ASUS, a brand famous for computer and gaming peripherals, is also known in the networking space, albeit high-end. A new entrant to their wireless router series is the DSL-AC68U, which packs in future-proof features and is ready for use in any SOHO environment. The DSL-AC68U is a two-in-one device – an ADSL modem built into a single-two band wireless router, meant for speed and convenience. The ADSL router can be configured as a single-point Internet and network routing device for small to medium business environments.
The DSL-AC68U is a neat-looking wireless router. It features an all-black exterior made of plastic with a matte-finished rear and a semi-glossy checkered front panel. Hoisted on the roof of the router are three user-replaceable dBi antennas that can be placed at different angles depending on the user’s needs. The front panel sports 10 LED indicators, one each for the networking ports, power, Wi-Fi band connectivity, WAN, DSL and USB device connectivity. The right side features a WPS button along with a wireless on/off switch.
The rear panel sports a large grille for cooling the internal components. Ports available on the rear panel are four Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connectors, one RJ11 DSL connector, a USB 3.0 port and a power switch with a DC socket. A reset button is also placed on the rear panel for resetting the router completely to factory defaults.
The router measures 220 x 83.3 x 160 mm and weighs 640g. Equipped with a base that acts as a stand and the ASUS DSL-AC68U has no wall mounting options. However, the router takes up a small footprint, which should not be of much concern.
On the feature front, the ASUS DSL-AC68U packs a future-proof chipset. The DSL modem supports VDSL2/ADSL2+/ADSL2/ADSL multimode with up to 100Mbps/100Mbps upstream/downstream. On the networking front, the DSL-AC68U supports four Gigabit Ethernet ports for up to four computers on a physical network or for connecting it to network switches for multiple computers in the office. Wi-Fi connectivity support includes dual-band support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz devices, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n and IEEE 802.11ac connectivity, including future IPv6 networking. The AC68U can perform with speeds of up to 600 + 1300Mbps speeds, depending on the device that wirelessly connects to the router. Three dBi antennas are equipped for MIMO wireless connectivity. The antennas are user-replaceable and can be replaced for higher wireless range, if required.
Apart from networking connectivity, the DSL-AC68U is also capable of serving the network with additional features. Equipped with a USB 3.0 port on the rear panel, you can connect external storage devices to use the router as a basic NAS and share storage on the network, or connect a USB printer to use it as a print server for the entire network. Apart from using it as a basic NAS, with the connected storage, you could also configure the router as an FTP server or a download server. Using the USB 3.0 port, one can also connect 3G/4G internet dongles to have a backup/load-balancing internet service, in case the DSL network goes down. Special features of the DSL-AC68U also include AiCloud, Multiple SSIDs and Parental Control for a robust future-proof office networking.
The DSL-AC68U features strong security features, which include 64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, Radius with 802.1x and WPS support. VPN support includes IPSec Pass-Through, PPTP Pass-Through, L2TP Pass-Through, PPTP server, OpenVPN server, PPTP client, L2TP client and OpenVPN client. Equipped with a dual-core processor and 256MB of RAM, the ASUS DSL-AC68U is a feature-rich router for a simple, yet powerful office networking router.
Installation of the ADSL router is pretty simple and could be done by any user with a little configuration skills at hand. Similar to any other router, the ASUS DSL-AC68U needs be configured using a conventional browser. Power-up the router and connect a PC physically using an Ethernet cable or using the wireless mode and hit the router’s home page using any internet browser in Windows, Mac or Linux PCs.
Configuring the router is simple and the intuitive user interface of the router can take you through a step-by-step mode to configure the router with simple, basic and secure features. You can always switch to full mode for a complete setup.
Digging deeper into the router’s firmware setup, you can find some interesting features that can be tweaked for your office or home. For example, you can setup multiple SSIDs for different types of users. This mode can isolate users from each other, preventing intrusion and also the spread of viruses across networks. You can also use the router to shape your traffic according to your needs—set the upload and download bandwidth speeds depending on your internet plans. You can use the router as a basic internet sharing device or configure it to bridge modes for use as a wireless access point or a repeater. If your DSL service provider also supplies IPTV services, you can use the same router and allocate one or two Ethernet ports for IPTV use only, making it even convenient for home users to use the router as a single device on the network.
If you are using an external DSL modem or if you are using a direct Ethernet-based internet service, you can also configure the router to use the DSL, WAN or USB dongle as fail-over connections in case one of the internet connections go down, to have an uninterrupted internet service. The router also supports WoL (Wake on LAN), using which, one can trigger the power of the router from a remote location.
To sum up the whole, the ASUS DSL-AC68 ADSL router is a single piece of equipment that once can consider as a router upgrade. If you don’t need an ADSL modem, you could simply switch it off, but it won’t be a smart investment, unless you think of going ADSL in future. The great build quality, MIMO speeds, dual-band functionality and feature-rich connectivity, puts the ASUS DSL-AC68U router on the recommended router’s list for SOHO environments.
Considering the equipment we use today at home (tablets, smartphones, laptops) and the way we use the internet (downloading media, saving to the cloud), the DSL-AC68U seems like a good investment for homes too. The ASUS DSL-AC68U is priced at an MOP of Rs 19,000. Considering the price point, the ASUS DSL-AC68U may sound like an expensive investment for a simple home or SOHO, but given the features and future-proof capabilities, the ASUS DSL-AC68U is worth the upgrade....