Ruckus Wireless MediaFlex VF-2825
- Great wireless coverage, An effective media-streaming solution for cable-filled living rooms and corridors
- A little pricey
If you're looking for a way to unwire your Ethernet-based home entertainment network, this is the product for you.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The Ruckus MediaFlex wireless router, while not technically a media streamer itself, is a device intended to facilitate wireless streaming of media (videos and music) throughout the home. The easiest way to think of the MediaFlex is probably as a way of 'unwiring' wired, or Ethernet based, home networks. If you have long trails of Ethernet cables running from your PC, through your living room and to your home entertainment setup, then the MediaFlex presents a convenient way of eliminating them. With a strong focus on streaming media, and minimising distortion and interruptions, the MediaFlex is also a potential solution for those whose current wireless network is unable to cope with the demands of wireless media streaming.
Paired with a MediaFlex wireless adapter, the two MediaFlex units essentially replace the bulk of network cable running between two products, for example a PC and an Ethernet-enabled set-top box. So in this example, you would connect your PC to the MediaFlex router via Ethernet, and then your set-top box to the MediaFlex adapter via Ethernet, and it would be as if you'd run a cable straight from the PC to the set-top box. The only difference is the lack of an unsightly cable on the floor, waiting to be tripped over by the kids or chewed to pieces by the dog.
In theory, it's quite simple; however, in practice things become a little bit more tricky. Anybody who's ever set up a wireless network before will know how finicky they can be, and unless you're a networking guru or lucky enough to have it work instantly, expect to spend a bit of time making sure all your settings are correct. Still, that's part of the price of dealing with wireless networks, they're very rarely entirely simple affairs.
One of the big selling points of the MediaFlex is its wireless fidelity. By using a multi-antenna system, it claims to be able to detect and determine the best wireless path, avoiding disturbances and interference. We didn't experience any performance issues while streaming content throughout our offices, which are fairly open-plan, but have an industrial-strength air-conditioning unit installed. However, no two environments are identical, so how it performs in other types of environments will vary. Nevertheless, based on our tests, the MediaFlex may provide a viable solution for users whose current wireless network is susceptible to interference.
The design of the router (and the almost-identical adapter) is quite elegant, being shaped sort of like a ... well, we're not sure really. Although the spinning green light, which is located on the top of the unit, could be an annoyance in a darkened home theatre room. The router comes with four Ethernet ports and one WAN port, while the adapter comes with a single Ethernet port.
For users who wish to unwire their currently wired home entertainment network, or who are simply looking for a way of reducing interference, the MediaFlex router and adapter combination from Ruckus is worth considering.
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