Tenda D301 Wireless N300 ADSL2+ Modem Router Review

Introduction


Once in a while I get a product in for review that isn’t the newest and today is one of those times. I’m taking a closer look at Tenda’s D301 ADSL2+ Wireless Modem Router. This isn’t one of those routers one would run out and buy, but it could very well be the one your internet service provider is giving you.

The feature with the Tenda D301 is that is a combination of modem and router in one, effectively giving you an ADSL 2/2+ modem with router functionality and 4-port switch in one device. This certainly beats having both an ADSL modem and a router next to each other.

It comes with two external 5dBi antennas and supports MIMO technology that uses signal reflections to reduce dead spots and provide better wireless performance, coverage, and transmission rates.

The security part is covered pretty well with port filter, URL filter, and MAC filter. The wireless connection can be encrypted with a 64 to 128-bit WEP, WPA, or WPA2 password. Speaking of wireless, the Tenda D301 Wireless Modem Router only provides the 2.4GHz band with a transfer rate of 300Mbps.

IPTV is also supported on this router and it comes with a built-in USB 2.0 port for easy file sharing from flash drives to all connected devices, that could be both PCs and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The four LAN ports are only 100Mbps, but that isn’t all to bad when you think about it. If you only got an ADSL connection and only use the network to connect to the internet, then you don’t need any more. The fourth LAN port doubles as a WAN port when used as just a router and the first LAN port has built-in functionality for IPTV. VLANs are supported and so are virtual servers and PPPTP, L2TP, and IPSec VPN pass-throughs.. It supports Dynamic IP, Static IP. PPPoE, and IPoA internet connections.

You get individual LEDs for every port and function as well as a 6000V lightning protection that will help to protect connected devices from overcurrents in case the installation should be the victim in a thunderstorm.

Key Functions

  • ADSL2/ADSL2+ Modem, Router and 4-port Switch in one
  • IPTV support
  • USB Sharing
  • Lightning Protection

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging looks like what those of most routers do. An image of the device on the front as well as a basic summary of the key functions.

On the rear of the package, you find a little more information about what it does, where you could connect what and all that in several languages.

Inside the box, we find an RJ45 LAN cable, an RJ11 cable, and an ADSL splitter as well as the power supply unit. There’s also a manual disk with a user guide and setup wizard for quick installation and a printed quick install guide.

Tenda W568R Wireless N900 Concurrent Dual-band Gigabit Router Review

Introduction


Tenda has quite a long list of network products and today I’m taking a closer look at another one of them. The Tenda W568R is a wireless N900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router that promises a great performance and coverage.

With the power of a dual-band router, you can easy use the slower and better reaching 2.4GHz band to check your mail and browse the internet while you use the faster 5GHz band for streaming and gaming. The Tenda W568R offers 450Mbps transfer speeds on both bands for a total of up to 900 Mbps throughput. That makes this router ideal for tasks such as 3D HD video streaming and multiplayer gaming.

Tenda built the router without any external antennas, but it still features an impressive performance. With full 3×3 MIMO technology, the router is a perfect choice for larger multi-level homes and buildings with a signal range that reaches virtually any area. At least that is what it promises, we’ll have to let our benchmarks speak for themselves later on.

All wired ports are Gigabit Ethernet capable and you get one for the WAN internet connection and four normal LAN ports where one of them is specially set up to support IPTV service for those of you who might have that as a part of the package. You also get a USB 2.0 port for file and printer sharing over your network and without the need for any more devices. The only button you’ll find on this router is a combined reset and WPS button.

There is an LED for each port as well as both wireless bands, allowing you to keep an eye on everything with ease. The wireless bands support WEP, WPA, and WPA2 password protected security, but you should note that the router comes with both Wi-Fi bands enabled and no security set. This makes it easier to set up to begin with, but it is at the same time a security risk.

Whether you’re an enthusiast or first-time user of routers, you should find the installation and setup both easy and intuitive. The utility interface might not be the freshest after todays standards, but it offers what you need.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

It is very suiting that the Tenda W568R stand-up router also get a stand-up shaped retail box. The front shows you the actual colour of the device in the main image and the available colour choices at the bottom, next to the name.

On the rear side of the packaging, you find a little more information about the router and what it can do in six different languages. A neatly made package that contains the information you’ll be looking for.

