Routers have traditionally been blue-collar gadgets. Although many homes have one, the majority of users do little more than reset it infrequently to refresh their internet connection. But as the price of higher-end models has fallen, consumers can start to look for more from their home or, more potently, office wireless network.
Although Asus is not the first manufacturer to extend the possiblities of consumer-level routers, the company has managed to do it for a reasonable price in the DSL-N12U Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router. But does it offer anything useful for the home consumer? Are the bells and whistles just smoke and mirrors? Let's take a look and see if there's anything for you or me.
Routers aren't known for their looks, since they are typically set up and left out of sight to work their wireless magic. However, the N12U shows some design consideration with a curved black lid, silver side panels, subtle flashing blue lights on the display panel, and two iconic rabbit-style antennas that protrude from the back. The connections are also on the back, and include the standard ADSL port, four Ethernet sockets, as well as wireless on/off switch, reset and power buttons, and a USB 2.0 port, which boosts the functionality of your wireless network nicely.
The dual fixed 5dBi rabbit ear antennas afford the extra reach through several floors of a house or building. As is standard, it allows a maximum of 300Mbps wirelessly through 802.11n, in addition to b and g standards.
It's a true plug-and-play unit. Plug in the cables, and the screen prompts you for usernames and passwords, and you're ready to go.
The web-based configuration is easy to access through the 192.168.1.1 address of the router, and the simple UI of the software is pitched at beginners.
Smartly, it's multiple-SSID compatible, meaning it can provide up to four wireless networks with varying levels of access, security and bandwidth, which is perfect for a small office or business. For example, if used in a shop, the management could have fast bandwidth and intranet access, staff could have restricted and slower bandwidth and intranet access, while customers could have restricted access to the slower bandwidth still available.
Also, particularly for a small business, the USB port can be used to connect an all-in-one printer, which enables everyone on the network access to scanning, printing and copying functionality.
Asus has delivered a modem router with strong features for a reasonable price in the N12U. It's a sound investment with the USB port, far-ranging dual antennas and multi-wireless network functionality, quickly justifying its price tag. Any shared network could benefit from the USB port, with its ability to share a printer.
Single home users may not jump at the N12U, but small- to medium-size businesses will be battling each other to get to the head of the queue.
The Asus DSL-N12U is available for 1,950 baht. Visit tinyurl.com/9yrjkbe. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas.