ASUS RT-AC56U

Introduction

External design and hardware

Firmware upgrade, utilities, and setting-up procedures

Web-interface

Command line

Testing

Conclusion

Introduction

Today our test lab hosts ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router that possesses Gigabit Ethernet wired ports and wireless module that supports wireless data transfer speeds of up to 1167 Mbps. Let's now pass on to reviewing the model!

External design and hardware

ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router can only be placed on a desk vertically. Its black plastic case has dimensions of 147х205х66 mm. To work properly the device needs an external power unit (included in the box) with the following characteristics: 19V and 1.75А.

The front panel has LEDs indicating the device status as well those of its wired ports and wireless networks. Apart from all of it, there is also the model name and brand tag located over here.

The biggest part of the side panels of the case is a ventilation grate. One of them also has two buttons: one which enables/disables WPS, facilitating adjustment of the wireless clients, and the other one that switches the wireless network on or off. The same can be done using the web-interface, but the button on the device case may sometimes be more convenient for the user.

The upper and bottom panels have a ventilation grate located on them. Also, there is a metal leg attached to the bottom panel.

The biggest part of the rear panel of the case is also a ventilation grate. A sticker with brief information about the device is located on the other part of the panel. Also, there are four LAN Gigabit Ethernet and one WAN port powered by the same channel technology, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, power socket with an ON/OFF switch, and sunken Reset button located over here.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the router case. The electronic stuffing of the device is located on one crimson textolite card, which is half-covered by the heat sink. The only module accessible for inspection was the Spansion S34ML01G100TF100 flash memory module with the size of 128 Mbytes.

That is where we bring the review of the hardware platform of ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router to a conclusion and pass on to examining its software capabilities.

Firmware upgrade, utilities, and setting-up procedures

Once the new ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router has been connected to the network, one will be able to access it using any modern browser just by entering 192.168.1.1 IP-address. Upon first successful authentication the user will find him/herself on the quick Internet setup wizard page, where s/he will need to answer several standard questions.

We would like to recommend users to upgrade the firmware to the latest stable version as soon as the primary setup of the router is done. Firmware upgrade may be carried out either in the manual or semi-automatic mode using Firmware Upgrade tab, Administration menu item. If the connection to the WAN is available, the router can automatically download the firmware and upgrade it after the user clicks on Check button. The administrator can also perform the firmware upgrade manually. In order to do that s/he will need to download the file with the new firmware beforehand. The whole upgrade procedure takes about three minutes (not considering the firmware download time).

In case of a failure during the firmware upgrade process, the router changes for the rescue mode during which the Power indicator on the device front will be slowly flashing. The administrator can manually switch the device over to the rescue mode. To do that s/he only needs to hold Reset button for ten seconds while the device is booting. One can repair the firmware of a device in the rescue mode using the HTTP server embedded in the boot loader. If the administrator chooses to repair the firmware this way, s/he will need to enter 192.168.1.1 IP-address using any modern browser, specify the direction to the applicable firmware file, click on Upload, and reboot the device when asked to. It's worth mentioning that over here the administrator can also reset the user settings and reboot the device.

When this article was being written, the only utility available was Device Discovery, which allowed detecting ASUS wireless equipment within a LAN.

Let's now review certain capabilities of the wireless router web-interface.

Web-interface

Web-interface capabilities of routers built on ASUS-WRT firmware are very similar. We already reviewed the basic settings of various ASUS models available to users via the web-interface and therefore in this article we will focus our attention only on the new and most interesting of them. The web-interface of ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router is available in 23 languages.

One of the device LAN ports may be used for connection of IPTV consoles; the applicable settings are available in IPTV tab, LAN menu item. The administrator can enable or disable support of Jumbo frames and routing hardware acceleration in Switch Control tab in the same menu item. In the latest firmware versions the user is offered to choose the hardware acceleration level: Level 1 CTF or Level 2 CTF. CTF stands for Cut-Through Forwarding. Unfortunately, so far there are no technical data about the difference of these levels available. It was only known that CTF Level 1 is solely a software practice available on any hardware by Broadcom, whilst CTF Level 2 is a software and hardware acceleration practice used for certain chips that support this level of acceleration. Sometimes usage of CTF Level 2 can cause problems if certain non-standard network protocols are used.