Inside you find a power adapter, a Gigabit LAN cable, the installation guide, and a User Guide and Setup Wizard optical disk – and also the router, itself, of course.

Linksys Launched New Wireless Range Extender and High-Gain Antennas

Linksys launches a new wireless range extender and two new high-gain antenna packs to help you deal with those dead zones you might have in your setup or just plain extend the network range. The new Wi-Fi range extender is the Linksys AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6700) and the Linksys WRT004AND and WRT002ANT are the two new dual-band omnidirectional high-gain antenna two and four-packs.

The RE6700 Wi-Fi range extender provides a Wi-Fi signal boost into rooms throughout the house with a simple, elegant, and easy-to-install solution. The built-in power outlet maintains use of an existing wall outlet with pass-through functionality so you don’t lose the use of that outlet which often are limited where you actually need them.

The Wi-Fi extender is a dual-band device and works simultaneously as N300 and AC867 Mbps extender for maximum coverage. Two external and adjustable antennas provide great performance. It also features a Gigabit LAN port where you can connect cabled devices to your wireless network.

A 3.5mm audio jack allows you to connect speakers to the range extender and stream music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet or laptop. The RE6700 works with any router or gateway including those provided by your ISP.

Linksys also developed the Spot Finder Technology which enables you to visually see the best placement spot for the range extender in the home by using your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Spot Finder Technology automatically activates when the setup process is launched and you just have to follow a few prompts for a hassle-free setup and improved Wi-Fi to existing dead zones.

The RE6700 is available starting today at major retail and online resellers for an MSRP of £89.99.

Linksys’ high-gain antennas, the first of their kind, are available in a 2- and 4-pack (WRT004ANT and WRT002ANT) and help improve a router’s signal strength specifically at the edge of a Wi-Fi network and the result is enhanced Wi-Fi performance.

The new dual-band high-gain antennas are the first of their kind and compatible with any wireless router that features an RP-SMA connection. They deliver 4dBi in the 2.4GHz band and 7dBi in the 5 GHz band for up to double the antenna gain over stock antennas. The omni-directional capability extends Wi-Fi coverage for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands on the horizontal plane.

Linksys WRT004ANT and WRT002ANT Omni-directional High Gain Antennas are also available now, but it is a pricey upgrade. They come with an MSRP of £89.99 and £44.99 respectively for the 4-pack and 2-pack.

 

Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor Review

Introduction


Following on from my review on Asus’ top performing wireless AC router, the RT-AC68U that we looked at not too long ago, it is only worth us taking a closer look at what makes this next generation wireless adaptor tick. Unless your laptop or desktop system has built-in wireless, there is one of two main options out there for you to choose from in order to add the freedom to your system that is wireless networking. The first of these methods is to get a USB based device which is a simple device with very little setup required – literally plug it in, install the driver and you’re away. In addition a USB adaptor is compatible with both notebook and desktop systems and they are not overly expensive either. Like most things though there is a downside to going down the USB path; whilst they are able to deliver some highly respectable levels of performance, the antenna is either very small, or internal to the adaptor and therefore signal strength can be an issue.

The second main path to go down when going wireless is go with a PCI Express add-on card; obviously there is the immediate downside in that you’re not going to shoehorn one of these into your notebook system – so it’s USB only on that one I’m afraid, but for the desktop system there are a couple of perks in going down this route. The first of these is that you don’t lose another USB port on the rear or front of your case, but more importantly the antennae are bigger and on the PCE-AC68 there are three of them with a magnetic base plate on offer to maximise the signal strength and speed of your connection to the router. Sounds good huh?

Inside the box alongside the brightly coloured card Asus give us a VIP warranty note, driver CD and quick setup guide, three external antennae, a magnetic base plate with a long SMA extension cable and a half-height PCI back plate.

Asus RT-AC68U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless Router Review

Introduction


If I was to say the name Asus to a selection of people and ask what they would associate them with, I’d almost guarantee that none of them would say wireless or networking products in any way and this is quite understandable considering the fact that they are one of the biggest names out there on the market for motherboards and graphics card. Believe it or not though, networking has been something that Asus have been working on for a few years now and even though they have already got a wide selection of wireless and wired networking products out there, they are not as well-known about due to the bread and butter nature of their key product ranges.

