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ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless-AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Very Good Router With a lot of Potential 06/23/2014

This review is from: ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless-AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n

Pros: - Efficient upright design saves space on desk and the vents on top allow heat to dissipate. Some people felt this design was awkward looking and wanted this to have a wall mount kit. For my purposes I disagree and it has a simple design where form follows function.
- WAN/LAN ports along bottom back of unit for easy connection and organization.
- Strong WiFi signal throughout house on both 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz with fast link speeds.
- Easy to configure UI.
- Can turn off LED Lights.

Cons: - Configuration UI is unstable on HTTP connection and keeps locking up or becomes unresponsive. However, This is stable under HTTPS and can be configured in Administration → System → Authentication Method: BOTH. I contacted ASUS Tech Support for North America about this issue with HTTP on Win 8.1 Pro 64-bit on both the current versions of IE & Chrome. Their Tech support person did not seem to understand simple direct English and told me to do the exact same thing I told him I had already done (very frustrating).

- I installed the latest Firmware 3.0.0.4_347_5656, but there are still bugs with 2.4Ghz connections. After 2 days all of my 2.4Ghz Wireless-N connections had No Internet access even though they still had good link speeds to the router. Rebooting the router did not solve the problem. After much research I decided to install Merlin's (AsusWRT-Merlin) latest firmware 3.0.0.4_347.42_2 and the router has worked great for the last 3 weeks without needing to reboot. This issue was also in my Asus Tech Support ticket, but again they were less than helpful. They wanted the logs from when this happened, but as I explained the firmware had already been changed to Merlin. I would have to put their firmware back in place to get the logs when this occurs (Still frustrating).

Other Thoughts: Overall I am very happy with this router using the AsusWRT-Merlin firmware. I have this configured in Access Point (AP) Mode because I want my main Verizon FIOS router to handle all DHCP & NAT so that everything is on the same subnet (On the FIOS router change the ASUS router's IP from Dynamic to Static so it always gets the same IP). My Wireless-N 5Ghz clients are connecting at 300Mbps. Some of my Wireless-N 2.4Ghz clients can connect at 300Mbps and the rest connect at 150Mbps. I have one Wireless-AC client (Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4) and it gets a steady 500Mbps throughout my house. It all depends on what the client's wireless chipset supports.

I live in a Townhouse complex and all of my neighbors have wireless routers so there is a lot of interference on the 2.4Ghz band. On the Google Play Store I found a free app called WiFi Analyzer and installed it on my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro. This showed me all the wireless routers near my house and what channels they were using on both the 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz bands. You can then select your SSID and it will recommend the channel with the best performance. There was no competition on the 5Ghz band with my neighbors so I'm probably the only one using this for N & AC. This made a big difference in my 2.4Ghz band when I switched the router config to the recommended channel. I highly recommend this app to help tweak your wireless network especially if you have a lot of neighbors close by on the 2.4Ghz band.

There are a couple other things I did to increase range and performance in my house. Go to Wireless → General tab and change the Channel Bandwidth to 40Mhz (this worked better for my clients than the default 20/40Mhz). Go to the Wireless → Professional tab and change the Tx Power Adjustment to the max 200mW for both the 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz bands (this was better than the default of 80mW).

I believe most of the issues with this router are with the Firmware and not necessarily the hardware. This has a lot of potential, but ASUS needs better quality control when developing and testing their Firmware builds. And is it too much to ask that their Tech Support people handling U.S. customers can understand simple, direct English in emails?

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Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive WD20EFRX 2TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: - Runs Quiet & Stays Cool
- Rotational Speed controlled by IntelliPower (about 5400RPM, good for NAS, saves energy & runs cool)
- Time Limited Error Recovery (TLER) limits disk error recovery 7 – 8 seconds so RAID can take over without automatically failing drive and dropping from the Array
- Fast Read/Write Speeds in RAID-5 Array over Gigabit Ethernet (see comments below)
- Designed for NAS, RAID, and 24/7 support
- 3 Year Warranty
- Good Price for NAS Drive ($98 - $110 for 2TB)

Cons: None so far, but I've only been using for 1 week. I will update if any future issues occur. Too soon to give it 5 eggs.

Other Thoughts: I bought 3 of these 2TB drives for my Home Media File Server (HMFS) project to backup multiple Laptops and also be a DLNA Media Server for stored Movies, Music, & Pictures. This was a desktop I built in 2011 that still has very good specs (Quad-core 3.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, SATA 6Gbps).

I've read many reviews on Hardware/Software RAID options and ultimately decided to give Microsoft's new version of Storage Spaces (SS) built-in to Win 8 Pro a try. This is similar to Software RAID but designed to be more flexible, easily expanded, and easier to administer. I chose Parity for these 3 drives (like RAID-5).

