Articles: Networking

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Exterior and Interior Design

Let us start out with the product exterior. One glance is enough to realize that the AM604g is designed like most other new network devices from ASUS for the SOHO sector. Mac-styled exterior designs are popular these days and ASUS followed the suit creating a hi-tech and discreet case of the AM604g router. The device looks stylish and remarkable. All hints as to what the device can do are hidden inside the white sleek case with a silvery glossy panel that splits the router up horizontally. The case is ventilated passively, as usual, through the vent grids in the top and bottom panels. The router’s top is just a little warm after a few hours of operation, but the bottom is rather hot. It means you should make sure the AM604g is positioned in such a way that there is free circulation of air around it.

There is also another drawback in the router’s exterior design. Instead of putting the wireless interface antenna on the back panel, which is its normal position, they put it on the side panel. This solution is not good due to two reasons.

First, it spoils the one-piece look of the case. The antenna hole is placed right on the glossy band we’ve mentioned above. This leaves a poor impression as if it was not a factory solution, but a whim of a home user who put the antenna connector without thinking about the appearance of the device. We could understand this if there was no space left for one more connector on the front panel or if the antenna connector was attached to the router’s PCB in some specific way, but the connector is actually connected to the PCB with an ordinary flexible cable that could have easily be made longer. And there is enough of room on the back panel for a few more antennas.

Second, the dimensions of the case are larger with the antenna on its side, which may be a problem sometimes.

Otherwise, we’ve got no complaints about the router’s exterior design. The device can be placed horizontally on the desk or hung on the wall using the holes in its bottom.

All of the router’s indicators are located on the front panel while all its connectors are at the back, which is typical of home network devices. The indicators are small icons and dots cut in the opaque layer of the silvery band that goes around the router’s case. Even when not shining, they stand out in contrast on the front panel. It would be even better if the icons were larger, but they are good anyway.

The light from SMD LEDs located on the PCB is routed to the front panel using plastic light pipes that are designed as a one-piece element.

The indicators are bright enough for both light and dark rooms and are visible at any angle of view. The router has a total of 9 indicators (from left to right):

  • AP . This indicator reports activity of the integrated Wi-Fi module. If it is alight, the module is on. When the device is exchanging data via Wi-Fi, the indicator is blinking. If the indicator doesn’t shine, the Wi-Fi module is off.
  • XDSL Link . This indicator reports the presence/absence of a physical ADSL connection. It is blinking when the connection is being established.
  • XDLS ACT. This indicator is blinking when data is being transferred via the ADSL channel.
  • LAN 1/2/3/4. These four indicators are responsible for the corresponding LAN ports. The indication is the same as for Wi-Fi except that when the indicator is off, the appropriate network connection is missing.
  • ! . This is an Alarm indicator. It is alight when there is no carrier line or the ADSL cable is not connected.
  • Power . This is a power voltage indicator.

The router’s connectors and controls are all placed on the rear panel. These are (from left to right):

  • Router On/Off button
  • Connector for an external power adapter
  • Reset button to reset and reboot the router. If you press it, the router will reboot. If you press and hold it for 4 seconds and more, the router’s settings will be reset to their factory defaults
  • 4 Fast Ethernet LAN ports
  • Console connector
  • ADSL port

So, we’ve said enough about the router’s appearance. It’s time to take the thing apart. It was not a problem really. We unfastened four screws located under the router’s rubber feet and easily took the two halves of the case apart.

One part comes off from the poles on the other part. It is these poles the screws are actually screwed into.

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