ASUS DSL-N14U - A value for money ADSL modem/router

Ben B

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Jan 14, 2016
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A review by Ben Barnard - Independent Reviewer



The Good

The ASUS DSL-N14U Wireless N300 modem router packs quite a lot of punch at a recommended retail price of R699, and you may find it cheaper by shopping around. What you get for your money are router features usually found on the more expensive models, a strong 300Mbps 802.11n wireless signal, and adaptive ADSL firmware to handle the often not so good DSL lines in South Africa. If your DSL line is suboptimal, you should allow the modem a little while to configure itself for maximum speed and stability on your line. A list of useful features include:

• 1 x USB 2.0 port for storage connection to the built in SAMBA server or printer connection to the built in print server
• DUAL WAN - ADSL with failover to 3G/4G mobile network via a USB modem
• Quick Internet Setup where you only need to provide your ISP username and password
• Cloud storage to share files with friends and family or mobile devices
• Downloading from the internet whilst the PC is off
• 4 x 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet ports for wired connections

The Bad

Not much. It has everything a typical N300 ADSL modem/router has and some useful additional features


The Bottom Line

You get the usual ASUS build quality and extensive features in an affordable DSL modem/router. You can switch it on and provide just the basic information regarding your ISP user name and password and let it automatically configure the rest, or you can dive in and configure features to your heart's content. Either way, it comes highly recommended.


Ratings
Overall 8.5/10
Ease of Use 8.5/10
Performance 8.0/10
Support 9.0/10
Value for Money 8.5/10

Who needs this

ADSL is still used by a large number of homes and small businesses in South Africa. With a combination of strong Wi-Fi performance and useful router features, the DSL-N14U should be on the short list of both first time buyers, as well as persons looking to replace their current equipment. It includes the ability to configure 4 separate Wi-Fi networks for guests, which could be of value in restaurants or B&B establishments, or used as a means to limit on-line presence for children. If you are in the group of ADSL users who prefer not to use the modems bundled by the service providers, this product is certainly worthy of your consideration.

Ease of use

The product comes with an installation CD and Quick Start Guide. The GUI used by the ASUS web interface has a familiar look and feel that is both intuitive and comprehensive. Just as we've had to learn to use ATMs, change settings on our smart phones and fiddle with the menus in our cars, so we will learn how to derive maximum value from our internet modems and routers. The ASUS DSL-N14U is an easy entry into that world.

Is it fast enough

In short, yes. The 802.11n Wi-Fi standard employed in the ASUS DSL-N14U is capable of a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps using the two high gain antennas. Tests of signal strength and reach was excellent and on par with top of the line modems and routers

Support

The firmware in the ASUS DSL-N14U has a built in diagnostic capability that is triggered when the DSL line is considered to be unstable. My Telkom line unfortunately falls into the "unstable" category and I have personal experience of the support provided by ASUS. I can confirm their prompt and friendly response in resolving my problems and not resorting to the usual attitude of some vendors by suggesting "it works for everyone else, so it must be something that you do wrong".

In Summary

Whilst we all long for the day when we can say goodbye to the copper lines in the last mile of our telecommunication network, in reality ADSL remains the default choice for many internet users. The ASUS DSL-N14U can provide a reliable DSL connection that you set up and forget about, whilst at the same time have optional features for the more demanding environments.
 
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dexter101

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Nov 9, 2015
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Can you perphaps help with setting up the router for 3g/4g failover as i am struggling with this.
 

FNfal

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Fitted one at my friend's small business the other day and it works well no problems at all .
At R700 not a bad price.
 

CataclysmZA

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I find it really odd that router ODMs are not using gigabit Ethernet ports with their 802.11n or higher Wi-Fi speeds. When you can only transfer media from a PC hooked up to Ethernet at a third of the possible data rate over wireless "n", then I find the whole setup to be a bit lacking.

Gigabit Ethernet with 802.11ac with MU-MIMO should be a lot cheaper than it is now. SU-MIMO doesn't cut the mustard anymore.
 

