnreclaim: 4188 kB
KernelStack: 288 kB
PageTables: 244 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 6932 kB
Committed_AS: 4044 kB
VmallocTotal: 1048372 kB
VmallocUsed: 2144 kB
VmallocChunk: 1044516 kB
Contents of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin and /usr/sbin catalogues are shown below.
# ls /bin
xtables-multi rt2860apd mount lld2d hostname cp
vi rm mknod kill grep chmod
umount reg mkdir iwpriv gpio cat
touch pwd mii_mgr_cl45 iwconfig flash busybox
sleep ps mii_mgr iptables-restore echo ated
sh ping ls iptables dnsmasq ash
sed mv login igmpproxy.sh dmesg
rtinicapd mtd_write ln igmpproxy date
# ls /sbin
wps_stop wan-down restart_dhcpd logread init
wps_start vconfig reboot logmessage ifconfig
wps_oob track_set re_wpsc link_up halt
webs_upgrade_radio.sh syslogd rc link_status gen_ralink_config
webs_upgrade.sh start_telnetd poweroff link_down detectWAN_arp
webs_update.sh run_telnetd nvram_oob klogd ddns_updated
watchdog route ntp ip-up apcli_monitor
wanduck rmmod mdev ip-down ATE
wan-up restart_dns lsmod insmod
# ls /usr/bin
wget unzip test killall ftpget expr arping [
wc traceroute logger ftpput free basename [[
# ls /usr/sbin
udhcpc tcpcheck ntpclient infosvr chpasswd
telnetd nvram networkmap httpd brctl
We can't help mentioning nvram utility that allows changing certain important device operation parameters.
Usage: nvram [get name] [set name=value] [unset name] [commit] [show] [restore file] [save file]
# nvram show | grep admin
size: 8825 bytes (52615 left)
That is where we bring the brief review of the repeater command line interface capabilities to a close and pass on to testing the device, because, in contrast to its elder brother RP-AC52, the repeater under review does not support any multimedia functions.
The first measurements we usually start this section with are estimating the booting time of the repeater, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. ASUS RP-N12 repeater boots in 17 seconds. We consider this result normal.
The second traditional test is a security scanning procedure, performing with the help of a security scanner Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100). There were four open ports discovered. The most interesting discovered data are presented below.
Before getting down to performance tests we would like to get our readers familiar with the main parameters of the test stand we used.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Extreme||ASUS M60J|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 4790K 4 ГГц||Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 ГГц|
|RAM||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Гбайта||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Гбайт|
|NIC||Intel PRO/1000 PT
|OS||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus|
We decided to find out the performance of RP-N12 for each of three supported operation modes. At first, we measured throughput for one, five and fifteen simultaneous TCP connections during the device operating in Media Bridge mode. This mode is very similar to the wireless client mode, when RP-N12 connects to an existing wireless network.
In addition to Media Bridge mode ASUS RP-N12 can perform functions of an access point. The device throughput in this mode is presented at the diagram below.
Finally, we got to the most interesting part – RP-N12 throughput in the repeater mode. In this mode the device connects to one wireless network and creates the second one.
That's where we draw the testing part to a close and move on to summing it all up.
ASUS RP-N12 wireless repeater showed itself as a reliable medium-grade device, which can satisfy needs of ordinary users in the coverage area of the wireless network. External design and compact dimensions allow installing the device in sight.
The strength areas of ASUS RP-N12 are listed below.
- Compact dimensions and accurate external design
- Support of Wi-Fi Proxy functionality
- Support of several operation modes (Media Bridge, Repeater, Access Point)
- Sufficient performance of the wireless module
Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention discovered drawbacks of the device.
- The web-interface is not completely translated
- Incorrect time zones
When this review was being written, the expected retail price of ASUS RP-N12 in Russia was 2290 roubles.