Edimax BR-6574n review
We first reviewed Edimax's BR-6574n last year, when it won our Budget Buy award.
It's a Draft-N wireless router that has proven itself as a fast, reliable and inexpensive choice. The setup CD guides you through connecting your router, securing your wireless network and updating the router to its latest firmware. The wizard requires a bit more interaction than some, prompting you to select from a variety of broadband connection types and offering to clone your MAC address, but the process is fairly straightforward.
The web configuration interface is clearly presented, and we were impressed by the detailed explanations of what each option does. The default Service Set Identifier (SSID) is unimaginatively 'default', but it's easy to change via the basic wireless settings screen.
The router has all the features you're likely to need, including support for DDNS and up to 16 static IP addresses for equipment such as printers and NAS devices. 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, although dedicated web-filtering software is more comprehensive and easier to configure.
Basic 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.
The BR-6574n achieved impressive Draft-N wireless transfer speeds using our Centrino 2 laptop, with 17.1Mbit/s at 20m and 45.8Mbit/s at 10m. We also tested it with Edimax's EW-7718UN adaptor (£28 including VAT). Unfortunately, transfer speeds using this own-brand wireless adaptor were significantly worse than those achieved using our laptop's built-in Draft-N capabilities.
The BR-6574n is a decent budget router, but it just misses out an award, because Linksys's WRT320N is even faster, especially when it's used with its own-brand adaptor.
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