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Buffalo WCR-GN review

David Ludlow
10 Jan 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
21
inc VAT

This is a fully-featured router, but it's a bit tricky to configure and you can get slightly cheaper models with better performance.

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Specifications

802.11n, 4x 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet ports

With its WCR-GN, Buffalo joins the ranks of companies putting out cheap, N-Lite wireless cable routers, capable of running at a maximum speed of 150Mbit/s. The price is partially so cheap because there's no ADSL modem built-in, just an Ethernet WAN port to connect to an existing Cable router. There are also four 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet ports for wired devices.

Buffalo Wireless N150 Router back

Configuration is easiest via the CD set-up wizard on it that helps you check all of the bits are in the box, before taking you into a set-up wizard. It takes you through all of the configuration steps you need to get online and to set up a secure wireless network, but it forced us to type in a username and password for our internet connection, although this wasn't actually needed (typing 'a' for both did the trick).

Buffalo Wireless N150 Router front

The setup wizard assumes that you'll use WPS (or the near-identical Buffalo AOSS) to automatically connect devices to the secure network, although it does display the encryption key so you can connect manually.

If you want to set your own encryption password you have to connect to the web interface, which isn't the easiest to understand. A link called Wireless Encryption takes you to a page where you can select a security type, such WPA-PSK (AES), and enter an encryption key. However, it didn't work for us.

Instead we had to manually change the Basic Wireless Settings to get the correct settings. Doing this we noticed that the router supports up to four simultaneous SSIDs. The first two support all wireless encryption standards, the third WPA-PSK (AES), the final one WEP. This may all seem a bit odd, but it means that you can set up an SSID for legacy devices if you have.

Note that all SSIDs share the same permissions, so you can't have an unsecured SSID for guests and limit what they can and can't do on your network. The only option for each SSID is whether or not Isolation is turned on, which prevents wireless devices from seeing each other.

You can choose to manually configure your wireless channel (an automatic mode is also available), but you can select channels 12 or 13, which are allowed in the UK; only the US channels of 1 to 11 are available. The channel-bonding mode is turned off by default, but if you don't have many wireless networks in your vicinity you can turn it on for better performance.