So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router
Buffalo's WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router has a decent price tag attached
- Decent price, built-in Bittorrent client
- Can't attach a printer to the USB port
With its affordable pricing, the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH Wireless-N router is a good product for homes. Enthusiasts will be particularly happy with the wired Gigabit-speed LAN, 300Mbps support, and the potential to make a NAS box out of it.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Setting up the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router for the first time is easy using the bundled CD, which contains the user manual and configuration tool. Thereafter, you can wall mount or stand it up using the stand provided, and manage it through its web interface.
The web interface is sufficiently well featured that an enthusiast won't feel the need to install a third-party firmware (such as DD-WRT or Tomato), but it is not the easiest one we've seen. Our Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH unit required an update since the firmware it originally shipped with was a beta that had quite a few issues that were remedied by the newest version.
Another weird issue was that the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH would automatically go into access point mode (which rendered itself inaccessible) after making contact with the DSL modem. This was solved by forcing it into router mode using the external switch.
The wireless signal coverage and file transfer speed was acceptable, remaining usable at 30 percent strength from a distance of 50 feet for a Wireless-G device (18 megabits per second), and 130 feet for a Wireless-N laptop (40Mbps). Closer range and lower encryption levels increased the speed, to an actual maximum of 140 Mbps (when the laptop said it was "Connected at 270 Mbps"). Wired Gigabit speeds were as expected, with 920Mbps the maximum when transferring large files.
The VPN, firewall and QoS to prioritise data packets are as good as that offered by any consumer router. If you connect a USB storage device, you can use the built-in Bittorrent client. It's a pity this router doesn't allow the connection of a printer to the USB port, and that there are no LEDs to help you find out which Ethernet ports are in use.
The two antennas can be positioned or folded-in as per coverage/space requirements. But be careful while tweaking them as their flimsy connectors can break easily. With its sweet price, the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH is a good router to buy currently, even if it supports operation only in the 2.4GHz spectrum and not in the 5GHz range. Buffalo offers a warranty of two years on this router.
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