Currently almost all ASUS-WRT firmwares will have a feature that will let the administrator use one of the device LAN ports as the second WAN port; the corresponding settings are available in Dual WAN tab, WAN menu item. Apart from the LAN port, a USB port with the 3G/4G modem connected to it can also be used for this. The second external port can be used for backing up or load balancing. Once the second WAN port has been activated, the user will be able to choose the port to be set up in Internet Connection tab. Upon connection to the provider using a LAN port instead of WAN, the administrator will be able to reduce the frequency at which the DHCP queries are sent out (DHCP query frequency feature). This setting may come in handy when the provider blocks those users whose routers are sending out the queries too often.

The user can manage the IPv6 operation parameters using the same-named menu item. It's worth noticing that when the article was being written, the only thing that support of this protocol entailed was routing of IPv6 packets. It is not possible to access the web-interface and data stored on the HDD through IPv6.

The built-in VPN client and server had also experienced some changes (VPN menu item). Now the VPN server supports two protocols: PPTP and OpenVPN.

The amount of protocols supported by the VPN client got bigger and now they are three: PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN.

The number of the device operation modes has also been increased: wireless router, repeater, access point, and wireless bridge.

That is where we bring a brief review of ASUS RT-AC56U router web-interface capabilities to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its command line.

Command line

Switching the access to the command line on and off is performed using System tab, Administration group.

In order to access the command line using telnet protocol one needs to enter the same login and password as for the connection to the device web-interface. Traditionally, BusyBox is intalled in Linux 2.6.36.4 system.

RT-AC56U login: admin
Password:
ASUSWRT RT-AC56U_3.0.0.4 Tue Nov 5 11:29:30 UTC 2013
admin@RT-AC56U:/tmp/home/root# cd /
admin@RT-AC56U:/# busybox
BusyBox v1.17.4 (2013-11-05 19:29:28 CST) multi-call binary.
Copyright (C) 1998-2009 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:
[, [[, arp, ash, awk, basename, blkid, cat, chmod, chown, chpasswd, clear, cmp, cp, crond, cut, date, dd, df,
dirname, dmesg, du, e2fsck, echo, egrep, env, ether-wake, expr, fdisk, fgrep, find, flock, free, fsck.ext2,
fsck.ext3, fsck.minix, fsync, grep, gunzip, gzip, head, ifconfig, insmod, ionice, kill, killall, klogd, less,
ln, logger, login, ls, lsmod, lsusb, md5sum, mdev, mkdir, mkdosfs, mke2fs, mkfs.ext2, mkfs.ext3, mkfs.vfat,
mknod, mkswap, modprobe, more, mount, mv, netstat, nice, nohup, nslookup, pidof, ping, ping6, printf, ps, pwd,
readlink, renice, rm, rmdir, rmmod, route, sed, setconsole, sh, sleep, sort, strings, swapoff, swapon, sync,
syslogd, tail, tar, telnetd, test, top, touch, tr, traceroute, traceroute6, true, tune2fs, udhcpc, umount,
uname, unzip, uptime, usleep, vconfig, vi, watch, wc, wget, which, zcat, zcip
admin@RT-AC56U:/# uname -a
Linux RT-AC56U 2.6.36.4brcmarm #14 SMP PREEMPT Tue Nov 5 19:36:12 CST 2013 armv7l GNU/Linux
admin@RT-AC56U:/#

Let's see what processes are currently running using ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes.

