ASUS RT-N10U

Introduction

External design and hardware

Firmware upgrade

Web-interface review

Utilities

Command line interface review

Testing

Conclusion

Introduction

Wireless routers ASUS RT-N10, RT-N10 Ver. B, RT-N10+ and RT-N10U are low-cost devices available to any user. The specific peculiarity of the whole range of RT-N10x is the simultaneous support of some wireless nets that allows separating native and guest traffic in the wireless segment. ASUS RT-N10U stands out among its counterparts due to the existence of a USB 2.0 port. Let's give it a detailed look.

External design and hardware

Wireless router RT-N10U is designed in a white plastic case. We have already seen such a case with another ASUS device – DSL-G31, however there are some differences.

The dimensions are 173*130*35 mm excluding antenna. On the top panel of the device there is a vent grate and an embossed vendor name.

On the bottom of RT-N10U there are four rubber stands to put the router on a table. Moreover here you will find two T-shaped holes for the device to be mounted on the wall. The information sticker contains the parameters of an appropriate power adapter (12B and 1A), the device model, its MAC-address, PIN-code, serial number, the default IP-address, etc.
The vent grates occupy the greater part of the bottom.

The side parts also contain vent holes and a decorative grey stripe running on the router front panel where, besides the vendor information and the model, the following indicator lights are placed: Power, WAN, LAN1-4, WLAN, WPS and USB. The functions of all the indicators are standardized, therefore the blink of WPS LED informs the user of the same workflow (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), that allows creating wireless nets in the semiautomatic mode.

On the back side there are Fast Ethernet ports (WAN, LAN1, LAN2, LAN3 and LAN4), WPS and Reset buttons, power and external antenna slots, USB and an on/off button. Despite RT-N10U has only USB 2.0, its color can confuse the user because the plastic insert inside the plug is blue.

According to the vendor's announcement since 2012 RT-N10U wireless router will come in an upgraded case.

Now let's take a look inside the device. ASUS RT-N10U consists of the only one green textolite board.

The most part of the logics is concentrated in Broadcom BCM5356U SoC chip, that functions as CPU MIPS74K (333 MHz), Fast Ethernet switch with five ports, Wi-Fi controller, works on 802.11b/g standards and has one 802.11n channel support. RAM is presented by an ESMT module M13S2561616A with capacity of 32 Mbytes. The flash-memory is presented by Winbond 25q64B with the volume of 8 Mbytes.

Let's turn to the software component of the device.

Firmware upgrade

The firmware upgrade procedure is performed manually with the help of the «Firmware Upgrade» item in the «Administration» group. The procedure itself is traditionally simple – you must only choose a file with the image of a new firmware and click «Upload».

The whole upgrade process takes not more than three minutes.

Besides default firmware there is also RT-N10U support from DD-WRT. The transition procedures to DD-WRT firmware and backward are traditional and thoroughly described in the manuals. We'd successfully updated to the mini-version and installed some more functional firmware with OpenVPN support.

Besides DD-WRT there are some alternative firmwares for the given wireless router. The project vectormm.net is among them.

It must be mentioned that with the help of alternative firmware it's possible to connect to RT-N10U not only printers or MFP, but also the whole range of other devices including flash-cards, web-cameras, 3/4G modems, etc.

Moreover in some short time ASUS-WRT firmware is about to come out. The detailed information about it is kept in secret yet.

After all the experiments we returned to the original firmware and started to examine its functions.

Web-interface review

The access via HTTP can be accomplished with the help of any modern browser by addressing to 192.168.1.1. Upon successful authentication the user finds himself on the main page of the device. The device web-interface is available in eleven languages: English, Chinese, Malaysian, German, Polish, Russian, Thai, Turkish, French and Czech. ASUS RT-N10U peculiar trait in comparison with other wireless devices of other series is simultaneous support of four wireless segments.

It must be mentioned that at the moment of writing the article the vendor allowed only connecting printers via USB, 3G/4G Modems and external data media were not supported.

The function Quick Internet Setup gives the user an opportunity for quick configuration of the router network settings.

