- 300 Mbps
- DD-WRT Router
- Gigabit Ethernet
- HighPower Technology
Cost-effective, powerful firmware, speedy 802.11n Wi-Fi Router 10/03/2012
This review is from: BUFFALO AirStation HighPower N300 Gigabit DD-WRT Wireless Router - WZR-300HP
While chipset and memory have some impact on a wireless routers performance; generally, wireless routers have traditionally failed or succeeded based on their firmware, the firmware's functionality and level of configuration, and the control and user-friendliness of the firmware‘s web-based user interface. The Buffalo WZR-300HP is running a Qualcomm Atheros AR7242 radio with 64MB RAM on board - both are very capable. But more importantly, the WZR-300HP is running a version of the very powerful, very customizable open-source DD-WRT firmware right out of the box. There are few wireless routers that are offered with DD-WRT firmware supported and shipped as the standard factory load.
This wireless router operates in the 2.4GHz band supporting 802.11b/g/n. Speeds in the 802.11n mode were a little over 100MB/s with several devices I used for testing (i.e. NIC in laptop, Android smart phone, NIC in HTPC). These speeds are expected and reasonable for an 802.11n router in the real world and can easily keep up with streaming HD video across a home network. The router performed great in a mixed environment with devices running at 802.11n speeds and 802.11g speeds.
Security provided is industry standard WPA2, WPA-PSK (AES and/or TKIP), and 128-bit or 64-bit WEP. It's important to note that WEP is considered insecure and generally not recommended unless specifically needed. RADIUS authentication is available via the powerful DD-WRT firmware. Moreover, DD-WRT will allow you to change the infrastructure mode of the router to access point, bridge, or repeater if desired.
Wired connectivity is provided with 4 gigabit Ethernet speeds (1000BASE-T) with auto-sensing ports. It is okay if you connect a regular Ethernet cable or a crossover cable, the router will detect this and adjust accordingly.
A USB port is provided on the back of the router where you can connect a USB thumb drive, USB hard drive, or USB-cable printer to share data and printing across your network. I connected a 32GB USB thumb drive and was able to access the data on it from other devices within the network. The USB port is DLNA certified for simplified media streaming as well with a USB thumb drive or USB hard drive. Sharing a printer was tested and worked great with other devices on the network. It should be noted that a multi-function device (printer/scanner/fax) connected to the USB port will only share print functions across your network. The scan and fax functionality is not shared.
Cosmetically, the router is compact and finished nicely in a glossy black exterior. Indicator lights and LEDs are not overly bright and provide visual feedback as necessary. Included in the box is a vertical stand, hardware for wall mounting, quick setup guide, setup disc, AC adapter, and an Ethernet cable.
Though the glossy black finish is attractive, it attracts fingerprints like crazy. The documentation provided does seem a little sparse, though one can access more detailed documents from Buffalo's website. Additionally, advanced network routing features offered by the DD-WRT firmware are not included; though this may really not be a negative being that the paper required to print this would be overly voluminous. One can find advanced network routing information easily online with the DD-WRT forums offering a huge array of helpful information.
Though this router offers a huge array of advanced features thanks to its custom firmware, the quick setup guide provided will allow the novice network builder to connect wired and wireless network devices easily. Buffalo also gives you the option to use their ""friendly"" firmware if you do not want to use the advanced DD-WRT firmware that this router ships with. This firmware is called Buffalo ""Friendly"" Firmware and can be downloaded from the router's product page at Buffalo's website.
The most powerful feature of this wireless router is the functionality offered with DD-WRT firmware. The ability to finely control QoS across your network is critical for the power user. I was able to easily prioritize network traffic between several desktop computers, a VoIP adapter, and services like torrent and Skype traffic taking priority over web traffic. Additionally, the firmware offers advanced features such as: controlling the radio transmit power, WDS, dynamic DNS, VPN functionality, Samba client control, wake on LAN, WPA/WPA2 personal and enterprise, remote administration via SSH and Telnet, MAC filtering, and bandwidth monitoring to name a few. For those unfamiliar with QoS and how to manage it there are numerous online resources to understand and fine-tune your own network settings to get a great experience out of this router.
The WZR-300HP is recommended for both novice and advanced home users - both will benefit greatly from this very capable device. You would be hard pressed to find a wireless router that offers this much advanced control and functionality for this very affordable price.
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