draft 802.11n, 4x 10/100 Ethernet ports
Sitecom’s WL-341 is a small, square router with the usual four 10/100 Ethernet ports and a WAN port that connects to your cable modem or an ADSL modem or router.
Unlike most current Draft-N routers, the WL-341 defaults to channel-bonding mode, which uses two wireless channels to maximise transfer speeds. It has a pair of internal wireless antennas, and Sitecom estimates Draft-N speeds of between 75Mbit/s and 100Mbit/s.
Transfer speeds in our tests didn’t quite live up to that, but they came impressively close. Using Sitecom’s WL-302 USB adaptor (£27 including VAT), we got a very quick 63Mbit/s at close range. Our Centrino 2 laptop managed a maximum of 23Mbit/s, which should be sufficient for most purposes except streaming HD video. At 25m our connection to the router became unstable, so this isn’t a good buy if you want a wireless network that extends throughout a large house. Its range didn’t improve when we disabled channel-bonding.
Some wireless routers broadcast an unsecured signal when they’re first switched on. This makes it easier to connect to them initially, but they’re not secure until you’ve activated encryption and set a password. The WL-341 comes with WPA2 wireless network security enabled. The router’s unique 12-character security key is printed on its underside, along with its default IP address and login details. This makes the router secure out of the box without compromising convenience too much. The router also supports software- and hardware-based WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), which allows you to create a secure network by simply pressing a button on the router and then on any WPS-enabled product you’d like to connect.
With most security needs sorted, there’s little need for a quick start utility to help you configure your connection, so the accompanying disc contains only manuals. The router’s web interface is clear and easy to use. The router functioned perfectly well without any adjustments to its settings, but we were happy to find the usual advanced features. You can block undesirable websites, set up port forwarding and work around the router’s Network Address Translation (NAT) to avoid problems with certain applications and protocols.
The WL-341 achieved good transfer speeds at a distance of 10m, and we were impressed by its default security and simple interface. Its 10-year warranty for registered users is also welcome, and £50 is a good price for a Draft-N router. However, if you don’t mind setting up your own wireless security, Edimax’s BR-6574nis a better buy, thanks to its Gigabit Ethernet and superior wireless range.
|Draft 802.11n support
|MAC address filtering
|Number of WAN ports
|Ethernet connection speed
|Power consumption on
|Universal Plug and Play support
|USB device support
|10 years RTB