In a nutshell, let's look through the extra settings hidden in the left menu.

The «Wireless» group allows configuring the Wi-Fi module work parameters. Nevertheless, though RT-N10U supports four wireless segments, the «General» tab in the «Wireless» group contains only the settings of the main net. RT-N10U allows setting the work time of the wireless and the maximum speed for the multicast frames.

The same settings of the rest of wireless segments can be performed with the help of the web-interface main page.

The «LAN» group allows the administrator to configure not only IP-address and the mask of LAN-interface, but to indicate the parameters of DHCP-server as well. We should point out that in the DHCP offers there can be transmitted a gateway IP-address that will differ from LAN-interface of the wireless router. Above all, ASUS RT-N10U supports the static routes, multicast routing and getting the route information via DHCP-protocol from the provider. We can't help mentioning the opportunity of watching IPTV on PC with the help of IPTV UDP Multicast HTTP Proxy option.

The connection settings, quality of service parmeters, virtual server options and the port triggering, DMZ and DDNS are collected in the tabs of the «WAN» group. ASUS RT-N10U supports the following provider connection variants: dynamic and static IP, PPPoE, L2TP and PPTP. If the provider offers the IPTV service with the use of all corresponding set-top boxes, the option «Choose IPTV STB port» allows showing the port to which such set-top box is connected.

During large amount of data transmission the router can fragment the data batch to reduce some other transmitted data delay. The available bandwitdth can also be divided between the traffic of various applications: games, internet applications, AiDisk, VoIP and video streams, P2P-clients; but as a matter of fact, such configuration is executed by the «EzQoS Bandwidth Management» menu item.

The tabs of the «Firewall» group provides the user with the opportunity to configure the filters on the base of URL, MAC or IP-addresses. Besides, the «General» tab contains the parameters for accepting or blocking the access from the external nets to the device, and for enabling or disabling the DoS-attack protection.

The change of the administrator password, syncronisation parameters configuration with the help of NTP, firmware upgrade and user settings restoration/saving/reset is done with the help of the tabs in the «Administration» group. By the way, the latest Russian governmental acts connected with the summer/winter time abolishment haven't been taken into consideration in RT-N10U's web-interface yet. There's also no cyrillic domains support, which means that the syncronisation of time, for example, with the server время.провайдер.рф will fail.

The firmware version 7.1.1.1.32 already supports the time zone GMT +04:00 for Moscow and St. Petersburg. All the rest time zones in Russia were updated as well.

The log of the system, wireless connections, DHCP demon, the information about ports forwarding and the routing table are shown in the tabs of the «System log» group. It should be noted that the information on the «Routing table» tab in the «System log» group can be different from the settings put in the «Route» tab in the «LAN» group as the route information can be also received from the provider via DHCP.

This brings us to the end of our brief web-interface review. Now let's turn to the features of some utilities desighed for working with ASUS RT-N10U.

Utilities

From the vendor's web-site we have downloaded the utilities kit UT_RT_N56U_4196, that might have been assembled from the package for RT-N56U. During the installation our anti-virus utility protecting the test computer, showed the message about the hidden driver download relevant for the process of ASUS devices search on the local net. For the proper work of the program such installation should be allowed.

The utillity kit contains the following program products: Device Discovery, Firmware Restoration, Router Setup Wizard and WPS Wizard. Let's look through each program functions.

Device Discovery utility allows detecting ASUS wireless devices in a local segment of the net and switching to their configuration through the browser. We must say that it's possible to connect only USB-printers to RT-N10U, as long as other devices lack support. However we tried to connect the external hard drive to the device USB-port. Evidently, the disk had no reflection in the router web-interface, but the Device Discovery utility gave us the information about such connection. By the way, at the moment of Device Discovery use the disk had been already disconnected from RT-N10U that was reloaded beforehand.

We couldn't help but capture the Device Discovery communication with the router. To detect the connected routers broadcast sending of UDP-datagrams is performed from port 9999 to the same 9999. The response of the device is received in the same broadcasting manner with the use of the same ports.

