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Asus RP-N53 Dual Band Wireless Range Extender Review

review asus wireless extender dual-band rp-n53 internet connectivity media playback

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#1 +Nexus18

Nexus18

    Neowinian

  • 225 posts
  • Joined: 02-January 09
  • Location: UK

Posted 16 December 2013 - 14:38

Firstly I would like to thank ASUS for providing me with this sample to review! :)

Packaging:

Nothing too fancy about the packaging, we have the usual information on the sides, front and back.

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Features:

This wireless range extender has quite a lot of nifty little features!

  • Dual-band concurrent range extender
  • 2 x on-board PCB antenna
  • 3.5mm Audio jack
  • Wireless media playback with ASUS AiPlayer app
  • One-press setup and worry-free connectivity via WPS button
  • Night light
  • Internet radio
  • Hands-on control for music and lighting

For more information on this extender, visit here.

Installation:

The whole setup process is relatively easy, it took a while to apply settings, connect, update the firmware etc. but nothing to get annoyed over. Hopefully things will be sped up with further firmware updates.

There are two ways to install this range extender;

Option 1:

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Option 2:

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Build Quality & Aesthetics:

Overall, this wireless range extender looks very nice and minimal, it is very compact too, I was expecting it to be a rather bulky appliance but was pleasantly surprised! It is also very light.

It measures in at 4.5 x 3.1 x 8.5 cm (WxDxH).

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The front of the device has a cross diagonal checkered textured gloss finish.

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At the bottom of the device, you have a blue LED strip, this is the power & signal strength indicator for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz modes, obviously the more lit up indicators there are, the stronger your signal is.

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Just above the blue LED strip, we have a touch sensitive panel, which can be used to turn the;

  • night light on/off
  • 2.4GHz light on/off
  • 5GHz light on/off
  • system light on/off
  • audio mute/unmuteIn the control panel, you can select/deselect any of the above options.

On the right hand side, you have a 10/100 Ethernet port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

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On the left hand side you have a reset button, on/off switch and the WPS button.

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On the lower back side of the extender, we have a small frosted piece of plastic which is the night light, the light is very subtle. Personally I don't really see the point of the night light and much prefer to have it switched off.

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No matter where you place this device, it will not look out of place!

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The device is well put together, it doesn't feel as sturdy as other appliances but given that it will just be sitting in a socket for most of the time, it doesn't really matter if it's not as solid feeling or premium as the likes of my HTC One S :p

Software:

Once you have setup the range extender, you can access the network control panel via your browser by visiting http://repeater.asus.com/ where you have a whole range of features/options.

The UI is pretty much the same as it is for ASUS routers. Everything is nicely laid out and overall the system is very easy to use.

Here are some of the main config. sections:

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Performance:

Now onto the most important part of the review!

I am running the latest firmware update, I downloaded it from here

My connection line is 60MB/s download and 3MB/s upload.

Unfortunately due to my internet setup, I am not able to fully test out certain things out such as the 5GHz band and due to Virgin's terrible superhub, wireless performance isn't the best i.e. wireless devices don't get the full speed (at least according to speedtest..........)

I have used two devices to carry out the speed and signal strength tests, my PC and mobile (HTC one S). I also ran the tests 3 times to ensure that the results weren't fluctuating thus a fair test.

PC before:

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PC after (using the repeater):

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Mobile before:

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Mobile after (using repeater):

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Bear in mind, the speed drop with my PC may not be due to the repeater but down to the superhub as it is well known that the superhub is very poor when it comes to wireless performance......

I have had a look at other reviews & user feedback and they don't seem to have the same problem.

Either way, as you can see, this extender does exactly what is required, it extends the WIFI range considerably and to the point that I am getting much better download speeds on my mobile now.

So far stability seems to be very good, no drop outs and browsing, streaming videos etc. is working great.

The wireless extender does get quite warm to touch, more so than my TP link wireless adapter and router, it is no worse than my phone after running a few benchmarks though.

Onto a very unique feature now, the wireless media playback function, unfortunately I don't have any speakers with a 3.5mm connection so was only able to try it out via earphones and I'm happy to report that it works very well, I am still not too sure as to the point of including this particular feature with this type of device, personally I can't see myself or any one that I know using this feature but maybe the majority out there would find it useful?

Below is a video demonstration from ASUS:



As for the android app, it does the job but the UI needs to be updated/changed to suit the google app design guidelines, at the minute it feels very basic and unpolished. Hopefully we get a UI update soon as well as some new features, possibly EQ controls.......

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The app is also available on Apple's app store.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, this device does exactly what is required whilst offering a very nice control panel for tweaking the settings amongst other little extras that you wouldn't expect. Even though I don't find the media playback a must have feature, it is very unique and at least you have the choice.

This device is just a bit too expensive for my liking, currently it costs about £70. You could buy a good router for roughly the same price.

Pros:

  • Very compact and nicely designed
  • Dual-band concurrent range extender
  • Wireless media play back
  • Simple installation procedure
  • 3 year warranty
  • Extends wireless range

Cons:

  • A bit too expensive