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Time keeps on slipping into the future, as the Steve Miller band once told us, and the future means faster internet connections. Eventually it will be so fast that you won’t even think about it in terms of speed anymore, it’ll be like turning on the light in your room. Do you know exactly how many watts or amperes your house or flat users? Very few people do…

But before we get to that point, there’s 802.11ac wireless, the latest standard and the one to take over from 802.11n. Overseen by the IEEE, the new standard has just been formulated (with modifications still pending), but its main feature is higher speed via 5GHz transmission.

The ASUS RT-AC66U is one of the world’s first routers to be designed especially for this new Wi-Fi standard, and uses a dual-band structure. The more conventional 2.4GHz band can carry up to 450Mbps, while the 5GHz band works in 802.11ac and maxes at a nice 1.3Gbps. Since the two bands can work concurrently that gives you a theoretical top 1.75Gbps to play around with. That’s a lot of bandwidth so it’s little wonder the RT-AC66U was quite an attraction at Computex.

The sample I have here with me is a retail box, so let’s take a look at what ASUS has sent our way.

 

The front of the box highlights the inclusion of 5G Wi-Fi technology from Broadcom: the combined speed, the very versatile dual USB 2.0 ports, and ASUS AiCloud. The latter we’ve talked about before – it’s a free app for your iOS or Android device that turns the RT-AC66U into your own private cloud server. Any device connected to the router whether by wired, wireless, or USB can be accessed remotely with easy content management, syncing and sharing. AiCloud also works together with ASUS WebStorage for to allow for more cloud space.

 

Closer look at the highlights, with a mention of the 3-year warranty.

 

Side view of the box with additional highlights: ASUSWRT easy install and setup, VPN server and Download Master, which can do remote silent background downloads with your PC turned off, saving energy as it goes.

 

Explanation of ASUS AiRadar technology which shapes and directs signals to ensure more consistent and stable transmission to devices.

 

Close up illustration of AiCloud. I especially like the friend AiCloud graphics – those two look genuinely friendly!

 

Some specs and mention that the RT-AC66U is IPv6 compatible, supports Mac OS and even has an impressive 256MB of RAM to expedite processing.

 

I’ve already removed all the wrapping from items, but the shipping box is clearly once more the sturdy good stuff we’re used to from ASUS.

 

These are the accessories, though you don’t really need the manual or drivers to be honest. The bracket/stand is the most interesting here, allowing for vertical placement.

 

That’s the stand right there. With both horizontal and vertical placement options you have more flexibility in choosing where to put your RT-AC66U, which is great for space-conscious folks.

 

The RT-AC66U ships with three detachable and upgradable antennas.

 

Here’s the router finally out of the box with the black diamond design we’ve seen on previous ASUS routers such as the RT-N56U.

 

A closer look at the black diamond pattern.

 

The side profile is quite slim. Sure, not the world’s smallest router, but for the tech you get inside this is quite modest.

 

That’s what the router looks like after I’ve connected the three antennas.

 

The two USB 2.0 ports turn the the RT-AC66U into an instant multi-use device like many of its ASUS router peers. It can act as a printer and scanner server, file server, and of course AiCloud server, all assisted by the added ease of USB.

 

This is what the RT-AC66U looks like with the stand attached – pretty nifty if you need to save space or just want a change of pace!

The ASUS RT-AC66U will be worldwide soon as 802.11ac becomes more widely accepted. We will be doing speed tests and product videos for it, so stay with us!

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