Dell 2350 wireless broadband router
The Dell 2350 wireless broadband router is like an old friend you've known forever: it offers a steady if not exciting experience. This 802.11b/g router ships with a long list of handy features, such as WPA security, parental controls, and the ability to act as a bridge or a repeater. Dell's 802.11g router moves data at only half the speed of the pre-802.11n routers that have begun to appear on the market, but at $59, it costs only half as much. Unless you need the fastest Wi-Fi router pronto, we recommend that you wait to buy a standards-based MIMO device, which will hopefully appear sometime in 2006, and use the Dell 2350 wireless broadband router in the interim.
The Dell 2350 wireless broadband router has a pearl-white and silver case that's shaped like a trapezoid, with a slight curve in its short sides. The design lends it a more sophisticated air than most Wi-Fi routers have, though the curved sides mean you can't stand the router up on its short end. However, you can save space another way--and strengthen your signal at the same time--by mounting the device on the wall, thanks to the brackets built into the base of the Dell's wireless router. The antenna on the rear edge flexes and rotates 90 and 360 degrees, respectively, letting you position it for maximum coverage.
We were disappointed with the Dell 2350 wireless router's brief hard-copy setup guide--but we got over it once we perused the awesome electronic user guide. The document offers a longer version of the setup guide that features big, colorful screenshots; it also provides plenty of additional information on how to use the router's extensive features. Highlights of those features include WPA encryption; parental controls to limit kids' access to the Web; bridge and repeater capabilities; DMZ support for gaming; firewall protection through NAT and SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection); and an intruder-detection log that sends you e-mail every time an unwanted system attempts to connect to the router. You can manipulate the device's settings either by logging in to its browser-based configuration tool or installing Dell's Control Utility--a more full-featured version of the standard wireless utility included in Windows XP. The user guide goes the final mile by hyperlinking potentially confusing technical terms to its informative glossary.