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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

At a Glance
Product Edimax nMax Wireless 802.11n Broadband Router (BR-6504n)
Edimax nMax Wireless 802.11n USB Adapter (EW-7718Un)
Summary Low cost 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n Draft 2.0 router with WDS bridging / repeating
Pros • Fast router
• High simultaneous sessions
• Port based QoS for up and downlink
• Supports WDS bridging / repeating
Cons • 10/100 instead of gigabit switch
• Unsophisticated user interface
• Improper WPS implementation

Price is usually an important factor when choosing networking gear and, judging from lackluster product sales, is no different for draft 802.11n products. So manufacturers are introducing draft 11n routers that aim to meet or beat the $100 "sweet spot" price point.

The Edimax BR-6504n is one of those 100 buck draft 11n products, so I thought I'd check it out to see how it compares to the higher-priced 11n routers that I've been testing. I also wanted to see how a solution using Ralink draft 11n devices in both router and client stacked up against more expensive chipsets.

Overview

The 6504n comes in a white plastic enclosure that's not bad looking, but won't win any design awards. It's designed to sit horizontally on your desk, although Edimax throws in a stand in case you prefer a vertical orientation. There are no screw wall-mounting slots on the case bottom.

The front panel (Figure 1) has the usual collection of indicators. The right stuff is there, but suffers from a narrow viewing angle and low-contrast markings.

Front Panel

Figure 1: Front Panel

The rear panel (Figure 2) has four 10/100 LAN ports, one 10/100 WAN port and power jack. All ports are auto MDI / MDI-X. The push-button serves double duty for reset-to-factory-defaults and to initiate a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) push-button session (more on that later). The three 3 dBi dipole antennas are movable and upgradable (RP-SMA connectors).

Rear Panel

Figure 2: Rear Panel

 

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