In case of some failed firmware ASUS RT_N10U can turn the rescue mode where there will be no access to the web-interface. To restore the firmware is feasible with Firmware Restoration utility that searches for ASUS wireless routers working in the rescue mode. The recovery process itself is extremely simple, you just have to choose a file with the right firmware version and to click the button «Upload». The procedure takes approximately three minutes.

The search is realized by the broadcasting request of reading the file ASUSSPACELINK1. ASUS RT-N10U can be artificially switched to the rescue mode by holding the button Reset while switching on the device till the moment of Power indicator to start blinking slowly.

In the utility kit for the wireless router ASUS RT-N10U there are two wizard-utilities to simplify the configuration: WPS Wizard and Router Setup Wizard. The first one is used to manage the wireless connections, it allows pointing out the name of the net (SSID) and the key-phrase after which it will be possible to save or to print the performed settings. More than that, when the wireless connection is configured, WPS Wizard allowes the user to choose the certain provider in Russia and to apply the settings for connection to it.

The option that allows choosing the provider we consider to be very useful for beginning users.

Router Setup Wizard lets even a beginner connect the router to the wireless net and it greatly resembles the previous utility.

When the article was almost finished on the vendor’s site we found a new utility for simplifying the printer connection. We took our old Epson Stylus Color 880, connected it to RT-N10U via USB and launched the utility ASUS Printer Setup that found our printer and connected it to the PC without any problems. After this the operating system just had to download the drivers for it.

The entire installation process took no more than one minute.

Now let's move to the section for advanced users – the router command line review.

Command line interface review

The access to ASUS RT-N10U via Telnet protocol is prohibited on default. To allow this access you must use the hidden page Main_AdmStatus_Content.asp that will give you the right to run the commands of the built-in operation system. Launching of the telnet daemon is realized by telnetd call. In the firmware 7.1.1.1.32 default configurations the telnet daemon is automatically on.

The login and password for access via telnet are equal to the ones used in the web-interface. It's important that changing the password in the device web-interface doesn't lead to the instant change of data for console sessions. Password update of the access via telnet will take place only after the wireless router reboot. The operating system of RT- N10U is Linux 2.6.22 and BusyBox 1.7.2 with a greater quantity of supported programs.

RT-N10Ulogin: admin
Password:
BusyBoxv1.7.2 (2011-06-22 11:20:45 CST) built-inshell (ash)
Enter 'help' foralistofbuilt-in commands.
# busybox
BusyBox v1.7.2 (2011-06-22 11:20:45 CST) multi-call binary
Copyright (C) 1998-2006 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, 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:
[, [[, arp, ash, basename, cat, chmod, chpasswd, clear,
cp, cut, df, dirname, dmesg, du, echo, egrep, env, expr,
false, fgrep, find, free, grep, halt, head, hostid, id,
ifconfig, insmod, ip, kill, killall, klogd, less, login,
logread, ls, lsmod, mkdir, mkfifo, mknod, more, mount,
mv, netstat, passwd, ping, ping6, pivot_root, poweroff,
printf, ps, pwd, rdate, reboot, reset, rm, rmdir, rmmod,
route, sh, sleep, sysctl, syslogd, tail, telnet, telnetd,
test, top, touch, traceroute, true, umount, uname, uptime,
usleep, wget, xargs, yes
# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.22 (root@software-vm) (gcc version 4.1.2) #26 Wed Jun 22 11:11
:53 CST 2011

With the help of ps command let's see what processes are operating at the moment.