As we are moving forward into an era where Gigabit wireless is becoming more of a common occurrence I’ve seen this as an ample opportunity to take a look at their latest and greatest wireless router, the RT-AC68U. Now considering this router is far more capable than the Netgear wireless access point and USB adaptor that I have, up to this point been using, I have therefore needed to employ a new wireless adaptor that is capable of equally delivering the same 1300Mbps connection speed that this router is capable of. Fortunately for me Asus also have a solution for this in the form of the PCE-AC68 PCI Express based wireless adaptor – I’ll have a separate review on this coming up shortly. With these wireless devices combined, we are looking at what is, at the moment, the pinnacle of wireless networking in the home and as we move forward and further into the capabilities of the 802.11ac standard – which I will add is currently nowhere near what its true potential is – we can get a better picture of what the next generation of consumer WiFi has to offer.

As we have seen though, pure performance is not the only thing that a router has to deliver these days, the feature set that each vendor has to be very rich, covering every possible eventuality that we may come across at a consumer and even a prosumer level. Now for the most part we find that a large number of these features will be somewhat similar to those found on other competing products. There is one small item that I will tease you with and one that will certainly catch the eye of any enthusiast; dual WAN capabilities. Before I get onto this little feature however there are a few other pieces to go through including what makes this router tick so to speak. Bring on what could be the most powerful router we have seen to date.

The accessory set for any router is pretty much set in stone and this setup is not that much different. Alongside the router, power cable and a single patch lead, there are a pair of interchangeable mains adaptors for the UK and EU markets, reference guide and manual on a CD with a paper Quick setup guide with a set of three external antennae rounding off the package.

Linksys EA6900 AC1900 802.11ac Dual- Band Wireless Router Review

Introduction


When it comes to home networking there are a number of big names that come to mind and fortunately I have been able to put a number of products from these names to the test, however there has been one particular brand that I have been keen to get in touch with and establish a line of communications – namely Linksys. Believe it or not it is not always as simple as firing an email at someone and instantly getting products sent back in return as some may believe. After a few months of patiently waiting and after having a meeting with a few representatives from Linksys at this years CES in Las Vegas, I can finally say that I’m glad to have Linksys onboard and I look forward to having a good sniff through the stack of products that they have to offer.

Link some of the other big names in the consumer networking market – Netgear and TP-Link being just a couple of the other big names, Linksys have a massive following and also have a big history to back a successful line of products. After being formed in 1998, Linksys was bought out by Cisco Systems in 2003 and in the next ten years that followed, their name became synonymous with the WRT line of networking products. To put it in a simple way, if you was into your home networking, then Linksys’ WRT54G was the way to go – the OpenWRT project which was founded to develop the hacked router caused the popularity to explode to a new level. On a personal Level I have owned a number of Linksys routers over the years, in particular the WRT54g, WRT54Gs and the ADSL2+MUE modem amongst others. The power and flexibility that was on offer set these products head and shoulders above all else. In the more recent years, Linksys went under a second acquisition as Belkin then purchased the company in the early stages of the last year, ready to take them to the next level. Today Linksys is branded under its own name with the enthusiast and power user at the heart of their design, whilst Belkin branded items target the home and entry-level user.

As we all know, wireless networking over the last couple of years has been going through a radical set of changes, at a similar rate as the core desktop components and sin the last five years we have seen wireless speeds rise from 54Mbps right up to the Gigabit WiFi speeds of over 1000Mbps that we are no seeing today. In simple terms we are looking at well over 20x times the wireless bandwidth that we saw only ten years ago. As technology has moved on and our homes have become more enriched and entangled in our digital lives, the amount of power and speed that we have been demanding from our home networks has risen to greater and greater levels, thus the reason why we have seen such a rapid growth in wireless technology.

The EA6900 router that I’m taking a look at today is one of the latest generation Gigabit wireless routers to come to market and with this it brings some of the fastest wireless speeds that we have seen to date. Like many other current wireless routers, we get a pair of dual band radios, offering both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networking capacity with 802.11n speeds of up to 600Mbps on offer from the 2.4GHz band and the latest 802.11ac connectivity on the 5GHz band with a whopping speed of up to 1300Mbps on offer – yes that is faster than the current standard for LAN connections. Surrounding the super speed wireless connections the EA6900 also offers up four wired Gigabit Ethernet and Gigabit WAN port for super speed broadband connections, dual USB ports (1x USB2.0 & 1x USB3.0) for sharing storage and printers across the local network, topped off with a compelling user interface which offers up all the functionality that one would need from a high-end consumer router, but in an easy to use interface.

