A need for speed!
Dec 6, 2008
Review by splogue
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Installation:
Ease of Use:
Pros:Supports two separate bands simultaneously, attractive, good security features, lots of options, good price point
Cons:So many options that it can be confusing, range varies a lot by location
The Bottom Line: Very nice unit, at a good price point. I really like this, and would definitely get it again
This router is an outstanding deal. These features would have cost twice this amount of money a year ago, if you could even get them.
Recommend this product?
The ability to have both a 2.4 GHz network running simultaneously with a 5 GHz network is fantastic. The crowded 2.4 band is necessary for compatibility with devices that can run using the 802.11g protocol, which almost everything with a network adapter can run. The 5 GHz network supports the newer 802.11n protocol, but also the older 802.11b protocol that many business-oriented laptops have built-in. So, check the specs on your laptop -- you may be able to use the 5 GHz band without buying a new network adapter.
The form factor is slim, and an attractive glossy white with an array of blue lights on the front to indicate status. The two white antennas on the back do double duty for both bands, and look much nicer than the cell phone tower look that black versions can have. This is important, because hiding it away inside a cabinet is a sure fire way to reduce the range.
The 5 GHz band is considerably less crowded than the 2.4 band. The 2.4 band is used for cordless phones, routers, cordless mice, and is even emitted by microwave ovens. The 5 GHz band, on the other hand, is used by hardly anything (yet), but because it is a higher frequency it doesn't penetrate walls as easily as the 2.4 band (which is why you've probably heard some folks complain about range).
The security features are excellent. It has both a firewall, state packet inspection (SPI), and an anti-spoof function (which curiously defaulted to off, so make sure you turn that back on during setup). These three things will deter evil doers from getting to you from outside your network.
The wireless security is also well-done. The WPA2 protocol with AES key is the strongest thing around, so choose that one if your network adapters can handle it. WEP is an older protocol that was broken some time ago, so it is no longer secure. Also, the TKIP keys are less robust than AES, and generally make routers like this run slower because they are optimized for AES. So, WPA2 with AES is the one to go with.
There are lots and lots of options. Lots. Maybe too many, as it really gets confusing with this many choices. Built-in wizards will walk you through the important settings, and you'll probably be able to leave most of the rest at their default settings.
If you are having trouble with range, try repositioning the router. I put the little plastic stand it comes with underneath mine to raise it off the surface, and my range increased a lot. Sometimes moving it around a bit can have a big impact on range.
Very nice unit, at a good price point. I really like this, and would definitely get it again.
Sean P. Logue, 2008
Amount Paid (US$): 135
Driver Availability: Windows, Linux, and Mac
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