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SMC ADSL2 Barricade-N Pro review

Verdict

Cheap and quick with a good range of features, but it's not the easiest router to set up.

Review Date: 15 Jul 2008

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £53 (£61 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

You no longer have to pay a fortune for wireless-n equipment, as Linksys' WAG160N and this SMC router prove.

But while the Linksys router throws excellent design and a decent software package into the bargain, the SMC does not. With its two large aerials and plain grey colour scheme, it's every bit the boring network box. You can't even upgrade the aerials, so there's no payback for those ugly duckling looks.

It's clearly aimed at businesses and enthusiasts rather than the fit-it-and-forget-it brigade, but even here it comes up short. Though you do get support for WPA Enterprise, intrusion detection and DoS attack prevention tools, along with time scheduling and SNMP support, there's only support for VPN passthrough and no WDS bridging or Gigabit Ethernet.

There's plenty of performance on offer, though. The SMC was just a fraction behind the Linksys, with an overall adjusted average speed of 26.4Mb/sec. And if you discount the mediocre long-distance transfer rate of 12.2Mb/sec, it's actually faster. In the house, the SMC was, on average, the fastest router with adjusted average speeds hardly varying between locations. This router was almost as fast in the kitchen (36.5Mb/sec), with two brick walls and a staircase in the way, as it was in the same room (37.7Mb/sec).

There's little in the way of security setup out of the box. Beyond a simple wizard built into the web-based interface, there isn't much by way of a nod towards ease of use either. Disappointingly, a username of "admin" is filled in and the standard password displayed in plain view on the login page. The setup wizard doesn't even prompt you to change the password.

If all you need is a fast box at a reasonable price, SMC's no-nonsense Barricade-N is for you. But the Linksys is marginally quicker over long distances and a better package overall.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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