# ps
PID Uid VSZ Stat Command
1 admin 2720 S /sbin/preinit
2 admin SW< [kthreadd]
3 admin SWN [ksoftirqd/0]
4 admin SW< [events/0]
5 admin SW< [khelper]
23 admin SW< [kblockd/0]
45 admin SW [pdflush]
46 admin SW [pdflush]
47 admin SW< [kswapd0]
48 admin SW< [aio/0]
49 admin SW< [cifsoplockd]
50 admin SW< [cifsdnotifyd]
585 admin SW< [mtdblockd]
1800 admin 2712 S detect_internet
1803 admin 1996 S httpd vlan1
1804 admin 664 S dproxy -d -c /tmp/dproxy.conf
1808 admin 1600 S udhcpd /tmp/udhcpd.conf
1811 admin 1368 S syslogd -m 0 -O /tmp/syslog.log -b 0
1813 admin 2068 S upnp -D -W vlan1
1819 admin 1632 S /bin/eapd
1822 admin 2000 S nas
1825 admin 960 S igmp vlan1
1828 admin SW< [ksuspend_usbd]
1831 admin SW< [khubd]
1853 admin 2520 S u2ec
1856 admin 2520 S u2ec
1857 admin 2520 S u2ec
1860 admin 1696 S lpd
1871 admin 1380 S lld2d br0
1872 admin 1596 S /usr/sbin/wanduck
1884 admin 3184 S /bin/wps_mon

Let's find out what files are located in the catalogs /bin, /sbin, /usr/binи /usr/sbin. The top utility will display the data of the launched processes' current work.

# ls /bin
BUG50.sh dflsrmdir
CONFIG_SYSTEM.sh dmesgmkdirsh
DHCPC_DAEMON.sh eapdmknod sleep
RC.sh echo more touch
SESSIONS.sh egrep mount true
ash false mv umount
bugreport.shfgrepnetstatuname
busyboxgrep ping usleep
catip ping6 wps_monitor
chmod kill ps
config_lan.shlibusb-configpwd
cp login rm
# ls /sbin
ATE_Get_BootLoaderVersionradioctrl
ATE_Get_FWVersionrc
ATE_Get_FwReadyStatusrcamdmain
ATE_Get_MacAddr_2G reboot
ATE_Get_PINCoderepeater_status_check
ATE_Get_RegulationDomainrestart_ddns
ATE_Get_ResetButtonStatusrestart_qos
ATE_Get_SWMode restore
ATE_Get_Usb2p0_Port1_Infor rmmod
ATE_Get_WanLanStatusrmstorage
ATE_Get_WpsButtonStatusrmwebcam
ATE_Set_AllLedOff route
ATE_Set_AllLedOnrsrom
ATE_Set_MacAddr_2G run_apps
ATE_Set_PINCoderun_dms
ATE_Set_RegulationDomainrun_ftp
ATE_Set_RestoreDefaultrun_ftpsamba
ATE_Set_StartATEModerun_samba
arprun_telnetd
convert_asus_valuessendalarm
ddns_updatedsoftreboot
detectWanspeedtest
detect_internetstart_ddns
dhcpc_apply_delayedstart_dns
eject_usb1 start_mac_clone
eject_usb2 start_wps_proc
erase stats
gpiostop_dms
haltstop_ftp
hotplugstop_ftpsamba
hotplug2 stop_samba
hotplug_usb_massstop_wps_proc
ifconfigstopservice
initsysctl
insmodsyslogd
ipudevtrigger
klogdure_monitor
logread watchdog
lsmodwaveservermain
ntpwlan_update
otswlscan
pbc_enr_monitorwmac
pivot_root write
poweroffwrite_disc_status
preinitwsrom
# ls /usr/bin
[ dirname free less tail uptime
[[ du head mkfifo telnet wget
basenameenvhostidpasswd test xargs
clearexpr id printf top yes
cut find killall reset traceroute
# ls /usr/sbin
brctligspppdudhcpd
chpasswdinfosvrpppoeupnp
dproxyiptablespppoe-relay upnpnat
emfiptables-restore pppoecdutelnetd
epi_ttcp l2tp-control pptpvconfig
et l2tpd rdatewanduck
ez-ipupdate lld2d seswl
httpd lld2d.conf ses_clwlconf
httpdchecklpdtc wrt54g.large.ico
icon.iconastcpcheck wrt54g.small.ico
igdnetworkmaptelnetd
igdnatntpclient u2ec
igmpnvramudhcpc
#

Wlscan utility placed in the catalog /sbin allows finding the wireless nets in the radius of RT-N10U radio-module activity. There were found 17 wireless nets where the device was placed. The part of these are given below (the information about MAC-addresses and signal capacity is changed).