Mem: 38884K used, 216832K free, 0K shrd, 648K buff, 6660K cached
CPU: 0.0% usr 4.5% sys 0.0% nic 95.4% idle 0.0% io 0.0% irq 0.0% sirq
Load average: 0.00 0.01 0.03 1/55 600
PID PPID USER STAT VSZ %MEM CPU %CPU COMMAND
600 572 admin R 1504 0.5 0 4.5 top
533 1 admin S 3520 1.3 0 0.0 httpd
1 0 admin S 2100 0.8 1 0.0 /sbin/preinit
497 1 admin S 2096 0.8 0 0.0 u2ec
509 497 admin S 2096 0.8 0 0.0 u2ec
510 509 admin S 2096 0.8 0 0.0 u2ec
472 1 admin S 2092 0.8 0 0.0 watchdog
478 472 admin S 2092 0.8 1 0.0 ots
457 1 admin S 2092 0.8 1 0.0 /sbin/wanduck
521 1 admin S 2092 0.8 0 0.0 ntp
462 1 admin S 2092 0.8 1 0.0 wlaide
421 1 admin S 2092 0.8 1 0.0 usbled
463 1 admin S 2092 0.8 0 0.0 wpsaide
314 1 admin S 2084 0.8 0 0.0 console
572 534 admin S 1520 0.5 0 0.0 -sh
316 314 admin S 1508 0.5 0 0.0 /bin/sh
487 1 admin S 1504 0.5 0 0.0 udhcpc -i eth0 -p /var/run/udhcpc0.pid -s /tmp/udhcpc -O33 -O249
534 1 admin S 1500 0.5 0 0.0 telnetd
524 1 admin S 1496 0.5 0 0.0 syslogd -m 0 -S -O /tmp/syslog.log -s 256 -l 6
526 1 admin S 1496 0.5 1 0.0 /sbin/klogd
465 1 admin S 1468 0.5 0 0.0 nas
475 1 admin S 1332 0.5 0 0.0 rstats
499 1 admin S 1176 0.4 0 0.0 lpd
484 1 admin S 1148 0.4 1 0.0 lld2d br0
459 1 admin S 1132 0.4 0 0.0 /bin/eapd
470 1 admin S 1128 0.4 0 0.0 networkmap
469 1 admin S 1112 0.4 0 0.0 /usr/sbin/infosvr br0
467 1 nobody S 1044 0.4 0 0.0 dnsmasq --log-async
504 1 admin S 716 0.2 0 0.0 miniupnpd -f /etc/upnp/config
279 1 admin S 664 0.2 0 0.0 hotplug2 --persistent --no-coldplug
255 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [mtdblock3]
278 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [kworker/1:1]
326 2 admin SWN 0 0.0 1 0.0 [jffs2_gcd_mtd4]
5 2 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [kworker/u:0]
276 2 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [kworker/0:1]
240 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [mtdblock0]
338 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [khubd]
164 2 admin SW< 0 0.0 1 0.0 [crypto]
273 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [mtdblock4]
154 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [fsnotify_mark]
250 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [mtdblock2]
2 0 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [kthreadd]
3 2 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [ksoftirqd/0]
4 2 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [kworker/0:0]
245 2 admin SW 0 0.0 1 0.0 [mtdblock1]
6 2 admin SW 0 0.0 0 0.0 [migration/0]
admin@RT-AC56U:/# ps
PID USER VSZ STAT COMMAND
1 admin 2100 S /sbin/preinit
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 [migration/0]
7 admin 0 SW [migration/1]
8 admin 0 SW [kworker/1:0]
9 admin 0 SW [ksoftirqd/1]
10 admin 0 SW< [khelper]
11 admin 0 SW [kworker/u:1]
52 admin 0 SW [sync_supers]
54 admin 0 SW [bdi-default]
55 admin 0 SW< [kblockd]
108 admin 0 SW [kswapd0]
154 admin 0 SW [fsnotify_mark]
164 admin 0 SW< [crypto]
240 admin 0 SW [mtdblock0]
245 admin 0 SW [mtdblock1]
250 admin 0 SW [mtdblock2]
255 admin 0 SW [mtdblock3]
273 admin 0 SW [mtdblock4]
276 admin 0 SW [kworker/0:1]
278 admin 0 SW [kworker/1:1]
279 admin 664 S hotplug2 --persistent --no-coldplug
314 admin 2084 S console
316 admin 1508 S /bin/sh
326 admin 0 SWN [jffs2_gcd_mtd4]
338 admin 0 SW [khubd]
421 admin 2092 S usbled
457 admin 2092 S /sbin/wanduck
459 admin 1132 S /bin/eapd
462 admin 2092 S wlaide
463 admin 2092 S wpsaide
465 admin 1468 S nas
467 nobody 1044 S dnsmasq --log-async
469 admin 1112 S /usr/sbin/infosvr br0
470 admin 1128 S networkmap
472 admin 2092 S watchdog
475 admin 1332 S rstats
478 admin 2092 S ots
484 admin 1148 S lld2d br0
487 admin 1504 S udhcpc -i eth0 -p /var/run/udhcpc0.pid -s /tmp/udhcpc -O33 -O249
497 admin 2096 S u2ec
499 admin 1176 S lpd
504 admin 716 S miniupnpd -f /etc/upnp/config
509 admin 2096 S u2ec
510 admin 2096 S u2ec
521 admin 2092 S ntp
524 admin 1496 S syslogd -m 0 -S -O /tmp/syslog.log -s 256 -l 6
526 admin 1496 S /sbin/klogd
533 admin 3520 S httpd
534 admin 1500 S telnetd
572 admin 1520 S -sh
602 admin 1500 R ps

