Dell Wireless 2300 router review: Dell Wireless 2300 router

The Wireless 2300 offers the latest in security options for wireless networking. It supports the new WPA encryption scheme as well as the older 64/128-bit WEP standard. There's no support for 802.1x authentication, but the router does offer an expansive MAC address feature that can be applied to all clients of the Wireless 2300, whether wired or wireless. Stateful Packet Inspection, NAT, packet filtering, and intruder-detection alerts offer a high level of Internet security.

Additional security features include port forwarding, which allows for both a DMZ computer and the forwarding of specific packets to specific computers. The well-rounded parental-control feature lets you block Internet access for specific computers by time of day. You can also limit Internet access completely or restrict it to a list of Web sites.

Another great feature is the router's ability to create a wireless bridge with up to two additional Wireless 2300s. This lets it function as a bridge and a repeater, similar to the Buffalo WLA-G54.

The Dell Wireless 2300 offers some of the best 802.11g throughput rates we've seen to date, second only to the U.S. Robotics USR8054. In our tests, the throughput rates for 802.11g peaked at 23.5Mbps for 802.11g, and those for mixed-mode (with both 802.11g and 802.11b clients transmitting simultaneously) reached 18.2Mbps. The throughput degradation over distance is also very good. Most notably, both the Wireless 2300 and the USR8054 outperform their competitors in mixed-mode performance by more than a factor of two.

The Wireless 2300 has a few limitations. The user guide indicates that the Wireless 2300 can support only 16 wireless clients or 64 NAT clients; in addition, having more than 20 simultaneous users of any type degrades the device's overall performance. Most home users will never stress the Wireless 2300 to this extent, but small offices could begin to hit the performance ceiling if their network grows large enough.

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput in Mbps  
Dell Wireless 2300 g
Netgear WGR614
Buffalo AirStation
Belkin 54G router
Apple AirPort Extreme
Linksys WRT54G

The Wireless 2300 comes with a meager one-year warranty. Lifetime technical support is available 24/7 by phone, as well as by e-mail. The Dell support Web site includes a searchable knowledge base and a handy search tool for locating all of the driver, firmware, and software updates for a specific product.

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