# wlscan
Please wait....
idx CH SSID BSSID EncAuthSiganl(%) W-Mode CC EC
4. 3 47-1-89 5C:D9:98:XX:XX:XX TKIP+AES WPA2-Personal 23 11b/g/n 3
5. 4 anton 00:1E:58:XX:XX:XX TKIP WPA-Personal 0 11b/g 0
11. 9 Guest 46:4A:03:XX:XX:XX NONE Open System 7 11b/g 0
12. 11 3Com 00:1C:C5:XX:XX:XX AES WPA2-Personal 50 11b/g 0
16. 11 Asus E0:CB:4E:XX:XX:XX AES WPA2-Personal 34 11b/g 0
17. 11 Max 20:CF:30:XX:XX:XX TKIP WPA-Personal 24 11b/g 0

Now let's go to the catalog /proc and see what files are stored here and find out the operating system uptime and its average load, get the information about the CPU being used and the RAM characteristics.

# pwd
/proc
# ls
1 1872 48 interrupts self
1800 1884 49 iomemshrinkmem
1803 1885 5 ioportsslabinfo
1804 1886 50 irq stat
1808 1887 585 kallsyms swaps
1811 1890 buddyinfokcore sys
1813 1892 bus kmsgsysrq-trigger
1819 2 cmdlineloadavgsysvipc
1822 2004 cp0 locks timer_list
1825 2155 cpuinfomeminfotty
1828 23 crypto misc uptime
1831 3 devices modules version
1853 4 diskstats mounts vmstat
1856 4080 driver mtdzoneinfo
1857 45 execdomains net
1860 46 filesystems partitions
1871 47 fsscsi
# cat uptime
3979.69 3926.74
# catloadavg
0.00 0.00 0.00 2/39 4087
# catcpuinfo
system type : Broadcom BCM5357 chip rev 1
processor : 0
cpu model : MIPS 74K V4.9
BogoMIPS : 149.91
wait instruction : no
microsecond timers : yes
tlb_entries : 64
extra interrupt vector : no
hardwarewatchpoint : yes
ASEs implemented : mips16 dsp
VCED exceptions : not available
VCEI exceptions : not available
unaligned_instructions : 1
dcache hits : 2147483648
dcache misses : 3202235835
icache hits : 2147483648
icache misses : 937754516
instructions : 2147483648
# catmeminfo
MemTotal: 28680 kB
MemFree: 12056 kB
Buffers: 1172 kB
Cached: 3720 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 4268 kB
Inactive: 2600 kB
HighTotal: 0 kB
HighFree: 0 kB
LowTotal: 28680 kB
LowFree: 12056 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 1992 kB
Mapped: 1604 kB
Slab: 5204 kB
SReclaimable: 968 kB
SUnreclaim: 4236 kB
PageTables: 348 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 14340 kB
Committed_AS: 5196 kB
VmallocTotal: 1015800 kB
VmallocUsed: 3772 kB
VmallocChunk: 1009940 kB
#

To get the list of supported file systems and types of crypts is possible from the files
/proc/filesystems and /proc/crypto.

# cat /proc/filesystems
nodevsysfs
nodevrootfs
nodevbdev
nodevproc
nodevsockfs
nodevpipefs
nodevanon_inodefs
nodevfutexfs
nodevtmpfs
nodevdevpts
squashfs
nodevramfs
msdos
vfat
nodevsmbfs
nodevcifs
ntfs
nodevusbfs
# cat /proc/crypto
name : ecb(arc4)
driver : ecb(arc4-generic)
module : kernel
priority : 0
refcnt : 1
type : blkcipher
blocksize : 1
minkeysize : 1
maxkeysize : 256
ivsize : 0
name : arc4
driver : arc4-generic
module : kernel
priority : 0
refcnt : 1
type : cipher
blocksize : 1
minkeysize : 1
maxkeysize : 256
name : sha1
driver : sha1-generic
module : kernel
priority : 0
refcnt : 1
type : digest
blocksize : 64
digestsize : 20
name : md5
driver : md5-generic
module : kernel
priority : 0
refcnt : 1
type : digest
blocksize : 64
digestsize : 16
#

