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Wireless Reviews

On The Inside

As the full product name indicates, the WZR-HP is a high power router/AP.  The WZR-HP is built around an Atheros AR9132 Wireless Network Processor, which includes the wireless BB/MAC functions. The radio is an AR9103 3x3 2.4 GHz 802.11n. The WAN port and four LAN ports are handled by a Realtek RTL8366SR Gigabit switch that appears to have jumbo frames enabled for up to 9K (confirmed via testing).

Portion of the interior of the WZR

Figure 4: Portion of the interior of the WZR

Since Buffalo specifically claims that the WZR-HP has higher transmit power than other draft 11n routers, we checked. Figure 5 shows a comparison of the peak power output tables from their FCC ID Test Reports for the WZR-HP and D-Link's DIR-655 (A4).

Peak Power Output comparison

Figure 5: Peak Power Output comparison

Note the WZP-HP's transmit power varies depending on the channel used, with the highest power of 847 mW obtained on Channel 6 and using the default 20 MHz channel bandwidth mode. By comparison, the popular D-Link DIR-655 (A4)'s peak transmit power is 97 mW. Looking at the transmit power in dBm, the WZR-HP peaks at 29.28 vs. the DIR-655's 19.88. So Buffalo's claims of higher power certainly are true.

We'll see later if this extra power makes a difference in performance. But in the meantime, keep in mind that each 3 dB (or dBm) represents a doubling of power and 10 dB is 10X the power. There is also a rule of thumb that a 6 dB change in transmit power will double range in an outdoor (no obstacle) environment.

Setup

The WZR-HP comes with a quick setup guide with instructions for using either the CD or for configuring it using the web configuration.  A Windows-based installation wizard on the CD guides you through all of the steps required for basic operation including changing the administrator’s password.  Figure 6 shows one of the screens from the installation wizard.  For more advanced configuration, such as setting up the NAS feature, you need to use the web UI.

WZR-HP setup wizard

Figure 6: One of the steps in the WZR-HP setup wizard

If you’ve ever configured a Buffalo device in the past, you’ll appreciate the improvements found in the new web interface.  Figure 7 shows the landing page for the web UI.

Landing page on the WZR-HP web interface

Figure 7: Landing page on the WZR-HP web interface

Across the top are tabs for each major function.  For each tab, one or more smaller tabs will appear for individual configuration options.  All pages are split into two frames with configuration options on the left, and in a separate scrollable frame, descriptions of each item that appears on the page.

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