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SMC Wireless Barricade N Router review

Barry de la Rosa
29 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
34
inc VAT

Although it supports 300Mbit/s 802.11n wireless, the Barricade N struggles to reach decent speeds over any distance

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Specifications

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

SMC's SMCWBR14S-N3 is 802.11n certified and promises speeds of up to 300Mbit/s, which means that it has twin antennae for MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) operation. There’s no built-in modem, so you'll need to have an ADSL or cable modem already installed.

Installation was fairly straightforward. You can either use the supplied CD to run a setup wizard, which takes you through a step-by-step process, or you can access the setup pages through your browser with the address, username and password on the router’s underside. The admin page also includes a setup wizard, although it assumes you've correctly connected your router to your modem and PC.

SMC	Wireless Barricade N Router

The Barricade can work as a router or wireless extender. By default wireless security is turned off. The setup interface is pretty basic and the menu isn't easy to follow, grouping most options under an Advanced Setup heading. We felt some basic settings could have been separated from the more advanced options. For example, in the LAN page we found simple settings for DHCP and assigning up to six static IP addresses, but at the bottom of the page there were options for advanced network services with no explanations or help links.

While the router supports a number of networking features, they aren't well signposted. The QoS page has a menu to enable or disable the feature, but underneath is an "Upload bandwidth" drop-down, which is only useful in countries where ISPs charge for bandwidth. We eventually found the WMM configuration button, which lets you prioritise different data types on your home network, under Advanced Wireless.

SMC	Wireless Barricade N Router Ports

The Barricade doesn’t lack features - it supports advanced firewall filtering including URLs and keywords, a guest wireless network, a DMZ, and port forwarding - but these features aren't fully explained in the help file and aren't logically organised in the interface. The manual was great at telling us what acronyms meant, but not very good at explaining how to use them.

The SMCWBR14S-N3’s main problem is its speed. Our benchmark tests came up with wildly varying results, although in general we found the router was slow at close range, and only managed around 30Mbit/s with its own-brand adaptor or a Centrino laptop in our 10m test. At 20m, speeds dropped to around 5Mbit/s.

We can't recommend the Barricade N. The TP-Link TL-WR741ND is only a 150Mbit/s N-Lite router, but it achieves higher speeds, has similarly advanced features, and is half the price.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
Modem typenone
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportyes
Draft 802.11n 5GHz supportno
MIMOyes
Stated speed300Mbit/s

Security

128-bit WEPyes
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZyes

Physical

Size189x154x30mm
Antennas2
Internal/external antennasexternal
Upgradeable antennano
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports4
Ethernet connection speed10/100Mbit/s
Other portsnone
Wall mountableyes
Power consumption on3W

Other Features

Dynamic DNSyes
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingyes
Port forwardingyes
WDS Supportyes
USB device supportyes
QoSyes

Buying Information

Price£34
Warrantytwo years RTB
Supplier
Detailswww.smc.com