Router manufacturers have a bad habit of assigning the same names to several different products, or completely changing a router’s underlying architecture and changing only the version number. Belkin has two routers it calls N Wireless (and a third called the N+ Wireless). For the record, we reviewed its model F5D8236-4.
The N Wireless is very short on features, but it turned in first- or second-place performances at four of our six test locations. It delivered TCP throughput of 76.2Mb/s with the client in the kitchen, 38.1Mb/s on the outdoor patio, and 20.3Mb/s in the double-walled media room. (Its throughput in the media room was two to five times faster than everything other than the D-Link DIR-615). Once we moved the client to our more distant outdoor locations, however, the router and client couldn’t maintain a connection at all.
Asus isn’t a huge player in the router market, but the company has come up with a few noteworthy models in the past few years. We’d happily count the RT-N13U as one of them if it delivered reasonable throughput or decent range.
This was the only router we tested that was capable of sharing a USB printer, and while Asus claims it can support multifunction devices, it guarantees compatibility only with the ones the company has tested. We plugged in an Epson Stylus NX515 and could print documents, but we couldn’t get the scanner function to work. (You’ll find a list of supported printers here). The RT-N13U was also the only router we tested that was capable of hosting a USB hard drive, but the router permits only FTP access to that storage.
It gets better. Qisada sent the contraption to the FCC, and according to the filing, the router comes with an odd mix of features. We can justify the touchscreen, but a speaker? Apparently it will come in handy when you're watching YouTube videos or tuning into FM radio stations on a device we've traditionally relied on to keep quiet and push our packets to the right PC.
As a router, it boasts 802.11n Wi-Fi, but only one spare Ethernet port. It also includes a USB port and mini USB port.
Check out the FCC page with plenty of related PDF docs and pics here.
Bummed that there's no such thing as an LTE (Long Term Evolution) router? Don't be, because ZyXEL, the China-based maker of various networking gear, today announced the ZLR-2070S, laying claim to the world's first LTE CPE/SOHO router.
"ZyXEL is excited to lead the LTE revolution by bringing innovative solutions to service providers," said Brian Feng, senior VP, Key accounts business unit for ZyXEL. "We are proud to offer service providers the ability to bring wireless high speed Internet access to millions, including those in under-served markets."
The new device comes with two VoIP ports, home networking capabilities via a four-port, 802.11n wireless switch, a USB port for printer sharing and storage devices, and data rates up to 50Mbps.
No word yet on price or availability, but ZyXEL did say it plans to demo the new unit during CES next month.
I'm sure many readers of Maximum PC--this one included--have jumped onboard the Google DNS ship, lured either by promises of increased speed versus one's own DNS server or a simple fascination at anything Google does. Fair, at least with the latter. Because it would be erroneous to just switch over to an alternate DNS server without any kind of assessment that what you're doing is actually the best-case scenario for your home or office setup.
That said, it's important to first give props to Google for delivering a DNS service that appears to be free of any kind of takeovers or unexpected redirects. Just try hand-pounding your keyboard after clicking on your browser's address board, then hit enter. If the resulting "fasdfljsajdf.com" isn't actually a Web site, you'll notice how... nothing happens, save for the standard "what are you doing?" error page (depending on your browser of choice). That's a bit different than OpenDNS, which routes you over to one of its own landing pages--oddly, a rebranded version of Yahoo! search--that's stacked with advertising related to whatever it is you mistyped. Weak.
Redirects aside, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into when you start fussing around with going a step beyond your ISP's default DNS servers. Like a tangible product review, you should really assess what you're gaining and losing through the use of either OpenDNS or Google DNS from both a performance and features standpoint.
After the jump, I'll share my own personal results with using both Google DNS and OpenDNS, and show you exactly how you can figure out the best-case scenario for your own browsing needs!
If you listen to Microsoft, ad hoc wireless networking, which lets several Windows computers share a single connection, is one of a bunch of networking features not included in Windows 7 Starter Edition. But is that really the case?
"On Windows 7 Starter Edition, the 'Set up a wireless ad hoc network' link in the [Set Up a Connection or Networking] dialog is missing," said Rivera in an entry on his Within Windows blog. "That's the licensed 'feature' you're missing out on. I repeat: You're licensed to use ad-hoc networking. You're not licensed to use the shortcut in this dialog. To access the wizard that this link normally points to, simply Start Menu search for 'adhoc.' It's a lot of work, I know."
So for the time being, netbooks users running Windows 7 Starter can still create an on-the-fly connection for sharing an Internet connection, but this is something that Microsoft will likely address in a future hotfix or Service Pack.
"I believe it's safe to assume this is an unintentional screw up," Rivera added. "Enjoy it while you can, netbook cheapos."
In a blockbuster deal, Hewlett Packard on Wednesday announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase 3Com at a price of $7.90 per share. That breaks down to about $2.7 billion and puts HP, which is already a strong networking company, in a better position to compete with Cisco.
"“Companies are looking for ways to break free from the business limitations imposed by a networking paradigm that has been dominated by a single vendor," said Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager, Enterprise Servers and Networking, HP. "By acquiring 3Com, we are accelerating the execution of our Converged Infrastructure strategy and bringing disruptive change to the networking industry. By combining HP ProCurve offerings with 3Com’s extensive set of solutions, we will enable customers to build a next-generation network infrastructure that supports customer needs from the edge of the network to the heart of the data center."
The acquisition will help HP build its networking portfolio, particularly in expanding the company's Ethernet switching offerings and routing solutions, HP said the move will also help strengthen its position in the fast growing Chinese market.
Terms of the transaction have already been approved by the HP and 3Com board of directors and is expected to close in the first half of 2010.
The recession may or may not be over for the general public, but as far as D-Link is concerned, the high times are here again. The maker of network solutions has posted solid growth in the third quarter of the year. Net profits were up to $7.98 million in Q3 2009. This is an abrupt turnaround after the first half of the year when the company actually lost several million.
A whopping 54% of D-Link’s profits were from the Asia Pacific and emerging markets. Management expects that to rise over 60% in the next few quarters. D-Link expects growth to continue in the fourth quarter, but not at an increased rate over the third quarter.
If you've ever been in a situation when you absolutely, positively, need to share a network connection wirelessly, and you have a PC with a wireless adapter that runs Windows 7, Connectify (from wireless mesh networking company Nomadio, Inc.) is the answer. Connectify (currently in beta) turns almost any Windows 7 PC with a working wireless network adapters into a fast and secure wireless access point.
To discover how easy Connectify Me makes the process, join us after the jump.
D-Link’s DIR-685 Wi-Fi router generated a lot of buzz at CES this past January. And when we took a gander at its spec sheet, we thought it a contender for Best of the Best in the router category; something that would finally displace the Linksys WRT600N, which is becoming hard to find. Alas, ’twas not to be.
The problem certainly isn’t with the DIR-685’s feature set: This router is absolutely loaded with goodies. The 3.2-inch color LCD can inform you of the router’s status and configuration; present digital photos from Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook; display RSS feeds, such as sports scores, weather reports, and stock quotes; and a lot more (this is one router your significant other won’t insist be hidden in a closet).
Next up, there’s a 2.5-inch internal SATA hard drive bay, which can turn the router into a NAS box (complemented by a built-in FTP server and BitTorrent software). There are two USB ports featuring D-Link’s SharePort technology, which allows you to plug in both an external hard drive and a printer and share these devices with any computer on the network. The router’s four-port gigabit switch automatically powers down any ports not in use to save a modest amount of energy.