|At a glance|
|Product||Mediabridge Medialink Wireless N Broadband Router (MWN-WAPR300N) [Website]|
|Summary||Ralink based N300 router with a few unique features. Popular on Amazon.|
|Pros||• Good wireless performance and range|
• Up & down bandwidth-based QoS
• Supports Wi-Fi WAN connection
|Cons||• Relatively low simultaneous session handling|
• No guest WLAN
• No USB port for file sharing or print server
For most of this year, we have focused our wireless router reviews on AC class routers. This new technology offers some pretty amazing performance. But the majority of wireless devices we all have are N150 or N300 class at best, with a good deal of 802.11g still in the mix. Consumer purchases still reflect this, with the majority of router purchases being simple single-band N300 or dual-band N600 products.
If you hit type "wireless routers" into Amazon's search box, you might be surprised to see that the product at the top of the page isn't from Linksys, Belkin, NETGEAR, D-Link, etc. Instead, you're likely to find Mediabridge's Medialink Wireless-N Broadband Router with Internal Antennas (300 Mbps) aka the MWN-WAPR300N. When this review was assigned, the MWN-WAPR300N carried Amazon's #1 Best Seller (in Computer Routers) badge. But as I put the finishing touches on this review, that honor now appears to be bestowed on TP-Link's TL-WR841N.
Regardless of whether it's #1, #3 or even in the top ten, we thought it would be interesting to see how the MWN-WAPR300N stacked up against better-known products. I should note that we purchased our review sample from Amazon.
Those of you who have read some of my other router reviews know that I'm a big fan of front panel indicators. Many N300 routers have only a few LEDs on the front panel, but that's not the case with the MWN-WAPR300N. The chart below summarizes the 9 LEDs and their functions.
Medialink MWN-WAPR300N Front Panel LED Indicators
The MWN-WAPR300N has link and activity indicators for the WAN and the four 10/100 Mbps LAN ports. Unfortunately, the LEDs are single color, so there’s no link rate indicator. (But how many people connect at 10 Mbps?) There are individual power and system indicators as well as the wireless network (WLAN) and WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup).
My only complaint with the indicators is that the light pipes that move the light from the PCB mounted LEDs to the top panel don't seem very well isolated. Indicators that should have been dark (eg, no LAN connection) were still dimly illuminated from adjacent LEDs
The rear panel has color-coded 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports and a power jack. The single pushbutton is used for two functions: Push it for 1 second, and it starts a WPS session (if enabled in the UI). Press and hold the button for 7 seconds to restore the MWN-WAPR300N to factory defaults. Like many other N300 routers, there are no external antennas.
Medialink MWN-WAPR300N Rear Panel
The FCC ID reveals that the MWN-WAPR300N is actually a Tenda W368R, which is powered by a Ralink RT3052 SoC. The 2.4 GHz radio is built into the RT3052, but there are two external Richwave RTC6691 2.4 GHz power amps. The switch is an Atheros AR8236 5 port Fast Ethernet chip. Rounding out the major components, there is 16 MB of RAM (Hynix HY57v281620FTP-H) and 2 MB of flash (MMXIC KH29LV320).
All this info comes courtesy of Tenda's FCC ID filiings, which include a complete parts list and schematic! Clearly, Tenda doesn't think there is anything magic about the product that needs protection.
Medialink MWN-WAPR300N interior
The image above shows the interior of the MWN-WAPR300N. In the center, you'll note the heat sink covering the RT3052. Below the heat sink are what appear to be the two power amplifiers.