20Nov

Updated: Asus RT-N16, initial thoughts

UPDATE:

After testing several builds of DD-WRT I was unable to get port forwarding working. While uPNP did the job, it just wasn’t what I wanted. After fighting with DD-WRT I flashed Tomato. Tomato has been running stable ever since. I have yet to encounter a single issue. I highly recommend Tomato for this router.

UPDATE #2:

The Asus RT-N16 doesn’t run nearly as hot as I originally thought. Once flashing Tomato, I actually overclocked it a small bit, and cranked up my RX/TX power. Now, even under load, it just gets warm. Nothing to be concerned about.

After all of the troubles with the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH, I decided it was time to upgrade. After a bit of research, I decided on the Asus RT-N16.

Pros:

  • Detachable, external antennas (x3). This is a major upgrade over the non-detachable  external antenna (x2) and internal antenna (x1) of the WZR-HP-G300NH. This should allow me to mount the router just about anywhere and still have the antennas in a prime location.
  • Very powerful. Both CPU and Wifi
  • Actively supported by DD-WRT, Tomato, and others.
  • Wireless N Draft, and gigabit, since I use a NAS to transfer very large files this is a great feature. I could have gotten away with a cheap gigabit switch, but this is a nice feature.
  • And, it just looks cool. Let’s be honest, there is always that cool factor.

Cons:

  • Runs Hot. I have noticed that the router runs very hot, even under minimal load. I have yet to really put this thing to work, and had originally intended to mount it in an enclosure. But with the heat, this just wont be an option.

DD-WRT

It was extremely easy to upgrade the router to DD-WRT following the steps on the DD-WRT wiki. I flashed the mega build and while it is a step up over the stock firmware, it still has it’s flaws. Most specifically port forwarding is not working.  This resulted in having to run UPnP which I normally do not like to do.

Supposedly the brainslayer or eko builds perform better, and may well have the port forwarding issue fixed, I have just yet to try them.

Flashing DD-WRT: http://dd-wrt.ca/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N16#Installation_:

Tomato

The general consensus is that TomatoUSB runs better, and is more featured than DD-WRT on this router. But I have yet to use Tomato on any router. I will be testing it to see which runs better.

Now that I have had the router a while, I have found that TomatoUSB is the only way to go. Virtually no bugs, and everything works as expected. Also very featured filled. The only downfall is that you must use Windows to make the initial flash.

Flashing TomatoUSB: http://tomatousb.org/tut:installing-on-asus-rt-n16

To-Do: 

  • Test other builds of DD-WRT
  • Test TomatoUSB
  • Add some sort of cooling system to allow for more output power (heatsinks and fans)
  • Add higher gain antennas (possibly remotely)

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