Skip to navigation

SMC Barricade N SMCWBR14-3GN review

Verdict:

Fast, with lots of features and a good interface, but it's let down by limited 3G modem support and inadequate compatibility information.

Review Date: 13 Aug 2009

Price when reviewed: £86

Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Mobile broadband is a great way to get online when you're out and about, but it's also a decent alternative to a regular broadband connection.

The only problem is that sharing a 3G USB modem between multiple computers is relatively difficult and inconvenient.

This is a problem that SMC's Barricade N SMCWBR14-3GN router aims to solve. As well as a standard Ethernet WAN port, which plugs into an Ethernet cable or ADSL modem, it has a USB port into which you can plug a 3G mobile broadband dongle. You can use the 3G connection as the primary internet connection or as an automatic backup should the fixed broadband connection fail.

The router comes without an installation disc, but a setup wizard is built into its web interface. The wizard helps you configure your internet connections and choose which is the primary connection. It also prompts you to configure your wireless security settings so that you end up with a secure network.

To configure the 3G connection, you need to know the correct dial command (*99***#1) and your mobile provider's 3G Access Point Name (APN), username and password. A Google search should provide most of this, but contact your provider if you're not sure.

The only other potential pitfall is modem support. Looking through the release notes for the latest router firmware on SMC's website (there's no easier way to check compatibility), we found that the router supports common 3G adaptors, including Huawei's E220, E169, E156 and E172, but not the E180 used by BT's mobile service. There's also little support for the ZTE modems used by 3. Each firmware release adds new adaptors, though, so this situation could change. If you don't have a compatible dongle, several shops sell the E220 for around £100, and you can find other models on eBay.

We tested the router with a T-Mobile Huawei E220 modem. Once we'd entered the 3G settings and the adaptor had connected to the network, we were able to browse the internet on all connected computers.

A downside of sharing a 3G connection is that it might make it easier to exceed your download limit. This needn't be a problem with the Barricade N, as a Budget Control option lets you disable the 3G connection after a set amount of time or according to a data limit.

The router did well in our tests, with consistently fast transfer speeds including 15.1Mbit/s at 20m with a Centrino 2 laptop. The Barricade N is a clever router with some great 3G features, but its USB modem support lets it down slightly. If you need a fast 3G router, Billion's dual ADSL/3G BiPAC 7402NX is easy to configure, with better 3G modem support, but it's expensive.

Prev Next
< Previous   Reviews : Wireless routers Next >
Sponsored Links

advertisement

Award-winning Wireless routers
Best Buy
AVM Fritz!Box 3390
Best Budget Buy
Tenda W300D
Best Business Buy
Draytek Vigor 2860n
Ultimate
Asus RT-AC68U

AVM Fritz!Box 7490 review

AVM Fritz!Box 7490

Category: Wireless routers
Rating: 4 out of 5
Price: £249
Netgear D6200 review

Netgear D6200

Category: Wireless routers
Rating: 4 out of 5
Price: £124
Trendnet TEW-812DRU review

Trendnet TEW-812DRU

Category: Wireless routers
Rating: 5 out of 5
Price: £85
Belkin AC 1200 DB review

Belkin AC 1200 DB

Category: Wireless routers
Rating: 3 out of 5
Price: £145
Buffalo WZR-1166DHP review

Buffalo WZR-1166DHP

Category: Wireless routers
Rating: 5 out of 5
Price: £92
Sponsored Links
 

advertisement

Also in this category...
 

advertisement


advertisement


 
 

Expert Reviews Printed from www.expertreviews.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.