The ASUS DSL-N66U (no fancy names here) lands at about the same price as Netgear’s Nighthawk but is a hell of a lot less flashy and much more industrial - does this mean it works like a machine?
Its looks are much more discreet with only a few dim LEDs for power, connection and the 2.4 and 5Ghz wireless. It doesn’t have AC wireless or a lot of the bells that the Netgear does, but it does have an inbuilt DSL and VDSL modem to completely replace your current (probably ISP provided) modem.
Setup is quick and simple with the information provided by your ISP. Mine (OrcaCom) provides all the information as standard and within two minutes I was up and running.
The router did do a firmware upgrade which kinda borked it on the first occasion, but following the standard IT support step of turning it off and on again, combined with a reset got it running again no problem. The update added the benefit of providing standard set-ups for New Zealand ISPs.
Speed wise, it’s good. It’s built on the open-source WRT framework (although theirs is called ASUSWRT), so has a lot of in-built functionality including guest networks, parental control (yes you can control how long someone can access the network for!), traffic management, DDNS, VPN and the ubiquitous cloud connection app for Google and iOS devices.
Is it flashy? No.
Does it do the job? Yes.
It’s pretty much what most people want from a modem router. It’s simple to set up, has functionality that will allow most users to learn to control their network and give them the capability to store data on their home network without it being up in someone else’s cloud.
It’s not cheap, but there are not a lot of other VDSL routers out there that are as simple to set up and use. It also has the benefit of being fibre capable, so if and when Chorus manage to plug you in, you can keep on using it to access ultra fast broadband.