The RT-N12HP is what ASUS classifies as a “High Power Router”, and is positioned as a entry-to-mid range solution as part of the Wireless-N300 family. The main feature that sets it apart from the previous ASUS router I reviewed (the RT-N14U) is its extremely long external antennas. The product packaging states that the antenna each measure 38cm, and I’m inclined to believe that.
The outer shell of the route is a classy piano black with a cross-hatch pattern, though I doubt that you will look at the unit, with all your attention diverted to the antennas. Still, the base unit itself has an elegant feel going for it, and the black paintjob is a form of stylistic camouflage, enabling you to hide it a bit more easily. The antennas though… not so much.
The RT-N12HP trades off extras like USB connectivity and modules like AiCloud and Download Master for wider signal coverage, done with a pair of 38cm high power antennas. Prominently displayed on the packaging is its claim of transmitting 300% wider coverage through the duo of 9dBi antennas. The antennas seem a teensy bit flimsy, though, occasionally being unable to stand at a 90-degree angle without flopping about. They do stay put once you’ve installed them properly, so just set it and forget it, and don’t move the antennas unless you absolutely need to.
Taking a look at the back, you will find 5 RJ-45 ports, one of which is for the source of your network. The router is compatible with 802.11b/g/n standards, so if you’re one of the few who’s still stuck with 802.11a, this will not work for you.
Setup is simple enough, with you plugging in your Internet source to the router and going through the admin page for some additional configuration. You are able to create multiple SSIDs (up to 4) if you want to split your network users neatly. The multiple SSIDs are great in a corporate setting, when your visitors want to stay connected, while keeping them away from the sensitive bits of your establishment.
To test the coverage area, the router was positioned in the middle of the MAX-IT premises, and I walked to both ends of the office with an Android smartphone, an Android tablet and a notebook on hand. Even in the midst of walls, partitions and doors, the RT-N12HP lives up to its “High Power” title, with only a slight dip in signal strength on the smartphone.
If you’re looking for a router that provides a wide coverage area, then the RT-N12HP is your best bet.