You’ve been getting by with the cheapie router you bought two years ago, so why should you upgrade now? In a word: Performance. And features. Oh, sorry. That’s two words. We looked at a host of budget offerings in our last router roundup (February 2010) and didn’t find much to get excited about. This time, we asked seven manufacturers to send us the best consumer routers in their stables regardless of price tags.
In most cases, that meant a simultaneous dual-band router capable of running 802.11n wireless networks using the typical 2.4GHz frequency band and the less-crowded 5GHz band, plus a guest network that isolates its clients from your primary LAN. In all cases, it meant a router with an integrated four-port gigabit switch and at least one USB port for sharing a printer or a storage device over the network (some have two USB ports to support both functions). In an interesting twist, however, no one submitted a product using a three-stream wireless chipset promising raw throughput of 450Mb/s.
With the drives being DLNA certified, streaming content to DLNA compatible devices like the Xbox 360 and PS3 is a cakewalk. The same applies to iOS devices, thanks to a couple of free iOS apps the company launched recently. Available now in capacities ranging from 1TB to 8TB, and prices ranging from $189.99 to $1039.99, the drives are covered under a limited one-year warranty.
Networking outfit Buffalo Technology this week announced a handful of new wireless products the company says take aim at budget shoppers looking for cost-friendly, easy-to-install solutions.
"Buffalo has always been committed to delivering high quality, high performance wireless solutions that consumers have come to rely on," said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo Technology. "With the latest additions to our wireless product portfolio, Buffalo is offering the best blend of robust value-model, entry-level, and high-performance wireless solutions on the market."
Buffalo's trio of products include a fairly standard wireless-N router (WCR-GN) with four Ethernet ports, a dual-port access point (WLAE-AG300N) that can be configured to operate in three different modes (Ethernet converter, access point, or repeater), and a USB 2.0 802.11n adapter (WLI-UC-GNM).
The WLAE-AG300N ($75), WCR-GN ($40), and WLI-UC-GNM ($40) will all ship later this month.
Network and storage vendor Buffalo Technology said it is getting in the saddle with NovaStor, a data protection and backup software specialist. The plan is to bundle NovaStor's NovaBackup data protection software with all of Buffalo's network attached storage (NAS) products.
"Data protection is extremely important and providing first-class, cost-effective backup solutions has always been a top priority for Buffalo," said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo. "This strategic partnership with NovaStor not only strengthens our product portfolio, but it strengthens our committment to delivering useful, all-in-one solutions that exceed our customers' expectations."
This is the second partnership this month for Buffalo, who earlier announced it was teaming up with NewMedia-NET to bring DD-WRT based software as part of the standard configuration for all of Buffalo's high-power routers and access points.
Buffalo said NovaBackup will be offered on all TerraStation and LinkStation NAS solutions beginning in May, 2010.
Of the three routers we’re taking second looks at, none has changed more than Buffalo’s WZR-HP-G300NH. That’s because Buffalo has thrown the firmware we tested earlier out the window and adopted the open-source DD-WRT.
Comparing our earlier benchmark numbers to the performance we recorded this time out, however, we much prefer the Kick Ass award–earning router we tested in January to the one in front of us now. That router turned in the best throughput we’ve ever seen with our client in our well-insulated media room and in our furthest outdoor location; this one took fifth-place finishes in both tests (in a field of seven). We have little doubt the reason for this performance discrepancy is due to the fact that no matter how we configured the router, we couldn’t coax Buffalo’s WLI-UC-G300HP01B USB client adapter to connect to it at a stated data rate faster than 130Mb/s.
The 12X external Blu-ray burner comes capable of writing data on both single and dual-layer disks. And while traditional external burners have usually been far less appealing than internal drives in terms of performance, that shouldn't be the case with a USB 3.0 interface.
To take advantage of the SuperSpeed spec, end-users will either need a compatible motherboard or one of the PCI-E cards that are starting to fill store shelves. For those who don't plan on upgrading in the immediate future but are in need of an external drive, Buffalo says its "fastest blu-ray burner ever" will still work just fine on a USB 2.0 port, it just won't be as fast. and chug along at 7X instead of 12X.
The new drive is expected to land in Japan by the end of December for around $450. No word yet on when it will make its way to the States or for how much.
Buffalo, who has offices in Japan, USA, Germany, UK, Ireland, and Taiwan, is well on its way to being the first to release a USB 3.0 hard drive. On Tuesday, the networking and storage company said its HD-HU3 series of USB 3.0 external hard drives would be the "world's first" to ship to retailers, Engadget reports.
The company also plans to offer NEC's IFC-PCIE2U3 2-port PCI-Express x1 host controller because, well, what good is a USB 3.0 drive without a controller to take advantage of it?
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it appears the drives will only be available in Japan when they ship later this month. According to Engadget, the 1TB model will run about $225 after the exchange rate, while the 1.5TB will cost $284. Later on, Buffalo plans to release a 2TB model, which will sell for around $530. Add another $60 for the controller.
If all you want a secondary display for is to keep track of your IM conversations, stock quotes, emails, and other tasks of that nature, Buffalo may have just what you're looking for with its new 7-inch display.
As the model number suggests, the FTD-W71USB LCD display plugs into a USB port and offers an 800x480 resolution, 300 nits brightness, a 500:1 contrast ratio, 25ms response time, and a wide viewing angle (vertical: 120 degrees, left and right: 140 degrees). Buffalo says you can rotate the display for either vertical or horizontal viewing, and can also be attached to a tripod stand for use with digital cameras by removing the stand.
If you really want to go hog-wild, Buffalo says you can use up to six units at the same time, making it possible to devote an entire display to every Skype conversation you might have going or, well, whatever else you might require six pint-sized displays.
Buffalo Electronics is staking the claim that their WLI-UC-GN Wi-Fi dongle is the smallest that’s been created. Whether this is true or not, we can’t say for sure, but one can’t help but admire its diminutive size and price tag.
The dongle will only run you $25, and it clocks in at 33mm by 16mm. Evidently, the brains behind the operating aren’t much bigger than the plug that goes into your computer. It’s reported that it will feature B/G certification for backwards compatibility with older wireless networks, base station operation, and an automated security system.
Let’s just hope that we can see this bad boy on our shores sooner than later, because a handy (and cheap) little piece of tech would find plenty of uses.
Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.