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Reviewing The ASUS RP-AC56 Wireless-AC1200 Dual-Band Range Extender

测评 bingge 2016-07-15 1589 次浏览 个评论

ASUS just launched a new generation of range extenders which promise to improve their support for modern wireless networking standards and frequencies. Also, they are better equipped to work with the modern routers that have invaded the market in the last year or so. The high-end product of this new generation of range extenders by ASUS, is ASUS RP-AC56. We tested it for about two weeks, made several measurements and we are now ready to share our conclusions, in this review:

Unboxing The ASUS RP-AC56 Wireless-AC1200 Dual-band Range Extender

The ASUS RP-AC56 Wireless-AC1200 dual-band range extender is packaged in a similar way to many other ASUS networking devices. On the front of the box you see a picture of the device and some of its most important specifications.

On the back of the package, you can view a comparison with other ASUS range extenders from this new generation. As you can see, ASUS RP-AC56 is the most powerful range extender from this new family of devices.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Inside the main box you'll find another cardboard box that's designed to protect the range extender against shocks.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Inside this second box you will find the range extender, the quick start guide and the warranty card.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

This is all you need to get started. But, before setting it up, let's see what this device has to offer in terms of hardware specifications:

Hardware Specifications

The ASUS RP-AC56 range extender offers support for all modern networking standards, including 802.11ac. Its total theoretical bandwidth is 1167 Mbps: 300 Mbps for the 2.4GHz wireless network and 867 Mbps for the 5GHz wireless network. The device has two large external antennas, which you can see in the picture below.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

On the front of the device, there are three LEDs which indicate whether the range extender is turned on and the status of the two wireless networks it is broadcasting. There's also the WPS button and a Reset button.

On the bottom side of the ASUS RP-AC56 you have a button for turning the device on and off.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

On its left side, there is an Ethernet port that you can use to connect other network devices to the range extender and, implicitly, to your network.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

On the right side of the device you will find a 3.55mm audio jack that you can use to plug in a set of headphones or speakers, in order to use the Internet radio feature offered by this range extender.

The official specifications of this product can be found here: ASUS RP-AC56 Specifications.



Setting Up & Using The ASUS RP-AC56 Wireless-AC1200 Dual-band Range Extender

You can connect the ASUS RP-AC56 range extender to your network in one of two ways: using the WPS standard or connecting a laptop to its wireless network and then using a web browser to set it up. Both methods worked well in our testing.

When connecting to the range extender via a web browser, you first go through the setup wizard. ASUS has upgraded this wizard when compared to the previous generation and we found it easier to use. However, some words are misspelled and someone from ASUS should do a bit of proofreading and word fixing here and there.

First, you are asked to select the wireless networks which you want the range extender to, well, extend.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

You need to type the passwords for both networks in order for the ASUS RP-AC56 to connect to them. You can also set the names of the wireless networks broadcasted by the range extender.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Once the initial setup is done, you are asked to change the default username and password, as they are not secure and anyone can login using "admin/admin". It is a great security precaution and we appreciate ASUS for being proactive with their users.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

The administration panel did not change from the previous generation and that's not a bad thing. The user interface is available in 12 languages and it's easy to use and understand. This device can be set to work as a repeater, as an access point or as a media bridge, depending on what you want it to do.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

When we tested it, we used the firmware that was available at the time - version 3.0.0.4.378_6655-g3325802. We had no issues in connecting other devices to the range extender and our wireless connections were stable and working well.

What's important about a range extender is the performance and coverage it offers, so we quickly started our measurements. Read the next section to see what we have learned about ASUS RP-AC56:



First, let's take a look at a diagram of how our test apartment is set up. It is a reasonably large apartment and, if you don't have very good router, the wireless coverage can get rather weak in rooms like the kitchen or the medium balcony which are far away from it. You can see that we have placed the router in the living room and the range extender in the hallway. The router that we used is ASUS RT-AC56U. We mounted the range extender on the hallway, to improve the wireless coverage in the rooms that are farther away from the router.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

We compared ASUS RP-AC56 with two other range extenders: ASUS RP-AC52 (a device from the previous generation of ASUS range extenders, to see if there are any meaningful improvements when compared to past devices) and TP-LINK RE210 (a new range extender from ASUS's main competitor).

We started by measuring the wireless signal strength in all the rooms where we use our wireless devices. For this task we used a tool named inSSIDer. Since this is a dual-band range extender, we measured the signal strength for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks.

As you can see below, the signal strength doesn't seem to be an improvement area for ASUS RP-AC56 when looking at the 2.4 GHz wireless network.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

However, it does get better on the 5 GHz wireless network, at least when compared with a range extender from ASUS's previous generation of products.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Since the signal strength is not an indicator of how fast a range extender is, we moved on to the next set of measurements. We used SpeedTest to see how fast the Internet connection is when using the 2.4GHz wireless network.

As you can see below, ASUS RP-AC56 provides slightly slower downloads than its predecessor - ASUS RP-AC52, on the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

The same is true in terms of upload speed on the 2.4 GHz wireless network.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

We moved on the the 5 GHz wireless network. Here we noticed meaningful improvements in all rooms. It looks like ASUS RP-AC56 focuses a lot more on modern 5GHz wireless networks than on older 2.4 GHz wireless networks.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

We also noticed the same trend when measuring the upload speed on the Internet.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Then, we used LAN Speed Test Lite to measure the download and upload speeds when transferring a 350 MB file on the wireless network broadcasted by ASUS RP-AC56. Unfortunately, we did not perform this test in the past and we have comparison data only with the TP-LINK RE210 range extender.

In the graph below, we can easily notice that ASUS RP-AC56 delivers reasonably fast downloads across all rooms in our test apartment and it's definitely faster than the TP-LINK RE210.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

The same is true when we looked at the upload speed over the network.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Lastly, we measured the download and upload speed when using the 5GHz wireless network. Again, ASUS RP-AC56 proved to be a very capable device.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Uploads though were not as fast as we expected them. In some rooms, the more affordable TP-LINK RE210 range extender was faster.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

Our testing has shown that ASUS focused on delivering fast 5GHz wireless network connections. ASUS RP-AC56 is quite fast when extending networks using this frequency. However, older generation devices are faster than ASUS RP-AC56 when extending 2.4 GHz wireless networks.



Special Features

ASUS RP-AC56 offers as an extra-feature, a 3.5mm stereo audio port where you can plug in a speaker, a stereo system or an earphone. You can use that port to listen to online radio stations. This feature can be turned on from the device's configuration menus. You also have an app for this feature available for iPhone and Android, which you can download from their respective stores.

ASUS RP-AC56, AC1200, dual band, wireless, range, extender, repeater, access point, review, test, benchmark

All we can say is that this feature works well but we don't think it will be an important selling point for most users.



ASUS RP-AC56 is a capable range extender that's very good at extending modern wireless networks that use the 5GHz wireless frequency. When it comes to older networks using the 2.4 GHz frequency, previous generation devices from ASUS tend to be faster. However, its performance is not bad in this situation either. It's just not as stellar as it is when extending 5GHz wireless networks.


Overall, ASUS RP-AC56 is a solid device that will do well in large apartments and houses, when you need to extend fast wireless networks that use modern standards like 802.11ac. Since this is a top-tier range extender, it is more expensive than other devices of its kind, so do keep this aspect in mind.


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