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
Review Date: 2 Aug 2011
Reviewed By: Ian Marks
Price when reviewed: £30 (£36 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
Author: Ian Marks
- Who's buying Chromebooks? American schools
- Adobe keeps low-cost Photography "promotion"
- Archos ArcBook: £140 for an Android netbook
- Microsoft supercharges PowerPoint with Office Mix
- Computing in schools "not only about code"
- Raspberry Pi targets business with Compute Module
- Adobe to halt volume sales of CS6 at end of May
- Microsoft researcher tells parents: turn off tracking software
- School coding: why one teacher training programme failed
- Children should be taught computer science - not programming
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- Ebooks: the final chapter for libraries?
- The world's most powerful computers
- Rise of the code schools
- Create a Python game for the Raspberry Pi
- Develop your skills in ICT
- Buyer's guide to tablets
- BenQ MW860USTi vs SMART LightRaise 40wi
- Buyer's guide to foreign language software