Let's find out what kind of content /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogues have.

admin@RT-AC56U:/# ls /bin
ash cp echo gzip mkdir nice rm sleep uname
busybox date egrep ionice mknod pidof rmdir sync usleep
cat dd fgrep kill more ping rstats tar vi
chmod df fsync ln mount ping6 sdparm touch watch
chown dmesg grep login mv ps sed true wps_monitor
comgt eapd gunzip ls netstat pwd sh umount zcat
admin@RT-AC56U:/# ls /sbin
ATE fsck.ext3 mkswap swapoff
add_account fsck.minix mod_account swapon
add_folder fsck.msdos mod_folder switchmode
add_multi_routes fsck.vfat modify_if_exist_new_folder syslogd
arp get_account_list modprobe tcpcheck
asus_lp get_all_folder mtd-erase2 test_disk1
asus_sd get_apps_name mtd-unlock test_disk2
asus_sg get_folder_list mtd-write2 test_if_exist_account
asus_sr get_permission ntp test_if_exist_share
asus_tty get_phy_speed nvram_erase test_of_var_files
asus_usb_interface get_phy_status ots test_share
asus_usbbcm get_var_file_name pc tune2fs
auto_macclone gpio preinit udevtrigger
autodet halt psta_monitor udhcpc
blkid hotplug radio usb_notify
chk_app_state hotplug2 rc usbled
console how_many_layer rcheck vconfig
create_if_no_var_files ifconfig read_sms wanduck
ddns_updated initial_all_var_file reboot watchdog
del_account initial_folder_list restart_wireless wimaxc
del_folder initial_var_file rmmod wimaxd
dhcp6c-state insmod route wlaide
disk_monitor klogd run_app_script wlcconnect
disk_remove led_ctrl run_pptpd wlcscan
dosfsck lsmod run_telnetd wpsaide
e2fsck mdev send_sms write_smb_conf
ejusb mkdosfs service write_webdav_conf
fdisk mke2fs set_permission zcip
firmware_check mkfs.ext2 setconsole
free_caches mkfs.ext3 setup_dnsmq
fsck.ext2 mkfs.vfat sigmon
admin@RT-AC56U:/# ls /usr/bin
[ cmp ether-wake head md5sum renice taskset traceroute6 which
[[ cut expr killall nohup smbpasswd test unzip
awk dirname find less nslookup sort top uptime
basename du flock logger printf strings tr wc
clear env free lsusb readlink tail traceroute wget
admin@RT-AC56U:/# ls /usr/sbin
3ginfo.sh asuswebstorage icon.ico minidlna smbd
acsd bcrelay icon.large.ico miniupnpd sysinfo
app_base_library.sh brctl igmpproxy mt-daapd tc
app_base_link.sh chat igs nas telnetd
app_base_packages.sh check_spectrum.sh infosvr netstat-nat u2ec
app_cancel.sh chkntfs inotify networkmap udpxy
app_check_folder.sh chpasswd ip nmbd updown.sh
app_check_pool.sh chpasswd.sh ip6tables nozip_webs_update.sh usb_modeswitch
app_fsck.sh crond ip6tables-restore nozip_webs_upgrade.sh vsftpd
app_fsck_all.sh cru iptables ntpclient webdav_client
app_get_field.sh dhcp6c iptables-restore nvram webs_update.sh
app_init_run.sh dhcp6s l2tp-control openssl webs_upgrade.sh
app_install.sh dnsmasq l2tpd openvpn wl
app_move_to_pool.sh ebtables lighttpd pppd wlconf
app_remove.sh epi_ttcp lighttpd-arpping pppoe-relay wpa_cli
app_set_enabled.sh et lighttpd-monitor pptpctrl wpa_supplicant
app_stop.sh ez-ipupdate lld2d pptpd xtables-multi
app_switch.sh gctwimax lld2d.conf radvd zip_webs_update.sh
app_update.sh gencert.sh lpd scsi-start zip_webs_upgrade.sh
app_upgrade.sh httpd mDNSResponder scsi-stop
arpstorm hub-ctrl madwimax setuprsa.sh

