With most ISPs now providing ADSL services without bundling in the company modems, it makes sense to have a single device, which performs the operations of both, the modem, as well the router. While this certainly does reduce the number of endpoints and wires required, it also helps eliminate the extra complexity that third party applications face when connected via a separate set of modem and router. Buffalo has introduced a range of modems cum routers and here’s a hands-on review for the Buffalo Airstation WBMR-HP-GNV2-AP.
Sleek and small design for a modem-cum-router
Design and Build Quality
The Buffalo Airstation is a sleek and tiny ADSL2+ modem cum router of the Wi-Fi 802.11n standard. It has a surprisingly small and light-weight design for a device that includes dual functionality of a modem, as well as router. The front panel consists of five LEDs for Power, WPS security, Wireless functions, DSL and Internet. The back consists of four LAN ports, a power jack and a telephone line connection. A small notification LED slot exists next to each of the LAN ports to verify if the LAN connection is ON. Small vents have been included on the side. Smart ergonomics, we would say, as they have a sloping structure to prevent dust particles from entering the device. This is beneficial, as there will be minimal heat trapping during the long ‘Always-ON’ usage for routers.
Great router, with a not-so-great stand
Also, a separate detachable stand is bundled in that it allows an option of wall mounting or a vertical stand. However, it didn't seem of the highest standards and the Airstation was quite wobbly when slotted in with the stand. There is no power button, so the only option to restart the router is to unplug it.
The Buffalo Airstation comes with ADSL2++ connection that offers rates of 24Mbps downstream and wireless connections up to 150Mbps. It works on the Wireless-N technology and the device has all the usual features that come in most router cum modem devices with WPS, IP filtering, firewalls, port forwarding, UPnP support, DMZ and QoS.
The back panel
Besides this, Buffalo has introduced a new AOSS security system that allows AOSS enabled devices to seamlessly create a secure connection. For example, an Android device can download Buffalo’s software from the market and after AOSS authentication, it can create a secure wireless connection with the Airstation by just pressing connect. The usefulness of this feature could be debatable, but it’s included nonetheless. The router also has an add-on called 'ECO'. This allows users to switch off the router at pre-scheduled times. A useful feature for those having caps or limits on downloads. Multiple SSIDs are provided that restrict users outside the network to only Internet access, whilst those in the network can access both the Internet as well as the VPN. These multiple SSIDs show up in the connections bar as separate connections hence a different set of security and network settings can be configured.