The Edimax BR-6280AC is a solid choice for anyone looking for a cheap router with respectable performance at range
Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 433Mbit/s, USB ports: None, Wall mountable: No
The Edimax BR-6208AC isn’t a very good-looking router. It has a front grille that resembles an air intake on an American muscle car, exposes the router’s internals and a number of LEDs that show the status for power, internet connectivity and the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks. The exposed LED bulbs are equally unattractive. The labels for each LED are also on the underside of the router, which we find a bit strange.
Three large antennas protrude from the router’s back, with one antenna responsible for the 5GHz band and the other two for 2.4GHz. The back of the router has a switch for turning the wireless on and off as well as a WPS pairing button that also doubles as a reset button.
Edimax describes the BR-6208AC as a 5-in-1 device, as it can be used as a Wi-Fi router, access point, Wi-Fi bridge, range extender and as a WISP (wireless internet service provider) router. WISP isn’t very prevalent in the UK at the moment but is expanding in rural areas that can’t be reached by cable or fibre broadband.
Annoyingly, if you want to switch between each mode you need to factory reset the router, but the web interface at least gives you the option of backing up your configuration settings should you want to revert to your previous settings. Once you plug in the router and access the web interface you’re greeted by Edimax’s smart wizard, which takes you through the process of setting up the router in one of the modes mentioned above.
Choosing the Wi-Fi router option will automatically detect your internet connection according to whatever you connect to the router’s WAN port. The WAN port is only rated at 10/100Mbit/s, which is worth noting if you have high speed internet, as this may restrict your download speeds. Similarly, the router’s four Ethernet LAN ports are also only rated at 10/100Mbit/s.
The smart wizard also lets you to set Wi-Fi passwords for the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks; it can broadcast on both simultaneously so you can connect both modern and older wireless devices. Each of the networks already has a logically named SSID but you’re also free to change them at this point.
The router supports one guest network on each wireless band so you can provide internet access while restricting access to your local network. It’s also possible to set up multiple SSIDs so you can create different local networks and user groups, but this is only available when the router is set to Access Point mode, so to use this function the BR-6208AC will need to be plugged into another router. At home this could mean creating one SSID for all your work-related computers and one for your family to help keep everything separate.
The Edimax BR-6208AC has a theoretical throughput of 300Mbit/s on its 2.4GHz band and 433Mbit/s on its 5GHz band. We tested the router’s wireless speeds using both our test laptop’s built-in Intel Dual Band Wireless N-7260 adaptor and Edimax’s EW-7811DAC wireless-AC USB2 adaptor (£24 inc VAT from www.kikatek.com).
Using our laptop’s wireless card, we saw 2.4GHz speeds of 28.5Mbit/s at 10m and just 8Mbit/s at 25m. Things improved on the 5GHz band, where we saw speeds of 87Mbit/s at 10m and 49.5Mbit/s at 25m. The 10m speed is one of the slowest 5GHz speeds we’ve seen recently (if not a disaster), but the 25m figure is pretty good for a cheap router. With Edimax’s USB adaptor in 802.11n mode we saw 78.8Mbit/s at 10m and only a minor speed decrease to 77.7Mbit/s at 25m, both of which are average figures. Using the adaptor in 5GHz mode, we saw 90.1Mbit/s at 10m but only 49.5Mbit/s at 25m; speeds which are near the bottom of the pack.
The Edimax BR-6208AC has respectable performance for its low price when used with our laptop’s built-in wireless, even if performance with Edimax’s own USB adaptor was disappointing. It’s a fair choice if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on a basic wireless-AC router, but for a little more you can have the Asus RT-AC52U with its superior wireless range.
|Security||WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS|
|LAN ports||4x 10/100Mbit/s|
|DDNS services||3322 (qdns), DHS, DynDNS, ODS, TZO, GnuDIP, DyNS, ZoneEdit, DHIS, CyberGate, NS2GO, No-IP|
|Price including VAT||£34|