Sysinfo utility from /usr/sbin catalogue shows detailed information on the device and its settings. We decided to present the utility output in an individual file.

Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.

admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# ls
1 3 472 533 cpuinfo key-users softirqs
10 314 475 534 crypto kmsg stat
108 316 478 54 devices loadavg swaps
11 326 484 55 diskstats locks sys
154 338 487 572 dmu meminfo sysrq-trigger
164 4 497 6 driver misc sysvipc
2 421 499 7 emf modules timer_list
240 457 5 710 execdomains mounts tty
245 459 504 8 filesystems mtd uptime
250 462 509 9 fs net version
255 463 510 bcm947xx interrupts pagetypeinfo vmallocinfo
273 465 52 buddyinfo iomem partitions vmstat
276 467 521 bus ioports scsi zoneinfo
278 469 524 cmdline irq self
279 470 526 cpu kallsyms slabinfo
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# cat uptime
1249.64 2453.11
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# cat loadavg
0.00 0.02 0.05 1/55 712
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# cat cpu
cpu/ cpuinfo
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# cat cpuinfo
Processor : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)
processor : 0
BogoMIPS : 1599.07
processor : 1
BogoMIPS : 1599.07
Features : swp half thumb fastmult edsp
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x3
CPU part : 0xc09
CPU revision : 0
Hardware : Northstar Prototype
Revision : 0000
Serial : 0000000000000000
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# cat meminfo
MemTotal: 255716 kB
MemFree: 216752 kB
Buffers: 564 kB
Cached: 6620 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 4604 kB
Inactive: 6152 kB
Active(anon): 3728 kB
Inactive(anon): 3816 kB
Active(file): 876 kB
Inactive(file): 2336 kB
Unevictable: 0 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 3572 kB
Mapped: 1956 kB
Shmem: 3972 kB
Slab: 16276 kB
SReclaimable: 1456 kB
SUnreclaim: 14820 kB
KernelStack: 440 kB
PageTables: 432 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 127856 kB
Committed_AS: 15216 kB
VmallocTotal: 385024 kB
VmallocUsed: 17972 kB
VmallocChunk: 358760 kB
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc# uptime
04:21:11 up 21 min, load average: 0.00, 0.02, 0.04
admin@RT-AC56U:/proc#

We can't help to mention nvram utility that allows changing certain important device operation parameters.

admin@RT-AC56U:/# nvram
usage: nvram [get name] [set name=value] [unset name] [show] [commit] [save] [restore] [erase] ...
admin@RT-AC56U:/# nvram show | grep admin
size: 37662 bytes (27874 left)
http_username=admin
http_passwd=admin
acc_list=admin>admin
acc_webdavproxy=admin>1

That is where we bring review of the device command line to a conclusion and pass directly on to testing it.

Testing

The first testing procedure we traditionally begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router boots in 41 seconds. We believe that the result is decent.

The second test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. On the whole, there were twelve open ports discovered, and they are TCP-53 (DNS), UDP-53 (DNS), TCP-80 (HTTP), TCP-515 (printer), TCP-1990 (Blocked), TCP-3394 (d2k-tapestry2), TCP-3838 (Unavailable), TCP-5473 (unknown), TCP-9100 (Unavailable), TCP-9998 (Unavailable), TCP-18017 (HTTP), and TCP-60756 (HTTP). The most interesting data are presented below.

Before getting down to performance tests we would like to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus V Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes
NIC Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

We decided to begin our measurements with the wired segment by identifying the speed with which RT-AC56U routes user traffic between WAN and LAN interfaces with NAT/PAT translations and without them. This diagram also features routing speeds of IPv6 traffic. The measurements were taking using JPerft 2.0.2 utility for 1, 5, and 15 concurrent TCP-sessions.

