A few months back, a reader asked us to review a couple of entry-level draft 802.11n wireless routers. You know, the ones that sell for $50-$70 and have two, instead of three, antennas. His simple question was whether they performed as well as their more expensive three-antennas cousins. Well, one thing led to another and, before I knew it, I had six examples of the low-end of the latest flavor of Wi-Fi to hit the airwaves.
Since I have been posting test results, slideshows and mini-reviews for each product as I have gone along, this review will focus on analyzing the results and trying to answer the original question. And, yes, I'll name a "winner" among the group, which is comprised of:
- Belkin N Wireless Router (F5D8233-4)
- D-Link Wireless-N Router (DIR-615)
- D-Link RangeBooster N Router (DIR-625)
- Linksys Wireless-N Home Router (WRT150N)
- Linksys Ultra RangePlus Wireless-N Broadband Router (WRT160N)
- Trendnet 300Mbps Wireless N Home Router (TEW-632BRP)
Why this group? Well, the two D-Links were included because they are very similar in design and I wanted to see if they performed differently. I originally was going to look at just the WRT150N, which Linksys says has been its best-selling Draft 11n router. But since the recently-introduced WRT160N will be replacing it, I decided to do both. I rounded out the group with the Trendnet and Belkin products because both are inexpensive and met the two-antenna criteria. One other requirement for all products was that they had to be Wi-Fi Certified for 802.11n Draft 2.0.
I also asked each vendor to send a "recommended" USB or CardBus client adapter, which also had to be Draft 2.0 Certified. The adapters used in the testing were:
- Belkin N Wireless Notebook Card (F5D8013 )
- D-Link Wireless-N USB Adapter (DWA-130)
- D-Link RangeBooster N Notebook Adapter (DWA-642)
- Linksys Ultra RangePlus Dual-Band Wireless-N PC Card (WPC600N)
Trendnet sent its TEW-621PC card, but it couldn't be used since it didn't have connectors that were compatible with the Azimuth test system.