Gateway's WGR-200 wireless broadband router is a no-frills router that is cheap and easy to set up and use. With an ingenious software-free setup, the WGR-200 can be online and sending the Web to every room in your home about four minutes after you open the box. The WGR-200 combines the speed of 802.11g with encrypted wireless connections, a firewall, and flexible parental controls. Unfortunately, it lacks support for direct access-point-to-access-point communications, such as the WDS feature that Buffalo has built into its AirStation products. It also lacks the speed enhancements of the and the . It may not be the fastest or most capable router we've reviewed, but it's one of the easiest to set up and use.
The Gateway WGR-200 wireless broadband router comes with everything you need to get started, including an Ethernet cable, mounting hardware, an AC adapter, and a meticulous 82-page printed manual that covers both the basics and the details well. Although it lacks the automated setup software of the and the , getting the WGR-200 online is quicker and simpler than with any other router we've reviewed. Just plug in the device, follow the manual's clear directions, and you're online in about four minutes. On the downside, the WGR-200's installation guide includes setup instructions for only Windows computers.
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|The WGR-200's base doubles as a mounting bracket.|
We like the WGR-200's sleek black design, but we're disappointed that the router doesn't come with a stand so that you can position it vertically. A stand can be a real space-saver and can also help you get the antennae into a better position for radio transmissions.
The WGR-200's browser-based configuration pages provide access to a multitude of basic and detailed settings and configuration adjustments. These pages let you tweak network address settings, security settings, and more arcane variables, such as the beacon and fragmentation threshold.
The Gateway WGR-200 wireless broadband router's security is tight and fully up-to-date, with a stateful packet inspection firewall and the ability to block objectionable sites and lock out certain clients. In addition to the soon-to-be-obsolete 128-bit Wired Equivalent Protection (WEP) encryption, the router has Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security in the choice of temporary key integrity protocol or the more secure Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) keys. Unfortunately, the WPA setup screen is hidden behind the WEP setup area, making it difficult to find the first time around. You can even use a RADIUS server to authenticate clients, but the WGR-200 lacks support for a wireless distribution service, which would make it easier to extend your wireless network and which is included in Buffalo AirStation products.
With extensive filtering options, the WGR-200 can allow or deny connections based on MAC or IP addresses. In addition, there are filters for cookies, proxy servers, and Java and ActiveX applications. For those games and applications that require a clear path to the Internet, the WGR-200's &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewebopedia%2Ecom%2FTERM%2FD%2FDMZ%2Ehtml">DMZ lets you place a computer outside your firewall.
Those with small children will appreciate Gateway's simple but effective parental controls. All you do is set a level of protection from 1 to 10, select which computers are subject to the policy, and specify when to cover them. You can also block access to specific URLs and keywords. Happily, there's no annual subscription fee as is the case with Belkin's line of routers.
In CNET Labs testing and a after week of daily use, the Gateway WGR-200 delivered reliable throughput, good range, and flawless compatibility, but it wasn't as fast as the competition. Able to stay online for up to 175 feet, the WGR-200 outdistanced the range of the Linksys WRT54 (100 feet) and tied with the . The WRG-200 doesn't reach as far as or , both of which could stay in contact for up to 200 feet. With a speed of 25Mbps in an 802.11g-only environment, the WGR-200 was behind but ahead of Microsoft's MN-700. As was the case with range, Gateway's router falls well behind the Netgear WGT624 and the D-Link DI-624, which both nearly double the WGR-200's throughput by using proprietary channel-bonding methods. Adding 802.11b clients into the mix evened the score, with the WGR-200's 12.1Mbps in a virtual tie with the Netgear WGT624's and the D-Link DI-624's throughput.
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Gateway's one-year warranty falls short of those offered by leading competitors in the 802.11g market, such as Motorola's two-year, Netgear's three-year, and Belkin's lifetime coverage. Gateway provides support for the router beyond its warranty period, and just about everything you could want is on the company's Web site. From downloads of firmware and drivers to extensive FAQs to help with installation and spec sheets, it's all in there. Gateway offers 24/7 toll-free phone and e-mail support. You can also chat with an online technician who can solve problems or answer questions.