The Linksys WRT600N is the first 802.11n draft 2.0 router we’ve tested that can operate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands simultaneously. It’s also the most expensive Wi-Fi router we’ve ever tested.
Miniaturization has brought us amazing advances—tiny transistors, microscopic nanotubes, bite-size Frosted Mini Wheats, and now the Eye-Fi. Combining a 2GB flash card with a Wi-Fi radio, this affordable hybrid card lets you easily upload pictures directly from your camera to the web and your PC.
Belkin’s N1 Vision takes user friendliness to a whole new level. This is the first router we’ve seen that offers extensive installation hand-holding right in the firmware—there’s no need to drop a CD in your drive.
If you’ve already installed a Wi-Fi router, you don’t need the vendor’s installation software to help you through the process. So we weren’t surprised that Trendnet didn’t develop anything for its TEW-633GR 802.11n Draft 2.0 product, relying instead on Pure Networks’ Network Magic.
D-Link’s DIR-655 was one of the fastest routers in our Draft-N roundup, and it proved best-in-breed in terms of range. But speed and range aren’t the only reasons to like this product. If you enjoy fine-tuning your network’s performance, the Xtreme N offers more control over more settings than anything else we tested.
From the get-go, Buffalo’s Nfiniti WZR2-G300N installation routine prompts you to establish a new password for accessing the router’s firmware. Considering all the legitimate concerns about network security, why is this step the exception rather than the rule for router-installation wizards?
Belkin’s N1 router looks gorgeous, and the company has put a lot of thought into making it easy for greenhorns to build a home network, but the N1 was the slowest in this field and it delivered very poor range.
You can never have too much speed or too much storage, and the Linksys WRT350N makes it easy to have both. This router took first place while running in 802.11n-only mode and second place while running in mixed 802.11b/g/n mode. And its Storage Link feature enables you to plug in any USB storage device to add NAS functionality—the only router in this roundup to offer such a feature.
Netgear’s WNR854T was faster than any other router in this roundup in our close-range tests, lost the least amount of potency while running WEP security, and came in second in our 40-foot test, bested by D-Link’s DIR-655. But Netgear’s entry was several times slower than D-Link’s in our 150-foot test. (See page 70 for benchmark details.)
When we heard about Belkin’s Cable-Free USB Hub, our first thought was, “Yes! Now we can move our iPod A/V dock next to our TV in the living room and still sync the player with iTunes on our PC in the den.” Ha! This device’s range is so poor it barely reaches across the room.