ASUS is well-known for its PC components and notebooks, but less known are their networking solutions, especially when people opt for brands that mainly focus on networking hardware. The RT-N14U is a wireless router from the Taiwanese manufacturer, and beats its contemporaries by virtue of looking and performing well.
Looks are almost always an afterthought when purchasing wireless routers, often necessitating the need to hide them in some obscure corner. The RT-N14U comes in an all-black shell with a cross-hatch pattern on the top face, providing an elegant feel. The slim profile also makes it easier to position. It lacks external antennas, which, in this case, trades coverage for easier placement. To place the router, you can either use the provided stand, which lets it stand with a slight slant; or you can mount it on your wall, as it has two mounting holes on the back.
Looking at the product packaging, the RT-N14U belongs to ASUS’ “Wireless N300” family, which is a fancy way of saying that this is a mid-range product. The two internal antennas provide a coverage area of 200 square meters, which is great for SOHOs or SMBs. The router is compatible with 802.11b/g/n standards, playing nice with current devices.
Looking at the back, you will find five network ports, one USB port, the power jack, and the obligatory power and WPS buttons. Oddly enough, the reset button is located at the bottom of the device, making it hard for people to access it should they mount it on a wall.
Setting the route up is pretty simple: just connect your modem to the white-bordered port, get it hooked to a power socket, and have your computer configure it once it’s on. If you want some extra functionalities, then you can do some further setup, but for your basic home/office wireless networking, the aforementioned will get you by.
The router’s USB port lets you share either a printer or an external hard drive. For the latter, you can use the ASUS AiCloud feature, which lets you share and access content found in either linked computers, ASUS WebStorage or your friend’s AiCloud. Think of it as a small-scale private cloud.
Other features found in the RT-N14U include Download Master, which does what it says, downloading content even if your PC is turned off; Guest Access, which lets you create separate networks for visitors; and Parental Control, which sets time limits on computers linked to the network.
To test the wireless coverage, I placed the router in the middle of the MAX-IT premise, and walked to the far ends with a tablet, an Android smartphone and a notebook. THe RT-N14U managed to provide a solid connection throughout, only slipping slightly when approaching the far ends of the office. In comparison, the wireless network strength is halved at the far ends when using the office router. Suffice to say, the RT-N14U does its job pretty well.
If you’re looking for a feature-packed wireless router that does not break the bank, the RT-N14U will do just the trick.