Ben B

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Jan 14, 2016
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Hi Dexter, you say you are struggling .. are you struggling to make the USB modem connect to your network provider, or struggling to make the fail over work after you have successfully connected? Which network are you using?
 

sajunky

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I find it really odd that router ODMs are not using gigabit Ethernet ports with their 802.11n or higher Wi-Fi speeds. When you can only transfer media from a PC hooked up to Ethernet at a third of the possible data rate over wireless "n", then I find the whole setup to be a bit lacking.

Gigabit Ethernet with 802.11ac with MU-MIMO should be a lot cheaper than it is now. SU-MIMO doesn't cut the mustard anymore.
+1. It doesn't make sense to buy a router without both (mandatory) features in my opinion.

The Ethernet WAN port is also very desirable for a failover to a modern LTE routers with Ethernet ports. Also missing there.
 
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Ben B

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Jan 14, 2016
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Can you perphaps help with setting up the router for 3g/4g failover as i am struggling with this.
I'm not sure which part of the 3G/4G process you are struggling with, but for those wanting to know more about Dual WAN on the DSL-N14U, here is what I have tested

I'm using a Vodacom K5150 4G modem (made by Huawei) It is a simple plug and play device even though it is not on the modem list in the firmware - just leave the type of modem at "Auto". The DSL-N14U recognizes it and you see the Vodacom page at 192.168.9.1 should you need to provide a pin or want to check usage. The Fail Over worked once I unplugged the DSL line. However, the fail back did not indicate that the 4G Modem had been disconnected though I judged from the internet response that it was using the primary WAN connection (DSL). I just disconnected the 4G connection myself
 

sajunky

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Firstshop's real promotions are fake, read bargains section.
Offers called 'promotions' are not specials, it is a dumping obsolete stock in such underdeveloped areas like South Africa.
 
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FirstShopServices

FirstShop representative
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Jul 7, 2015
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Our promotions are very real. New ASUS routers are on promotion, whilst stocks last. Get the best routers at the lowest prices.
 

dotcat

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You can either tether your android phone or use a dongle. The router is amazing versatile and even allows you to browse the dongles ip so that you can adjust settings as you would if the dongle was connected to your pc.
 

FNfal

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Last edited:

FNfal

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2011
Messages
5,708
I find it really odd that router ODMs are not using gigabit Ethernet ports with their 802.11n or higher Wi-Fi speeds. When you can only transfer media from a PC hooked up to Ethernet at a third of the possible data rate over wireless "n", then I find the whole setup to be a bit lacking.

Gigabit Ethernet with 802.11ac with MU-MIMO should be a lot cheaper than it is now. SU-MIMO doesn't cut the mustard anymore.
I agree but at that price point i do not think you will get gigabit Ethernet ports .
 

CataclysmZA

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Apr 1, 2010
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I agree but at that price point i do not think you will get gigabit Ethernet ports .
The price difference between a fast Ethernet and a gigabit Ethernet controller is literally $1-$2. The signaling doesn't change much, the board design doesn't change at all, and all consumer motherboards shipped since 2010 have supported gigabit Ethernet. Most laptops come with Wireless n or a or ac adapters. We really should have switched to having everything start at gigE speeds and have 10gigE switches and routers become the new high-end range.

The only possible reason for fast Ethernet's continued existence is artificial market segmentation, and that really holds things back. We ditched Ethernet so fast when fast Ethernet came out, but we're still stuck with the stupid thing twenty years later. Gigabit Ethernet is only 17 years old.
 

CataclysmZA

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No, not really. Takealot and loot are cheaper by a mile.
Takealot and Loot can't compete with the prices Firstshop charges for their Intel K-series processors. They're literally the cheapest shop for those chips right now.
 

ASUS_SA

ASUS SA representative
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Oct 28, 2015
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4 new Huawei 3G/LTE dongles (E3131/ E3372/ E303u/ E3531s) are now supported on this router once you've upgraded to the latest firmware, version 1.1.0.4.
 

ClaireW

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Mar 17, 2016
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You can either tether your android phone or use a dongle. The router is amazing versatile and even allows you to browse the dongles ip so that you can adjust settings as you would if the dongle was connected to your pc.
I am new to all this and I was looking at getting this router.. will it still work well if there are say 4-5 people connected to the wifi?
 
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