Minitar 802.11 Broadband Router (MWNAPR-1)
Plenty of features for a paltry price
- Inexpensive for an 802.11n router, QoS, good filtering options
- There's not much to complain about at this price
It's inexpensive and has plenty of features to tinker with. If you're in the market for an 802.11n-based router, we think you should check it out.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Minitar has long been a favourite brand of ours when recommending wireless routers, mainly because the products the company offers are inexpensive, yet fully featured. You always get great value. Minitar's latest wireless router carries on the tradition. It offers 802.11 draft-n capability, yet it costs just $129.
Its solid speed results during our tests, as well as its price, make it an attractive alternative to the big-name brands. It's also a very functional router, with an easy to navigate Web interface. You can use it with either an ADSL or cable modem to connect to the Internet, and the Quick Setup Wizard will get you up and running in no time.
We didn't experience any problems while distributing an Internet connection over its four-port Ethernet switch and wireless access point, and its wireless speed was satisfactory. Using 802.11n mode, and 20/40MHz channel width, the unit transferred data at a rate of 6.11MBps, which is faster than the TP-Link TL-WR941N and only slightly slower than the Linksys WRT160N. Performance dropped only slightly when using 20MHz channel width — 6.08MBps, but you'll want to run 20/40MHz channel width in order to take advantage of 802.11n's faster speed, especially when transferring data to multiple sources.
The extra bandwidth does indeed come in handy when using both 802.11g and 802.11n devices on the same network: for example, when using the 20MHz channel width to transfer data to our laptop while simultaneously streaming data to a Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000, we recorded an average rate of 2.99MBps. This is approximately equivalent to what a dedicated 802.11g router can achieve. However, when we switched to 20/40MHz, the same transfer achieved an average rate of 5.66MBps. The good thing about the MWNAPR-1 is that you can switch to wireless n-only mode if you won't be using 802.11g products, and therefore you'll always experience the fastest possible data rates.
Of course, the Minitar supports WPA and WPA2 mixed mode encryption, and it also has WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), which you can use either by entering a PIN or pushing a button, depending on your client devices. As for range, this will depend on your environment, but we were able to stream video comfortably up to around 28m before it started breaking up. The unit has three external antennas, which we positioned to form a 'W' shape.
For Internet security, the Minitar has a built-in firewall, and features URL and keyword filtering. By entering MAC and IP addresses, you can filter the type of traffic (by port number) that is received by the PCs on your network. A QoS feature is also present, which allows you to restrict the speed of Web traffic to one or more IP addresses on your local network. You can select a maximum speed or a guaranteed speed. As far as QoS features go, this one isn't too hard to set-up. You can make it very broad, or you can specify the sites that should be given maximum or guaranteed bandwidth.
Physically, the Minitar is a tiny unit (only 19cm long and 13cm deep) and it has a small power adapter, so you won't have to re-arrange your power board to accommodate it. As you can see, it has plenty of features for its $129 price tag, including VPN pass-through support, so we think it's a great buy for anyone who's in the market for a new router.
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