Road warriors are forced to admit that while wireless broadband has improved at hotels over the years, it’s still far from perfect. When both are offered the speeds are almost always better if you are able to jack in, but with modern tablets that’s not always possible. This creates a captive audience of tech savvy business travelers, and ASUS appears to be eager to cash in.
It’s easy to become jaded when you review as much cutting-edge hardware as we do. We try not to be curmudgeons, but we do get grumpy when next-gen hardware fails to make a leap in performance—or worse, when it falls behind the gear it’s intended to supplant. So we’re happy to report that benchmarking Netgear’s new WNDR4500 left us grinning from ear to ear. This is the fastest router we’ve ever tested, and it’s packed with new features.
Belkin’s N750 DB offers a better-than-average feature set, but the router’s performance is a mixed bag. At most of our test stations, it delivered very good performance from its 5GHz radio but mediocre throughput from its 2.4GHz radio. Belkin arrives at the N750 model number by adding the 300Mb/s theoretical throughput on its 2.4GHz radio to the 450Mb/s theoretical throughput of its 5GHz radio. This is nonsense, of course, because you can’t bond the two together to achieve throughput that even approaches 750Mb/s.
D-Link markets this single-band (2.4GHz) router as particularly well suited for gaming and media streaming, and it is endowed with very good quality-of-service features, but QoS can’t magically render the 2.4GHz frequency band any less crowded. And given our relatively pristine test environment, the best word to describe the DIR-657’s range and TCP throughput is pathetic.
Trendnet was first‑to‑market with a dual-band USB adapter capable of supporting three 150Mb/s spatial streams on both the 2.4- and 5GHz frequency bands, and now it’s first‑to‑market with a router that does the same.
If you’re just looking for a fast wireless router, the TEW-692GR is a good choice and it’s priced right, too. But if you want a speedy wireless router that boasts all the latest bells and whistles, keep looking.
Looking to replace your aging wireless router? We benchmarked three brand-new models at Maximum PC Lab North, but each one is so different from the others that this shouldn’t be considered a three-way comparison. Belkin’s N750 DB is a dual-band model promising throughput of 300Mb/s on its 2.4GHz radio and 450Mb/s on its 5GHz radio, while D-Link’s DIR-657 is a more conventional single-band (2.4GHz) model claiming throughput of 300Mb/s. And Trendnet’s EW-692GR is the first dual-band router to deliver three 150Mb/s spatial streams (450Mb/s in aggregate) on both its 2.4- and 5GHz radios.
Netgear may have found a winner with it’s newly announced WGR614L wireless-G router that provides open source developers with an appliance platform that can be customized. Linksys has been enjoying a certain amount of popularity from the open source community since it released its original Linux based WRT54G router back in 2003. Since then a number of projects to change the firmware on the WRT line have come about like Tomato and OpenWRT. Of course flashing the firmware to anything other than the Linksys designed firmware voids your warranty. Netgear has chosen to embrace this community with their new WGR614L, rather than fight it.
We sometimes get so caught up in the excitement of the “next big thing” we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Based on the performance of the Wi-Fire Wi-Fi adapter, that might just be the case with IEEE 802.11g wireless routers.
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.
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.