The crypts and configuration files seem to be shifted by the vendor from one platform to the other without significant changes. For instance, in the file /lib/pkconfig/libusb.pc there is a following string from RT-N12 (B1).

prefix=/opt/tmp/1_0_1_1-20110622-1-RT-N12B1-1_0_1_68/src/router/mipsel-uclibc/install/libusb

Of course we couldn't help spotting the utility nvram that allows looking through and changing crucial parameters in other ASUS devices, however, nvram doesn't display relevant data in RT-N10U.

Now let's pass over to the device testing.

Testing

The first test is the estimation of the boot time under which we mean the time interval between switching the power on and receiving the first echo-reply via ICMP. ASUS RT-N10U boots within 53 seconds. We consider it to be an acceptable result.

The next test was the security test of the router. To fulfill the task we used Positive Technologies utility XSpider 7.7 (Demobuild 3100) while connecting to one of LAN-ports. All in all there were detected twelve open ports: TCP-23 (Telnet), UDP-53 (DNS), TCP-80 (HTTP), TCP-515 (printer), TCP-1780 (dpkeyserv), TCP-1990, TCP-3394 (d2k-tapestry2), TCP-3838, TCP-5473, TCP-9100, TCP-9998 and TCP-18017 (HTTP). The most interesting results are shown below.

ASUSRT-N10U allows transmitting data in a wireless segment at the speed reaching 150 Mbps. We decided to measure the virtual transmission speed for which we used Jperf utility of the version 2.0.2. The results for one, five and fifteen connections we have represented in the form of a diagram.

We have carried out the same test to get the routing speed with NAT/PAT.

We haven't passed by the traditional connection method of Russian providers — PPTP tunnel for which we have measured the data transmission time in two cases: with the use of MPPE encryption and without it.

It must be mentioned that the announced routing speeds via PPTP were gotten with the help of the firmware version 7.1.1.1.32. ASUS keeps on improving firmware for this router, that's why in the nearest future we still can observe much higher data transmission speeds via PPTP.

We couldn't skip mentioning the parameters of out test stand.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS P5K64 WS ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q9500 2.83 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 OCZ 16 Gbyte DDR3 PC3-10700 Kingston 8 Gbyte
NIC Marvell Yukon 88E8001/8003/8010
ASUS WL-130N
D-Link DWA-160
Atheros AR8131
Atheros AR9285
Operating system Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

This is the end of testing section. Now we'll drive to the conclusion.

Conclusion

Up to now we have been testing only the top models of ASUS wireless routers, however, RT-N10U is more likely to be attributed to the range of low-cost models but even with its help a great deal of common users will be able to meet their demands in the access to the Internet. Data transmission speed via the popular provider connection type in Russia — PPTP will be enough to work with the most present tariffs, and the opportunity to connect a USB-printer will allow centralized printing of documents.
The strong points of ASUSRT-N10U are:

  • Up to four wireless segments simultaneously supported.
  • High routing speed via PPTP.
  • The ability to choose a provider (via a special utility) to simplify the connection procedure.
  • External antenna 5dBi.
  • Built-in print-server.
  • Low price.

Therefore, we can't avoid the drawbacks:

  • All wired ports support the connections less than 100 Mbps.
  • It's impossible to connect modems and external storages to USB.
  • USB-port version 2.0, though its color corresponds to the version 3.0.
  • Impossibility of giving NTP and VPN servers Cyrillic names.

At the moment of making up the review the average price of ASUS RT-N10U in Moscow online shops was 1950 rubles.

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0 #1 ASUS RT-N10U - FoxNetLabhome blog 2016-11-14 15:37
Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS.
I don't know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS
issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond?
Thanx!!
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