Asus RT-N13U Wireless N Router with All-In-One Printer Server

Asus' inexpensive 802.11n router is a bit of a bargain, although it does also bring with it some bargain basement sensibilities.


8.8
CNET Rating
4.5
User Rating

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Design

The RT-N13U's design most closely mirrors the design of many of Netgear's routers, albeit in a smaller form factor. It's a vertically mounted router with a moulded plastic base. The practical upshot of that is that it only visually works vertically. If you placed it on its side it would have a rather unfortunate tilt, and there's nothing you can do to change it. The back of the router houses four standard 10/100 Ethernet ports, one inbound Ethernet port and a single USB 2.0 port.

One interesting part of the RT-N13U's design is that one of the key functions of the router isn't controlled by software, but by a switch on the bottom of the unit. Normally hidden from view, this lets you choose between router, repeater and access point duties for the unit, depending on your needs.

Features

The RT-N13U is an 802.11n router working solely in the 2.4GHz band. They're becoming increasingly common, even in the unit's admittedly attractive price range. The other feature that Asus heavily promotes with the RT-N13U is its ability to work as a print server via direct USB connection. The RT-N13U also offers a BitTorrent client utility, called "Download Master". Once installed, it'll shift downloading duty to the router, with right-click functionality in supported browsers and the ability to download directly through the router rather than the PC whenever you like. To get that particular function to work you'll need to insert a USB Flash drive in order to have somewhere to store your downloaded torrents and files.

The single USB port on the RT-N13U has a double duty to perform. Plug a USB drive into it, and the RT-N13U acts as an FTP file server to any connected client. Plug in a USB printer and run the Windows-only printer sharing client, and you can share a printer to other connected clients, even when the original set-up PC is powered down. The only real shame here is that the one port has to perform two functions, meaning you've got to pick between them.

Performance

Configuration of the RT-N13U can either be performed with the supplied installation CD or via a fairly standard web interface, which splits the unit's functionality between a simplified interface, complete with its own animated guide. Asus' guide is called "Dr Surf", and frankly we found him pretty cheesy and not all that useful if you weren't already au fait with networking terminology anyway.

Getting a printer shared with the RT-N13U should be pretty simple. It's a windows-only function, and relies on you setting the router as a virtual printer port. All fair enough in theory, but in our tests we couldn't actually get a printer up and working with the unit. Annoyingly, the user manual suggests checking Asus' website for a list of compatible models, but amongst the support documentation for the RT-N13U there's a distinct lack of such a list. Your luck may vary, but as it stands we can't recommend the RT-N13U on its print serving savvy.

We tested the RT-N13U in our standard test environment for signal strength and throughput with a standard directory of files. As always, interference sources vary from place to place and results can vary in different locations.

Signal strength: 2.4GHz

Distance from router
5m
15m (minor walls)
15m (multiple walls)
Asus RT-N13U 87% 60% 59%
iiNet BoB 90% 55% 54%
NetComm 3G18Wn 83% 59% 59%
Belkin N+ Wireless Router 88% 63% 62%
Edimax nMax AR-7265Wn 77% 58% 55%
NetComm NP802n 79% 49% 52%
Linksys WRT610N 79% 50% 53%
Netgear WNDR3300 85% 44% 45%
Netgear WNHDEB111 84% 50% 55%
Linksys WAG160N 70% 53% 48%
Billion BiPAC 7300N 75% 59% 54%
Conceptronic 300Mbps 92% 62% 60%

The Asus RT-N13U's performance in signal terms was quite decent for a router this inexpensive.

Throughput: 2.4GHz

Distance between PCs
2m, no barriers
20m, multiple walls
Asus RT-N13U 25.63Mbps 25.38Mbps
iiNet BoB 21.5Mbps 21.5Mbps
NetComm 3G18Wn 27.6Mbps 27.6Mbps
Belkin N+ Wireless Router 31.75Mbps 31.35Mbps
Edimax nMax AR-7265Wn 2.95Mbps 3.09Mbps
NetComm NP802n 18.2Mbps 16.4Mbps
Linksys WRT610N 22.3Mbps 7.91Mbps
Netgear WNDR3300 11.8Mbps 9.81Mbps
Netgear WNHDEB111 18.4Mbps 16.7Mbps
Linksys WAG160N 19.8Mbps 15.2Mbps
Billion BiPAC 7300N 21Mbps 13.3Mbps
Conceptronic 300Mbps 15Mbps 7.7Mbps

The Asus RT-N13U's throughput performance was impressive. Sure, it's not the absolute fastest router we've ever tested, but it's awfully close, and for a fraction of the price of our fastest units.

The Asus RT-N13U isn't the slickest model, and we do wish the company offered better online documentation for its print server features. Still, there's no denying that with an asking price of AU$99 — and several online merchants undercutting that price at the time of writing — it's something of a bargain in the pure 802.11n stakes.

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AndrewO posted a comment   

Giving this router 1 star out of 5 is generous. My roommate, who is network savvy, and I spent 3 hours trying to set this thing up, and STILL cannot get either printer to work (Brother and Samsung laser printers). Due to the double router system we have, the old d-link worked fine connecting to the Internet via a LAN port. The ASUS flat-out refuses to connect through anything BUT the WAN port, meaning my roommate cannot connect to the router nor the printer at all, which is why I bought this thing. It was on clearance, so no refunds unless it outright does not work. It is flaky as hell. What a waste of money and time! Avoid this POS like the plague!

 

AudioElder posted a comment   
Australia

My wife and I can't get our iPad to recognize our new HP Photosmart C310 printer, although HP says it's supposed to work with the iPad. Our PC laptops have no trouble finding the printer through the Asus router, but the iPad just cannot.

Is this because the router doesn't pass Apple's "Bonjour" packets?

Any help?

ITProfessional
7
Rating
 

ITProfessional posted a review   

The Good:Fast, stable, user friendly

The Bad:IPTV over WiFi, B1 rev. no alternative firmware

Good choise for home and small office.

Pooh
2
Rating
 

Pooh posted a review   

The Good:A lot of features, although haven't tested all of them yet.

The Bad:Print server function is very erratic

Connnected an HP Deskjet 1280 printer to its USB port for print server function. Printer detection is a hit and miss. This is a recently bought Wireless N Router unit. Have encountered printer detection problem on 3 separate occassions already. Every time I have to reset the router to factory default. Then and only then will the HP Printer be detected again (on the Network Map). But then I have to set up everything again on this router. A really unreliable unit.

 

Bso posted a comment   

The Good:It is very good. Everything about it :)

The Bad:In the software the reboot button is very easy to get to

I have a home office. So when I shop for something I not only want it to work I want it to look good. this product just so happen to have both for a really low price and the USB port was just a add on for me!!!!
Great product :)

 

I-KiKi posted a comment   

There is a 3.5G dongle support firmware on Sourceforge.
Can anybody test it?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/eveasusrt-n13u/




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User Reviews / Comments  Asus RT-N13U Wireless N Router with All-In-One Printer Server

  • AndrewO

    AndrewO

    "Giving this router 1 star out of 5 is generous. My roommate, who is network savvy, and I spent 3 hours trying to set this thing up, and STILL cannot get either printer to work (Brother and Samsung ..."

  • AudioElder

    AudioElder

    "My wife and I can't get our iPad to recognize our new HP Photosmart C310 printer, although HP says it's supposed to work with the iPad. Our PC laptops have no trouble finding the printer through th..."

  • ITProfessional

    ITProfessional

    Rating7

    "Good choise for home and small office."

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