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ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review

We take a glimpse at the next generation of wireless adapters from ASUS with the USB-AC56. Is it time for your laptop to get an upgrade? Let's see.

By Tyler Bernath on Dec 21, 2013 at 12:01 am CST - 3 mins, 17 secs reading time
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASUS
ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 99 | TweakTown.com

As new wireless technologies proliferate in the market, in this case 802.11ac, we find ourselves searching out the means to utilize the new standard. Most notebooks and ultrabooks are not coming equipped with 802.11ac out of the box, leaving us researching and comparing USB wireless adapters.

ASUS has enjoyed recent success with their entire line-up of networking products, the most notable were the 802.11n routers, accompanied by their very own wireless adapters. Hoping to continue this success, ASUS has launched the next generation of wireless products with 802.11ac capabilities. In house today, we have the opportunity to take a look at the USB-AC56 wireless adapter.

Specifications of the adapter have the device featuring a USB 3.0 port for maximum throughput. Additionally, the adapter features a 2dbi internal antenna with the option of an external dipole as well. Compatibility extends from Windows XP to 8 and Mac OS X 10.5+. Warranty is listed at two years.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The packaging for the adapter denotes many of the capabilities of the device. Here we have 5GHz capabilities up to 867Mbps and 2.4GHz 300Mbps. Also featured is the AiRadar Technology, which is ASUS twist on beamforming.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Included in the scope of delivery, we have the adapter and high gain antenna, along with the utilities disk and USB 3.0 stand.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Taking a look at the included stand, we find it built quite well. In addition, the USB 3.0 extension cable is heavily shielded to eliminate any interference with the 2.4GHz wireless band.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Looking over the adapter, we find it quite similar in appearance to many of ASUS' previous wireless adapters. The top showing a diamond pattern with the ASUS logo in chrome.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 07 | TweakTown.com

On the side of the adapter, we find the WPS button for quick wireless connectivity.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Removing the end cap, we find the external connection for the dipole antenna.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 09 | TweakTown.com

The opposite end houses the USB 3.0 connection.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Here we have the unit complete and ready for testing.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 19 | TweakTown.com

Above we have the ASUS USB-AC56 connected to our 2.4GHz wireless network. As you can see, we are getting full speed at 300 Mbps.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 18 | TweakTown.com

Moving to the 5GHz network, we have the ASUS USB-AC56 connected at 867 Mbps.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Above we have the results from our testing using the 2.4GHz 40MHz band. Comparing the ASUS USB-N56 to our on-board Realtek 8188CE, we find the ASUS offering a 50% improvement in wireless throughput over the Realtek solution.

ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Utilizing the full potential of the USB-AC56, we found the adapter pushing 475 Mbps throughput at its peak.

The ASUS USB-AC56 carries quite a bit of off the shelf aesthetic appeal as do most ASUS networking products. Complimenting this, we have superb build quality for both the adapter and USB 3.0 extension, the heavy gauge cabling used in the extension insures no interference from the 2.4GHz band and the rugged plastic exterior of the adapter itself feels like it could withstand a few drops. In fact, I couldn't pry the adapter apart like I usually do for review such as this.

Performance of the unit was great. I was able to connect effortlessly to the 2.4GHz band and enjoy the range it offers. Throughput was exceptional even past 20 - 30 ft with walls within the line of sight. The 5GHz band allowed us a full 867 Mbps connection within the 15ft range, after which it did fall of slightly as we moved outwards.

The only downfall I encountered while testing the adapter was the included wireless utility. Here the software worked without issue, until I unplugged the adapter and tried to plug it back in. From this point on the software couldn't find the adapter and would error out, even after multiple re-installs. Though to counter this, you could use the built-in Windows utility with no issues.

Pricing at this time for the ASUS USB-AC56 is listed at $69.99.

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ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac Wireless Adapter Review 100 | TweakTown.com

Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST

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Tyler Bernath

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Tyler Bernath

Growing up in a small farm town in northern Ohio, technology was never around unless it was in a tractor. At the early age of nine years old, my parents brought home our very first PC and I was instantly hooked and quickly learned what it meant to format a hard drive, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95 as my parents slept. As I grew up, many things changed around me, but my love and enthusiast nature always kept my PC at my side. Eager to get deeper into technology, I started reviewing products.

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