wireless routers

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How We Test Wireless Routers

Wireless Testing

Say hello to Maximum PC Lab Midwest

For the past several years, we’ve been testing routers at Maximum PC Lab North, a 2,800-square-foot home located on 10 acres of what was once a dairy farm. The new location is Maximum PC Lab Midwest, a 1,400-square-foot home flanked by houses on either side, a yard extending into a wooded area out back, and a semi-busy road in front. The new location offers a harsher, more real-world testing environment.

Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Belkin N1 Vison (F5D8232-4)

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.

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Trendnet Wireless N Gigabit (TEW-633GR)

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.

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Buffalo NFiniti WZR2-G300N

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?

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Linksys WRT350N

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.

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Belkin N1 (F5D8231-4)

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.

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