On paper things are looking good, but for me the real question is knowing if the Linksys that many of us knew in their hey-day has been kept close to heart or has this brand sadly become just another name on the shelf.

Inside the box, which itself gives us a good insight into what the router looks like and has to offer, we get a simple and to the point item list. Alongside the router and power cord we get three external antenna, a single CAT5e patch lead, a system resources CD and a quick setup guide to get things up and running. The packaging also points out that, like a few other routers that are now available, we have the option of downloading a mobile smart application for setting up and managing the router without the need for a desktop system.

Linksys WRT – A Legend Is Reborn As Shipments Begin

When it comes to iconic computer hardware, software and peripherals, there a numerous points on the technology time-line that stand out and when we focus more closely on consumer networking, there is without a doubt only one product that stands above everything else. This is of course the blue and black WRT54G the Linksys brought to the market way back in December 2002 – that’s just over 11 years ago. What started out as a single router eventually turned out to be a one of the greatest success stories in Linksys’ history. Due to their [at the time] high levels of performance, flexibility, ease of use and much more, this line of routers has seen deployment not only in the home but all across the world in numerous different situations – be it in an office or directly out in the field. When DD-WRT came to light in later years, customisation and modification of these routers went berserk as users found multiple ways to get that bit extra from their kit – I should know as I was one of those users.

This router has made such an impression on the market and it has shown its worth so much that even today we find that some of them still in use today.

As time as moved on though and wireless technology has evolved to a point where it is now faster than Gigabit LAN, Linksys now as a part of Belkin have been working to rekindle the essence of the WRT product line and gives the world once more the ultimate wireless router that will put virtually every other product out there on the market to shame. The WRT1900AC has been born.

Earlier in the year at CES we caught a glimpse of what the new router had to offer and what is clear above all else is that Linksys want people to know that this router owes all its heritage and design to the former market leader. First things first though, just take a look at it, I mean it’s not everyday that I say that I love the look of a product so much, but when it comes to rekindling the good ol’ times, Linksys have hit the proverbial nail right on the head with this one. Not only do we get the classic blue and black plastic housing, we get a more modern twist on the design with broad angles and the image that this unit means business.

So what’s new with the WRT1900AC? Well before we even get on to the hardware side of things I have to mention the firmware. What made the WRT54G what it is today was the open source aspect of its firmware and OpenWRT was a project that was based around hacking into the original WRT lineup to introduce more power and more features into the already powerful hardware. Linksys are fully aware of this appeal and as a result they have been working very closely with OpenWRT to ensure that the 1900AC is capable of giving users the option to chose between the default firmware or to use the open source alternative.

Knowing that the WRT-Cult are going to want more from a new router, Linksys have beefed up the specification of the 1900AC to include a dual-core 1,2GHz CPU, 128MB flash memory, 256MB of DDR3 RAM,  USB and eSATA ports, four Gigabit LAN and a single Gigabit WAN port, four external & replaceable antennae and on top of all that, dual-band wireless offering speeds of up to 1300Mbps 802.11ac on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps 802.11n on the 2.4GHz band. All in all we are looking at some of the best specifications on the market today.

On the software side of the router, the features keep on coming in. Out of the box the WRT1900AC ships with Linksys’ latest Smart WiFi setup and management tools, with a more intuitive and flexible user interface as well as the option to remotely manage the system from anywhere in the world through either a web interface or the optional mobile application. Other features both new and old include the ability to share connected storage devices and printers to the local network through the USB3.0 or 2.0 port or even eSATA ports, share content via FTP to external connections, Dynamic DNS setup options such as No-IP, DynDNS and TZO, various operating modes such as router / gateway / range extender or bridge, parental controls, guest networks and parental controls.

Further more there is the obvious ability as mentioned to upgrade to OpenWRT firmware where there are a host of additional features on hand, giving the WRT-Cult all the power that they want and will need for many years to come.

Whilst shipments have just started, sales of the WRT1900AC wil not commence until the 13th April with Best Buy stocking units with an MSRP of $279.99. Alternatively you can purchase the new router from Linksys directly through their online store. Now whilst the price may seem expensive; and compared to other routers it is a lot more to pay, if you’re a WRT fan and follower such as myself then this is just a small price to pay for what is likely to be the best bit of networking kit that we are likely to see all year.

