Edimax BR-6574n review
Review Date: 21 Nov 2008
Price when reviewed: inc VAT
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Edimax's BR-6574n is a Draft-N wireless router with Gigabit Ethernet, but it costs considerably less than most such devices.
The web configuration interface is clearly presented, and we were impressed by the detailed explanations of what each option does; this is helpful for anyone who'd rather not spend their time ploughing through a manual. The default Service Set Identifier (SSID) is unimaginatively 'default'. We'd have preferred something easier to identify, but it's easy to change it via the basic wireless settings screen.
The router has all the features you're likely to need. The built-in firewall can be tweaked to explicitly block specified computers on your network from accessing websites defined by URL or a keyword. This is useful if you don't want to give your entire family unrestricted access to the web. There are the usual options for MAC address filtering, but they aren't that important for most users.
There's support for various free and premium Dynamic DNS (DDNS) services, which allow you to forward a static web address to your network. This is handy if your ISP provides you with only a dynamic IP address and you need to access your home network regularly. Without DDNS, you'd need to keep track of your network's changing IP address.
The LAN settings allow you to assign static DHCP leases. This way, you can give a fixed IP address to a device, even if you're using DHCP to assign other IP addresses automatically. This is useful if you have a media server or backup device that you always want to use the same network address. You're limited to a maximum of 16 leases, but this should be plenty for most users.
Basic Quality of Service (QoS) options allow you to limit the bandwidth available to specific computers and applications on your network. However, you have to define all the settings manually, so this feature isn't for the inexperienced. This router's QoS settings don't include automatic traffic shaping, which prioritises bandwidth for programs that need a stable, consistent connection, such as streaming media and VoIP.
We tested the router's Draft N wireless speed over a connection to a Centrino 2 laptop. It performed well at a distance of 10m, where we got an average transfer speed of 40.6Mbit/s, the fastest we've seen since we started testing with Centrino 2. Our 25m test produced a usable 10.9Mbit/s transfer rate.
The BR-6574n is an inexpensive Gigabit Ethernet router, with impressive Draft-N wireless performance. Although it doesn't have dual-band 2.4GHz or 5GHz Draft-N support, it's still a great choice for anyone who moves lots of data around on their network. However, SMC's SMC7904WBRA-N bundle is better value if you need a Draft-N adaptor and aren't bothered about Gigabit Ethernet.
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