Buffalo AirStation WZR-G108 review: Buffalo AirStation WZR-G108

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MSRP: $289.99

The Good Supereasy setup; faster than G; upgradable firmware.

The Bad Not as fast as the competition; not fully interoperable with other vendors' cards.

The Bottom Line The AirStation WZR-G108 is faster than G and supereasy to configure and secure but slower than the Pre-N competition.

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7.1 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 8

Buffalo AirStation MIMO cable/DSL router

If your current 802.11b/g router's signal isn't reaching the back bedroom, or you're simply sick of mediocre performance when unwired from your superfast cable connection, a MIMO router such as Buffalo's AirStation WZR-G108 is the answer. MIMO, or multiple inputs/multiple outputs, theoretically triples bandwidth, as well as dealing with interference better. MIMO is the backbone of the eventual 802.11n standard that will probably be finalized next year. A number of vendors, including Buffalo, are using proprietary technology to implement MIMO, though there's no guarantee that these products will work with those based on the approved standard.

Setting up the AirStation WZR-G108 was a breeze. We simply plugged in the power, connected the router to our Motorola cable modem and desktops via Ethernet cabling, cycled the modem power, and voilà--instant Internet access as the WZR-G108 automatically configured itself. (Note: Despite the Cable/DSL tag on the box, as with most other similarly touted products, you can't attach a DSL or cable feed directly to the router.) The silver and medium-gray AirStation is horizontally oriented (unlike Buffalo's other routers) and has three antennas sprouting from its back; you can pivot and swivel the antennas to maximize the signal. Despite its wide stance, the router doesn't weigh a whole lot, so make sure none of the cables plugged into the four side-mounted LAN, single WAN, or AC jacks are pulling unduly on it; otherwise, it may topple over.

One of the nicest features of the Buffalo AirStation WZR-G108 is its AirStation One-Touch Secure System (AOSS), which automatically establishes secure connections with AOSS-enabled adapters (so far, only Buffalo products use AOSS) with the simple press of a button on the back of the unit. You'll need a pen or a stylus for this, as the button is recessed à la your standard device-reset switch. In fact, the button doubles as a reset switch; you have to hold it down for more than five seconds for this function. Alas, we were unable to get AOSS to function properly during our hands-on test with Buffalo's WLI-CB-G108 MIMO adapter card.

Browsing to the AirStation's default address of revealed a logically laid out and full-featured configuration app. We touched hardly anything except to filter by MAC address and enable WPA security, but you'll find every feature you'd expect for gaming, Net meetings, and so on. Alas, you'd better be up on router technology and terms; if not, navigate to the nicely assembled PDF manual on the driver CD.

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