Exterior Design and Configuration
The exterior design has changed dramatically since the WL-500W, the first Draft N router from ASUS. The RT-N15 is far more compact in the first place. It is now like a small book with one slanted corner. The resemblance is emphasized by the materials: the back and side panels are cream-colored plastic whereas the top and front are made from translucent plastic painted silvery from the inside, which looks like pages of a book. The photo does not show it, but the light surfaces of the case have a stylish nacreous shimmer. This coating may seem scratchable and easily soiled, but it actually retained all its beauty throughout our intensive tests. ASUS’ designers have abandoned external antennas in the new router, so nothing sticks out of its case.
Instead, there are three planar antennas on the PCB, but you can attach external antennas to the available connectors.
The RT-N15 can be positioned upright only, the stand being attached to the router’s case. The stand can be turned and fixed at 90 degrees to the case.
The vent holes in the case also indicate that the router must be installed vertically. The holes at the bottom of the case are for cool air to come in. Cooling the PCB, this air then leaves the case through the holes at the top. This ventilation is enough since the router’s chips are not very hot. The case of the working RT-N15 is just barely warm.
The indicators, connectors and controls are placed like on most other home devices. That is, the indicators can be seen on the front panel (from left to right):
- LAN 1-4
- AIR (reports the activity of the wireless module)
The designers have decided to separate the indicators and labels although we guess it would be better if the indicators were shaped like the corresponding icons or letters. They are large and perfectly visible, but the labels may be hard to see under dim ambient lighting. Blue LEDs are used in the indicators. Although such LEDs are usually very intensive, they do not irritate the eye here. The router’s back panel offers the following connectors and buttons (from left to right):
- Power connector
- WAN port
- Four LAN ports
- Restore button (for resetting and rebooting the router)
- WPS button to enable automatic exchange of Wi-Fi settings between the router and client
It was not easy to take the case apart. There are three screws in the bottom panel and a number of latches around the case. We don’t recommend you to dismantle your router as you can scratch or break its case and make the warranty void.
The PCB fills the entire case and carries all of the router’s components including a wireless module and antenna connectors. And as we have noted above, the antennas are wired on the PCB, too. The quality of manufacture is high. Nearly every chip is covered with a metal screen, excep the memory chips.