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  Topic : [Feedback and Suggestion]N66 vs. AC66 New Topic
Robb
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From: United States
Posted:8/31/2012 4:54:00 AM # 1
I'm trying to decide on a purchase between the N66 and AC66 wireless routers. I think my useage is pretty typical these days. I am currently using a D-Link DIR-655, and it is working OK. But, there are rooms in my house where the wireless conection is not so great. I have added two gigabit switches to the D-Link as four ports is not nearly enough these days. One sits in my TV/Audio room for all of those components, and the other just sits near the router for wired equipment around my desk, including a VOIP phone. Beyond that, it is the usual assortment of wireless devices like laptops, Ipads, and phones. The roughly $30 price difference between the routers is not really a factor in this decision. And, of course, I am well aware that I have no devices that use the AC standard yet, and that the current implementation is draft. I'm just thinking that since I am spending over $160, why not spend a little more and have AC capability whenever I inevitably end up with a device that supports it. I guess my question is really, what is the downside of going with the AC66? Is it essentially an N66 plus AC, or were certain compromises made to get AC, that could be problematic for me in the near term. Note that I am not bridging routers or setting up firewalls. Just pretty standard uses, although I want everything to function well including the VOIP phone. Thanks for any help or insight anyone can provide.

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RMerlin
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Posted:8/31/2012 5:18:00 AM # 2
Some people reported slightly lower wifi performance on the AC66U versus the N66U.  I think it might be related to the less mature driver used by the AC66U.

The AC66U firmware also isn't as mature or stable as the N66U one yet.  For instance, enabling QoS will completely kill Wifi performance on the AC66U.  Asus are aware of such issues thankfully, so they will most likely be addressed with firmware updates.

SmallNetBuilder did a thorough review of the RT-AC66U.

Personally I'd say go with the AC66U if the price difference isn't a problem for you, and you don't mind having to wait a few weeks for more stable firmware releases to appear.

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Custom RT-N16/RT-AC56U/RT-N66U/RT-AC66U firmware: http://www.lostrealm.ca/asuswrt-merlin
Robb
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Posted:8/31/2012 7:34:00 AM # 3
Thanks for your reply. I had already read the SmallNetBuilder review and saw that he advised against the AC at this point. But I don't have enough of a technical background to understand if, separate from the cost issue, there is an underlying weakness with the hardware in the AC, which can't be upgraded, as opposed to immaturity in the firmware which will be addressed with updates. If I essentially started with performance similar to what I have with the D-Link across all my components including the VOIP phone (I know that wireless will be better right off the top), and it only got better from there with succeeding firmware updates, I would be fine. I just couldn't tell from his review if that would be true. Robb

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RMerlin
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Posted:8/31/2012 9:53:00 PM # 4

Quote:
Author: Robb Posted: 8/31/2012 7:34:00 AM

Thanks for your reply. I had already read the SmallNetBuilder review and saw that he advised against the AC at this point. But I don't have enough of a technical background to understand if, separate from the cost issue, there is an underlying weakness with the hardware in the AC, which can't be upgraded, as opposed to immaturity in the firmware which will be addressed with updates. If I essentially started with performance similar to what I have with the D-Link across all my components including the VOIP phone (I know that wireless will be better right off the top), and it only got better from there with succeeding firmware updates, I would be fine. I just couldn't tell from his review if that would be true. Robb


My personal opinion: if there's only a 20$ difference between both, get the AC66U. The stability (and most likely performance) issues will be resolved in the next few weeks with firmware upgrades.

The only real question mark remains the 802.11ac support. Personally I'm not too worried by the draft status, since this late into the standard's drafting process, I doubt there will be any deal-breaking changes made to the standard. Just like late draft N routers had no issues working with release versions of N adapters. That's not to say that final 802.11ac routers won't be more refined and properly fine-tuned, but we're talking months from now (if not a year or two). And that's the usual risk you take when being an early adopter of any technology.

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Custom RT-N16/RT-AC56U/RT-N66U/RT-AC66U firmware: http://www.lostrealm.ca/asuswrt-merlin
andymac
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Posted:9/1/2012 3:42:00 PM # 5
Hi Folks, I've got both routers and am in the process of putting together a review for the AC66, comparing it against the N66 - though it's taking longer than I first thought ! I'm not hugely technical, but have a reasonable sized home network and a good understanding of how it goes together and works. I wanted to review the AC from a that point of view. Hopefully I'll be able to post on here when finished :-) Andy

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andymac ------- Check out my Tech Review Blog at www.bananatechreviews.blogspot.co.uk
Robb
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Posted:9/3/2012 3:35:00 AM # 6
Andymac, I expect to make my purchase tomorrow, 9/3, as I want to receive it and set it up before I leave for a vacation. Do you have a quick summary, or at least, a sense of whether it would be a mistake to purchase the AC? Small speed differences are not of importance to me, and I have no problem with knowing that the firmware will go through several upgrades as issues get worked out over the succeeding weeks and months.

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andymac
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Posted:9/3/2012 2:47:00 PM # 7
Hi Robb, If you're just about to purchase, then I would go for the AC66 version if your cash can stretch to it. I haven't encountered any noticeable speed problems on wireless (though I'm still testing with it), and it seems to be as stable as the N66 in general use, even with the current FW - though there are issues Asus are working, and Merlin's custom FW's are fantastic :-) The 5GHz wireless range seems to be better in my house with the AC66, and I can pick up a signal upstairs at the far end of the house, where I couldn't before. I need to try this out with a few devices though. Note also that I don't have any AC devices - like most people I would suspect - so haven't been able to try this at all. However the review on smallnetbuilder covers this. Hope that helps Robb. Andy

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andymac ------- Check out my Tech Review Blog at www.bananatechreviews.blogspot.co.uk
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