Buffalo Airstation WBMR-HP-GN review
A basic wireless router at a budget price, but a solid performer that worked well in a school environment
In terms of design the Buffalo is definitely the most stylish of the routers on review, with a sleek black look that wouldn’t be out of place in a home media setup.
Inside the swish box is actually a basic wireless router. It offers WPA/WPA2 and WEP security, as well as what Buffalo terms AOSS: AirStation One-Touch Secure System. Note, though, that this will only work if your devices, such as the Nintendo DSi, support AOSS. While setup using AOSS is nice and simple, the AirStation’s configuration menus are over-complicated and can take a little time to navigate. There isn’t a vast range of options available, but this is to be expected in a router of this price.
Although the box states “N Technology”, the Buffalo actually uses 802.11g to create its wireless signal. Despite this, Buffalo claims speeds of up to 150Mbits/sec. If all you want to do is browse the web and collect emails then you may not notice the difference compared to 802.11n, but if you need to transfer large files wirelessly then you certainly will.
150Mbits/sec is a theoretical maximum anyway. With all conditions being perfect, in school tests the router never rose out of the mid-30Mbits/sec range. This was achieved quite close to the router itself. Move further away, or have a wall between you and the box, and the speed drops off considerably (down to the low 20Mbits/sec in our real-world tests). Still, the router provided an accessible signal in all areas of the school.
Having many users trying to access the router at once worked fine, with a whole class able to use their netbooks without connection problems. There was some slowdown, though, and children sometimes had to wait for web pages to load.
So it isn’t perfect, but the Buffalo AirStation makes up for this by being ludicrously cheap. Plus, in terms of performance it was nowhere near the bottom of the pile. If your school is stretched financially then it’s a great short-term option. It worked reliably and at reasonable speeds, and for £30 exc VAT you can’t ask for much more than that.
|Price ex VAT||£30|
|Price inc VAT||£36|
|Features & Design||3|
|Value for Money||6|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Gigabit LAN ports||0|
|10/100 LAN ports||4|
|Web content filtering||no|
|Dimensions||130 x 143 x 28mm (WDH)|