Asus Routers

December 18, 2014

I decided to test out a new router from Asus about two weeks ago. I have a netgear that is working fine, but found out that even with the ability to install the open source firmware, the wireless was still not working for me. So I searched around and found the Asus routers. I thought I give them a shot since I have used their motherboards in years past. I stopped using them because they felt like they had an expiration  and would die about the same time. Fast forward some years later and now they also make routers so here we are. As it turns out my netgear also didn't have any more options for the DDNS other than just dyndns which is no longer free and the only option on their routers. I contacted them about updates but was told it couldn't be updated. I ended up updating it to ddwrt but since it still didn't work I ended up just going to a new router instead.

First I tried the lower priced asus RT-AC52U which worked just fine, but was not gigabit and didn't have a usb 3 port which I also wanted. Along with a few more options under the wan for ddns. I like how I could also edit the client names under it to make it easier to know what they were. I also like the many other options that it came with out of the box. Since it was small, it was also very light and the wires tended to pretty much pull it off my shelf. In short I decided to exchange it for the next model up with usb 3 and all gigabit. I should note that this model was manufactured in 2014.

The model I decided on was the RT-AC56U since this one was a bit larger and had the hardware specs I wanted. Now most people won't need this, but I had very specific needs that my old router didn't have so this is the reason I had to look for something new. Once I got this installed and the firmware upgraded things seem to work fine. The only thing this one doesn't allow me to do is rename the components under the network map/clients which the first model did. The usb 2 is still a dog to use on the router as I tested that, but the usb 3 was a little better and it's nice to be able to put a drive right there for anything I need to access without going all the way to the nas for example as it's also a bit old. This gives me some quick storage access if or when I need it. Now the nice thing about this router is that it comes with more features than most home routers I have seen. For example you also get a vpn server, some logs that you can actually see, USB 3, parental controls, guest networks that can be set up and also a few android/ios apps that you can use to also connect to your router. One of the other neat features was the ability for me to remotely turn on my desktop so it didn't have to stay on all the time. For many of these features you had to get a few different and very expensive components. Now that router can do them and that works perfect for me as I just don't have much room or money to keep buying different things. When I got mine I noticed it had been manufactured in 2013 and so were all the rest at the store, but I thought I give it a try anyway and so far it's been fine.

I was out of town for a bit and ended up setting the RT-AC56R in another state which is basically the same router as the U, but R stands for the retail version which you can find at any of the other stores like walmart for example. The setup after the firmware upgrade was just as painless as my first one. Both are running the same version too. Unfortunately they had AT&T Uverse which worked fine, but their modems don't have an actual bridge mode so the router ended up being double NATed. Which means you now end up with two networks instead of a single one. In order to access the router I needed to get through the first router which I managed to do and got things connected, but in the end I just could access the network from outside since you can't set this access up when the asus router is double NATed.  Yes I took care of all the firewall settings. So all those remote functions can't be used at this point. I sure hope those modems get updated with something that's easier to change and configure. Not to mention it was such a pain just trying to get them to update that old modem. Of course the reason for the new routers is to make my life easier when it comes to helping others remotely at the other end of that router. I can also do this in other ways, but I like to simplify my life as much as possible.

So the next thing I wanted to do was to register my new router just in case. Of course this isn't as simple as I thought since finding that page was not that simple. So here's the main page link. Scroll to the bottom and there you will find Product Registration under Need Help? Just make a new account with your email and own password. I don't like to log in with any FB or Google + accounts for obvious reasons.

http://www.asus.com/us/

Then you get this page. At the bottom of the page under log in you will see the sign up now option, hit that and go from there.
https://account.asus.com/loginform.aspx?skey=124a03a578df430aac400b5ef3609ca4

Why is registration a good thing, because if anything goes bad you won't have to look for all this later as it will be in the system and god knows we don't lose stuff like receipts or remember when and where it was bought. I'm currently doing this for an old PSU that I can't remember where and when I got it, but I contacted the manufacturer because the lcd is bad and can't be read so although they may fix that, it makes it easier on both ends to have this information for later retrieval when you do need help with it. This goes for any components so it just makes things go a bit faster too.

January 20, 2015
I just wanted to make a quick update and so far the router has been working fine. There was a firmware update again since there was some other security update and they also updated the router where I can now rename some of the components under the clients. I wanted this since some of the clients like a switch show up with random numbers and it's hard to tell what they are. So that is now working too which I really like.

Unfortunately the only thing I really hate is ATT since they make you jump through hoops with their U-Verse Modem. There is no simple way to switch them to bridge mode. So even though the router is working fine, I still can't get access to the one I set up out of state unfortunately. I'm not going to mess with it remotely as they need everything to be up. I just can check on it remotely unless someone can work with me on the other side which is tough if they don't do this sort of work. This was the whole point of using this type of router in the first place, but as you can see you can still run into problems.

UPDATE:
October 14, 2015
It got really hot around here lately and during the really hot days this summer, the router started acting up due to the heat. So I had to put a fan on it. I just solder some wires to a hard drive fan and stuck it to the back of the router. It's been working fine since. It's not as hot now but I just left it on. This is one problem that won't be easy to diagnose, but since my network is small, it wasn't too bad. I think the case needs a bit more work but it is what it is for now. It's just a weird shape.

I have also started playing with their Asus AICloud web access and you can't make any other users for it unfortunately which I guess it's fine since it's just a usb drive you are using. I just didn't want to keep logging in with the main account in order to get to some share files or share a few folders, but it is what it is. The only problem I have ran into is the share link manager which I'm guessing is what allows you to see what share links you have made. I created one to test and then I wanted to make sure it was deleted even though I specifically made it for one week. Here's what that looks like. Unfortunately I didn't check this right away, so I could say if anything ever showed up here.

Nothing shows up and when I checked the box, I get this pop up, in Chinese. You can see something is not working well, or if it is I have no idea what that says. Also, the drive has stayed on after I did this at night, which tells me something isn't right since it normally goes to sleep when I am not using it, which is most of the time. I sent a message but haven't seen anything change.

UPDATE:
October 25, 2016
The AC-U56 has been working okay for the most part, but once it got updated to the following firmware through the router itself, the firmware doesn't match anything on their website.  When I hit traffic analyzer I get this.


 So I decided to update the firmware which by the way it doesn't always works from within the router. Unfortunately now I get this.

 Here's the router firmware from the software itself.

 Here's the versioning on on their website. These things really need to get updated and corrected. I am now using this just as an AP and have purchased a different router from another manufacturer. I thought I bring this up because as you can see I have a higher version than anything they have posted which just makes no sense. Well, it's hard to trust these things nowadays, so you really have to keep them updated and if they can't keep figure out their numbering then you can't even update the router. The routers have some nice features, but they're not worth using if the firmware isn't up to date or working correctly. It's too bad, I did like their routers but so far they also have the same problem as others. They work for a while and update them until something new comes up.


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