|At a glance|
|Product||Rosewill RNX-N360RT Wireless N Router [Website]|
|Summary||Inexpensive 2.4 GHz N300 router with 10/100 ports based on Atheros chipset|
|Pros||• Decent feature set|
• Up and downlink bandwidth-based QoS
• WDS support
|Cons||• A bit weak on range|
• No wireless guest networks
Typical Price: $50 Shop Amazon
Not everyone lusts after the latest and greatest wireless routers. Some people just want to spend as little as possible when getting their network on the air. For them, a basic single-band N router is just the ticket. And that's what Rosewill has produced with its RNX-N360RT.
If you're a DIY computer builder, you're probably familiar with Rosewill as a maker of cases, power supplies and the other sundry items needed to roll your own PC. But Rosewill has a small, but growing line of networking products, mostly focusing on low price as the value proposition.
The router comes in a box that has a low-price feel, an impression reinforced by the one foot network cable Rosewill throws in. The router itself has an all-plastic housing that's designed to sit flat on a desk. There are mounting slots on the bottom, however, if you want to wall or ceiling mount it.
The 360RT's front panel does have a full complement of status indicators, though, something that many high-end routers have dispensed with in an effort to gain higher WAF.
Front panel lights
The rear panel Ethernet jacks have no link/status lights and are all 10/100. The three 2 dBi antennas attach via RP-SMA connectors, so you can attach higher-gain antennas if that's your pleasure.
The key components of the 360RT are summarized in the chart below. The basic design is similar to the first generation NETGEAR WNR2000 I reviewed back in 2008. But a more recent separated-at-birth low-price-focused router is TP-LINK's TL-WR1043ND, that Craig reviewed just last year.
|CPU||Atheros AR9132 SoC|
|Switch||Marvell 88E6060 Low power 6 port 10/100 switch|
|2.4 GHz Radio||Atheros AR9103 (3T3R)|
Table 1: Component summary
The main difference between the TP-LINK and Rosewill is that the TP-LINK uses a Realtek RTL8366RB Gigabit switch instead of a Marvell 88E6060 10/100 switch. The TP-LINK also shares a USB drive via FTP.
The FCC ID photos were fuzzy, so I took my own shot below. The RF shield was soldered in place, so I had to ask Rosewill what was under it (the Atheros AR9103 radio).
Rosewill RNX-N360RT board
While trying to identify the chip on my own, I came across this photo of TP-LINK's TL-WR941ND, which is eerily similar, no? I don't know who is OEMing to who, but someone is or both TP-LINK and Rosewill are buying from the same OEM.
TP-LINK TL-WR941ND board
(courtesy of WikiDevi)
Even though there are three antennas and a 3T3R radio is used, the 360RT is strictly a two-stream "N300" router, supporting a maximum link rate of 300 Mbps when operating in 40 MHz bandwidth mode.