A lot of reviews for SS Parity complained about slow Write speeds well under 100Mbps. I'm not sure how old their testing hardware was or how their networks were configured, but I've found the Write speeds to be very good. My home network consists of a FIOS Gigabit Ethernet Wireless-N Router and a Linksys WRT610N Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Ethernet Router (configured as Wireless Access Point only so all DHCP & NAT is on FIOS Router). All of my Ethernet cables are Cat6 Gigabit. As a real-world Write speed test I'm using Macrium Reflect to create Compressed Disk Image backups of the Laptops on our home network. This has some stats at the end of backup like Original Size, Backup Size, Backup Time, & Average Write speed. I ran several different comparisons as follows:

HMFS Internal SSD to SS Parity: Size 30GB, Time 00:07:23, Write 386.8Mbps
Laptop Cat6 to SS Parity: Size 36GB, Time 00:10:22, Write 477.6Mbps
Laptop Wireless-N to SS Parity: Size 36GB, Time 01:03:31, Write 37.9Mbps
* I only did a wireless backup as a test and don't do this for my regular backups because its too slow.

I also have another Gigabit NAS (WD MyBook Live Duo 2 x 3TB RAID-1 Mirror) on the network and did a backup for comparison: Size 36GB, Time 00:12:53, Write 229.9Mbps

I'm getting faster Write speeds to my SS Parity than to my other NAS RAID-1 Mirror. Overall I'm very impressed with the performance of these drives. Read speeds also seem very fast, but I haven't measured the actual specs. However, I'm using Serviio as the DLNA Media Server for Movies, Music, & Pictures I'm storing on the SS Parity volume. My DLNA clients (Panasonic BluRay Player, Xbox 360, Sony PS3, Sharp Quattron Smart TV, & Yamaha Home Theater Receiver) are all connected on Wireless-N 5Ghz, N 2.4Ghz, or G 2.4Ghz. Streaming HD MP4/M4V movies to these client is flawless without any lag in video or audio. Streaming Music or Pictures is a easy due to their smaller file sizes. I would definitely recommend these drives to anyone interested in building their own HMFS/NAS.

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WD My Book Live Duo 6TB Personal Cloud Storage
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Very Good NAS for the Price! 08/30/2012

This review is from: WD My Book Live Duo 6TB Personal Cloud Storage

Pros: • Network performance is good for streaming audio, video, photos, & backing up files due to the 800 MHz RISC CPU & Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to your home router.
• Small form factor that is well ventilated on top & bottom.
• DLNA/UPnP Media Server works well and easily streams A/V to my network devices (PS3, xBox360, Yamaha Home Theater, Sharp Smart TV, Panasonic Blu-Ray, & all PC’s.
• The iTunes Server also worked well and iTunes on my iMac (OS X Lion) had no problem seeing the library in the Shared Music folder.
• Easy to configure user interface.
• Drives can be spanned to access the full 6TB, or configured as RAID 1 Mirror (cuts capacity in half but provides data redundancy and if a drive goes bad it can be replaced without losing data).
• Power Saver feature seems to work well when not in use and doesn’t take too long to become active again when something is trying to access files (maybe a 10 – 20 second lag depending on what you are trying to stream/access).

Cons: • USB port only supports version 2.0 (anything made in 2012 should have version 3.0).
• Does not have the ability to turn off Guest access or modify guest privileges to the Public share and it automatically has full privileges (Read/Write).
• Setting up new User accounts also does not have the ability to assign Read Only privileges to the Public Share. I don’t always want every user on my network to have Write privileges to Public because my shared iTunes library, and shared photo library are stored on this share and I don’t want anyone to have full access to them but me.
• WD’s Personal Cloud website (wd2go.com) uses secure SharePoint to access this device. Unfortunately most Media Players on Win 7 (WMP, VLC, QuickTime, RealPlayer, etc.) can’t handle streaming video on the SharePoint protocol. The only Media Player I found that handled streaming video from this type of mapped drive is XBMC. Maybe someone knows how to fix this for the above players, but I never found any Google sear

Other Thoughts: Overall I’m very happy with the price, features, & performance of this NAS. Even though it is vented well, I found a small laptop cooler w/fan at Five Below for $5 and plugged it into the USB port. Cooler air is pushed up through the bottom and the hotter air leaves the top. This is ok for me since I never plug any extra drives into the USB port.
This supports AFP (Apple File Protocol) and originally I had no problems connecting to my private shares with AFP. However, about 2 weeks after it was setup, Apple came out with a security update to AFP and I could no longer see or connect to private shares. Apple Support said WD is using an open source AFP provider (probably Netatalk) and they need to update their security model. I contacted WD Support with this information and they had a new firmware released in 7 days that fixed this problem. I give WD a lot of credit for responding so quickly to this issue as most companies would have taken months to resolve.

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Nicholas L.'s Profile

Display Name: Nicholas L.

Date Joined: 03/06/11

  • Reviews: 6
  • Helpfulness: 6
  • First Review: 03/22/11
  • Last Review: 06/23/14
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