Siemens SpeedStream wireless DSL/cable router review: Siemens SpeedStream wireless DSL/cable router

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

The Good Easy setup; built-in print server; compact form factor.

The Bad Complex access-control setup; one-year warranty.

The Bottom Line The SpeedStream 2624 is a good choice for networking newbies and enthusiastic gamers.

Visit for details.

7.8 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 6

Routers that join wireless and Ethernet networks to broadband Internet connections keep getting smaller, cheaper, and easier to use, and the Siemens SpeedStream 2624 wireless DSL/cable router energetically advances that trend. Like many routers in its class, the SpeedStream 2624 offers a thin, compact design; a built-in, four-port Ethernet switch; and Web-based setup. But it also includes a couple of extras that help set it apart from the competition. For example, the SpeedStream 2624 also comes with a detachable wireless antenna and a handy parallel port that lets you share a network printer. While we found the company's one-year warranty disappointing, the SpeedStream 2624 is nonetheless a solid choice for home and small-office networks. The day when a novice networker can easily set up a wireless cable/DSL router has arrived. In fact, sharing Internet access through the SpeedStream 2624 requires no network expertise at all. In addition to the router, the box includes a screw-in antenna, a power adapter, a quick-start guide, a warranty and safety card, and a CD with documentation and printer drivers. The helpful quick-start guide tells you how to install the hardware in just seven steps, with an equal number for router configuration. The back of the guide displays eight steps for setting up the print server, configuration notes on the wireless connection, and a few tips on setting up Windows PCs for networking. Unfortunately, troubleshooting information is minimal; if you hit a glitch, you'll likely have to go to the 94-page manual located on the CD for help.

Home screen.

To get started, simply plug the Ethernet cable from your DSL or cable modem into the router's WAN port. Next, connect a PC to one of the four, wired LAN ports, and screw the radio antenna into the connector on the back. Siemens fails to include any Ethernet cables in the box, so make sure you pick up a couple extra at the store. After the LEDs on the front of the router flash and turn on, open your PC's Web browser, type in the IP address provided in the manual, and press Enter. The SpeedStream Simple Setup wizard will launch and ask you a few basic questions about your Internet connection. Once up and running, you can then use the Web-based configuration tool for more-advanced settings such as virtual servers, client filtering, and remote management.

Because the SpeedStream 2624 supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP, which can automatically discover and configure the router, you may have an easier time setting up the router with Windows XP and Windows Millennium Edition than you would with older OSs.

The SpeedStream 2624 offers the usual assortment of features found on competing routers, plus a few extra. For example, in addition to its built-in, four-port Ethernet switch, the back panel features a parallel-port connection that lets you share a printer with the rest of your home network. Also, unlike many of its competitors, the router features a detachable wireless antenna. You can extend the effective range of the SpeedStream 2624 by attaching a pigtail cable (not included) to the removable antenna, then relocating the antenna to a better spot. Alternatively, you can attach an optional SpeedStream 6dBi wireless directional indoor antenna and expand your wireless coverage, as well.

Removable wireless antenna.

Parallel port.

This router's Web-based setup interface is big and bold, with simple graphics and uncluttered screens. It lets you control DHCP client or server settings, configure virtual servers, use dynamic DNS, and manage the printer port. It supports DMZ and can also be configured for remote management. You can also upgrade the router's firmware using the Web interface (then pressing the Reset button on the router to engage the new software).

We did notice one oddity, however. To use wireless client filtering, you must enter the IP address of the PC you want to filter, rather than the MAC address as you would with other routers. The SpeedStream 2624 then records and maps a database of IP addresses against known MAC addresses.

Advanced Internet screen.

In terms of security, the SpeedStream 2624 uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to protect your network from outside intruders. It also offers 128-bit WEP, a network security protocol for wireless networking that's as good as it gets for residential devices. And though WEP isn't foolproof, we recommend you enable it and change the default network name immediately.

Access-control screen.

You can also configure the firewall to allow for special applications such as Internet games or conferencing apps that may require open ports and multiple connections. The router firmware automatically identifies and supports more than 40 games and online gaming portals, including MSN Gaming Zone; Westwood Online; Half Life; and Quake I, II and III, to name a few. It similarly supports a dozen or so telephony applications, including NetMeeting, CuSeeMe, and Yahoo Messenger, generally with no need for configuration. This makes the SpeedStream 2624 a near-ideal choice for many gamers.

The Access Control screen on the advanced menu also lets you completely block or restrict access to defined services. The built-in list of services includes IRC, and you can also add services you want to restrict, although this requires a level of technical expertise beyond that of the average user.

In CNET Labs' tests, the SpeedStream 2624 turned in slightly better throughput performance than competing 802.11b gateways from Belkin, HP, Intel, and Microsoft. In informal tests, wireless range was comparable to that of other 802.11 b products, working well up to 50 feet and a few walls away but falling off rapidly with more distance or interfering barriers.

Throughput tests
Measured in Mbps (longer bars indicate better performance)
Chariot Ethernet   
Chariot 802.11b   
Siemens SpeedStream 2624 wireless DSL/cable router
HP wireless gateway hn200w
Microsoft wireless base station
Belkin wireless cable/DSL gateway router
Intel AnyPoint wireless gateway
Response time
Measured in milliseconds (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Siemens SpeedStream 2624 wireless DSL/cable router
HP wireless gateway hn200w
Intel AnyPoint wireless gateway
Belkin wireless cable/DSL gateway router
Microsoft wireless base station
For practical throughput tests, CNET Labs uses NetIQ's Chariot 4.3 software as its benchmark. For wireless testing, the clients and routers are set up to transmit at short ranges and at maximum signal strength. CNET Labs also runs response-time tests with Chariot software using the TCP protocol. Response time measures how long it takes to send a request and receive a response over a network connection. Throughput and response time are probably the two most important indicators of user experience over a network.

The SpeedStream 2624 comes with a disappointing one-year warranty on parts and labor. Other manufacturers such as D-Link offer a three-year plan, while 3Com and Belkin come through with lifetime coverage. You can double the standard one-year warranty by registering your product, but this seems like an unfair ploy by the company to get you to submit personal contact information.

Support Web site.

On the plus side, toll-free phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the company's Web site gives you all the information you need in one easily accessible place, including firmware updates, a searchable knowledge base, user guides, and warranty information.

Best Wireless Routers for 2020

All best networking

More Best Products

All best products