The wireless router under review can get connected to the provider using PPTP. As a matter of course, we couldn't help but review this feature, which is so sought-after in Russia and the CIS. The measurements were made in three different modes: without encryption, with encryption but without compression, and both with encryption and compression.

We also decided to test access speeds to the data stored on an external HDD connected through USB. In order to carry out this test we used 750 GB Transcend StoreJet 25M3 external data carrier. Results of the measurements are presented on the diagram below. The test was carried out using Intel NASPT utility, version 1.7.1. According to the suggestions by Intel, we intentionally reduced the RAM size on the test PC in order to carry out these tests. The measurements were taken for four file systems, while the data carrier has been successively connected it to USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

The built-in VPN server allows connections using two tunnel protocols. At first we decided to test access speeds of a remote client to the local network located beyond the router upon usage of PPTP. The measurements were taken in the same three modes used for PPTP earlier.

As a matter of course, we decided to test it upon connection of OpenVPN clients with AES256 encryption.

We believe that the most interesting tests for our readers will be the ones we did in wireless networks. We tested data transfer speeds by IEEE 802.11n standard in 2.4 GHz frequency range (with the channel width of 40 MHz) and in 5 GHz frequency range (with the channel width of 80 MHz), however using IEEE 802.11ac standard draft this time. Results of the measurements for the two wireless frequency ranges are presented on the diagram below.

When this article had already been completed, we decided to find out what the end users actually think about ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router. As it turned out, one of their main concerns was the heat rising. But what's actually this heat rising and how was it measured? Chips this device is powered by possess certain undocumented functionality: showing temperature of the CPU and wireless modules. That's where we decided to test it ourselves. At first we used the router card we removed out of the device case. According to the data of diagnostic instructions, the CPU temperature was 63°С, while that of the wireless modules reached 46°С and 60°С. Unfortunately, we have no information about where exactly inside of the chip these temperature sensors are installed and how correctly they are adjusted. As far as we managed to figure out, these sensors are meant for the internal use by protecting the chip from heating up. Chip temperatures of up to 120°С are considered regular. However, how high are the measured temperatures? We used a special-purpose Testo 845 pyrometer that we have at our lab to measure the temperature around the chips. According to our measurements, the card temperature hasn't got higher than 58°С. During measurements the environment temperature was 24°С.

admin@RT-AC56U:/# cat /proc/dmu/temperature
CPU temperature : 63°C
admin@RT-AC56U:/# wl -i eth1 phy_tempsense
46 (0x2e)
admin@RT-AC56U:/# wl -i eth2 phy_tempsense
60 (0x3c)

Once the measurements were finished, we installed the router card back into the case and measured it once again. This time the figures turned out to be higher.

admin@RT-AC56U:/# cat /proc/dmu/temperature
CPU temperature : 76°C
admin@RT-AC56U:/# wl -i eth1 phy_tempsense
62 (0x3e)
admin@RT-AC56U:/# wl -i eth2 phy_tempsense
71 (0x47)

After that we decided to measure the temperature inside of the device case. It hasn't got higher than 42°С, which is a pretty regular figure for home wireless routers. Based on our measurements, we can tell that the user concerns on the possible heating up of the device are not reasonable. And though the showings of sensors meant for internal use are not that exact, they still fall within the limits of acceptable temperature range. In other words, one should not worry about the high temperatures.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Conclusion

Generally, we are glad about ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router we tested. Even though it is as not efficient as its older counterpart, RT-AC68U, it's much cheaper. Appearance of OpenVPN client and server support may come in handy for some customers who, due to this or that reason, are not satisfied with access through PPTP.

The strength areas of ASUS RT-AC56U wireless router are presented below.

  • Excellent speeds in the wireless network segment
  • Support of OpenVPN
  • High operation speeds with an external USB disc
  • Support of double WAN port
  • Great wired speeds
  • Ability to create up to three guest networks in each wireless range
  • Support of IPv6

Unfortunately, we cannot help to mention certain drawbacks we have discovered.

  • The web-interface is not completely translated
  • Pretty high price

As of when this article was being written, the average price for ASUS RT-AC56U in Moscow online shops was 6000 roubles.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Found a typo? Please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.