Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H review
Huge file transfer speeds at range help compensate for the inadequacies of the WZR-HP-G450H's interface
Review Date: 15 Sep 2011
Price when reviewed: £82
Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore
Buffalo claims its WZR-HP-G450H's high power output 'provides better coverage and signal quality in houses and large apartments'. It certainly looks the part, with its three adjustable aerials which you can unscrew in order to fit even larger third-party models. It doesn't have an ADSL modem installed, so to use it with ADSL broadband you'll need to plug an existing ADSL Ethernet modem or router into its WAN port.
By default, the router comes with the open-source DD-WRT firmware installed. This provides an extremely slick interface which makes it easy to find options and quick to save settings, but we found the WZR-HP-G450H's version to be rather unstable. It would sometimes refuse to accept our username and password at various points during setup, and when we changed the router's SSID from the default neither of our test Centrino 2 laptops could find it. The router's transfer speeds were also slow with the DD-WRT firmware installed, managing only 19.82Mbit/s in our 10m test, which is around half what we'd expect.
To try to fix these problems we installed the latest Buffalo firmware from the WZR-HP-G450H's support pages. Compared to the slickness of the DD-WRT interface, Buffalo's own is a bit of a mess. The interface is ugly and fairly confusing - the router's options are split into rough categories such as Setup, Internet/LAN, Wireless Config and Security, and sub-options are accessed with a scattering of tiny buttons under the tabs.
All the options you’d expect, such as UpNP, port forwarding, Quality of Service and Dynamic DNS, are present and work as you'd expect, but it's not exactly easy tracking them down. Basic options such as wireless security and channel are easy to find and simple to change, but we were disappointed with the Buffalo firmware's USB hard disk support. You're meant to be able to plug in a USB drive to share over the network as a NAS or media server, or to act as storage for the router's built-in BitTorrent client. We had trouble with it, though - it only supports disks formatted as FAT or FAT32, not NTFS, and refused to recognise the two USB sticks we plugged in.
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