Finally all I have to say is watch this space for a review where I aim to put the new WRT1900AC router to the test to see how the spirit of WRT has been reborn.

Source: Press Release

Netgear A6200 Dual-Band USB Wireless AC Adaptor Review

Introduction


Just over a week ago I took a look at one of Netgear’s latest Smart WiFi routers to roll off the production line and into the real-world. The R6250, like many of Netgear’s latest routers, offers up the latest in WiFi technology with Gigabit wireless connections and also beamforming+ technology to ensure the connected devices get the fastest and best signal as possible. When we look at the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac – at this moment in time, there isn’t actually that many devices on the market that can connect using the AC standard. Whilst a number of devices can ‘see’ the AC networks (which run at 5GHz), in most instances they will actually be connecting through the 802.11n standard as that is the fastest they can go.

For the most part, running at wireless-n speeds is going to be fast enough for the average household and considering the fact that pretty much everything runs to this standard these days, many people don’t feel that there is a need to go that bit further. For those the do want to take things up a notch and push towards the world of Gigabit wireless, the AC standard is where the speed is. As we’ve seen recently, the routers the support AC are readily available in the market place and now we are starting to see the add-in wireless adaptors crop up too. As a result I have taken the opportunity to start testing routers that we have in for review at the new AC standard, and the A6200 wireless adaptor from Netgear is what I will be using.

When we get on to the testing stage of this review, some will note that the performance results look very similar to those found within the R6250 review and you would be right – they are. The simple reason for this is because of the router that I opted to use for the testing of this adaptor, on both the 5GHz band, but also on the 2.4GHz band. In the same way that I used this adaptor to test the R6250 router, I was also recording down the performance for the A6200 at the same time as this was the only router that I had to hand that would be able to deliver the bandwidth required.

Inside the box and alongside the wireless adaptor, Netgear include a few bits of paperwork including a quick setup guide, along with a CD with the drivers and Netgear Genie software and a USB dock come extension lead.

The A6200 is one of Netgear’s premium wireless adaptors offering up both the fastest possible speed and features.

Netgear R6250 Dual Band Gigabit Smart WiFi Router Review

Introduction


Over the last couple of years the internet has been going through a radical increase in speed and with some connections passing well over the 100Mbps mark, many people are now looking for the next generation of routers that can keep up with the high-speed connections that are on offer. As part of the connection process, every ISP (Internet Service Provider) tends to provide us with their own branded routers such as BT’s ‘Home Hub’ and Virgin’s ‘Super Hub’ (in the case of the two leading Internet providers in the UK); but let’s be honest, whilst they all claim that their wireless router is the better than everyone else’s – they’re not necessarily the best.

When I took a look at Netgear’s R6300 Wireless AC router back towards the start of the year, the performance that I experienced both on the local network and through the internet was far superior to my BT Home Hub that I was provided with – especially when I saw my connection speed to the internet go up by around 5Mbps. This is generally the same story across the board for many people. We are on the whole demanding more from our wireless routers and the ISP provided equipment is not matching our needs, so it is soon being replaced by after-market alternatives that have so much more to offer. Netgear are one such brand that is considered by many. Having been one the of the industries leading infrastructure manufacturers for many years and the consumer level products have been a major part of their business model, with high customer ratings and renowned reliability proving they are one of the best out there.

As the internet has grown to be faster and faster, Netgear have been pushing to come up with a router that not only meets the demands of today’s heavy users, but with features that are ready for the next generation of wireless devices. After many months of R&D (Research and Development), towards the start of this year, a line of dual-band Gigabit wireless was brought to market and the R6300 was one of these.  Delivering super fast, dual band wireless with speeds of up to 1300Mbps across an AC connection it has soon become one of the best routers on the market. The user interface also saw a massive overhaul with all the connectivity and configuration options that the end-user may need – laid out in an intuitive design. Once you top off the package with USB port(s) for connecting printers and storage devices to, enabling them to be accessed across the network or remotely through Netgear’s ReadyShare functions, it becomes apparent that Netgear are offering a little more than your run-of-the-mill router.

Like many routers, Netgear’s package is simple and to the point. With little more than a DC power adaptor and a CAT5e Ethernet cable to connect the router to a modem needed, a simple pack of paperwork rounds off all the bits that you’ll need to get things up and running.