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When you think of wireless routers, you may conjure images of drab looking devices that are a hassle to set up and come replete with compatibility issues. That’s not the case anymore, with many routers incorporating auto setup and friendly user interfaces that make it easy to get up and running.

But few look as good as the RT-N56U, this new mega-router we’ve come across. What attracted us aren’t necessarily the specs, but the look – straight out of 2001: a Space Odyssey, this one. 

Shaped like a diamond and very thin, the RT-N56U does pack a connectivity punch in addition to its startling countenance. Probably the key feature here is the wide wireless range, which can switch between different bands, notably 2.4GHz and the very fast 5GHz. With the 2.4GHz range getting very crowded in urban areas, going up to 5GHz should speed up connections, at least until everyone else catches up.

The theoretical speed for this wireless router is 600Mbps, which is quite high, but ASUS is telling us realistic performance should be in the neighborhood of 350Mbps with 300,000 concurrent data sessions, still higher than most routers.

The power to shape 

RT-N56U uses something called beamforming, or AI Radar. This feature supposedly allows the device to adapt to its current environment, detecting congestion and rerouting wireless connectivity around bottlenecks to maximize performance. This sounds like it might be a very handy feature for people in dense residential and office areas, where the airwaves are rife with competition. Basic routers just keep pounding away until they get through, but a smart router can reduce lag by seeking out more vacant frequencies.

 As a wired router and modem, the RT-N56U features the new Gigabit FTTH protocol, which is the so-called super high speed internet, with rates close to 1Gbps. These types of connections aren’t available to most consumers just yet, but having this capability on board the RT-N56U shows the forward thinking its designers had in mind.

For the looks and features, we think this is a tremendously attractive wireless router. It just looks so cool sitting there – honestly this is the first time we’ve felt this good about a wireless router, especially since it comes with the ASUS EZ UI interface. This piece of software negates the need for drivers and a lengthy install, plus it detects network components automatically, so most users should have very little issues getting this router to work.

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