Buffalo: The ox slowly strikes back

Buffalo showcases wireless products that haven't been known in the U.S. due to a past court sanction. All share one thing in common: affordability.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
The WZR-HP-G300NH NFinity High Power wireless router from Buffalo. Dong Ngo/CBS Interactive

After two long years, Buffalo, just less than a month ago, regained the right to sell wireless products in the U.S. And at CES 2009, the company is showcasing a wide range of networking products that have hardly been known in the U.S. market.

Buffalo's networking products share one thing in common: affordability. All networking products currently offered by the company cost less than $100. This doesn't mean they are of sub-par quality. In my experience, it's quite the opposite.

The company's flagship product is the $99.99 Wireless-N Nfiniti High Power Router WZR-HP-G300NH. The router supports wireless speeds of up to 300Mbps and seamlessly works with the Nintendo DS. Other features, which are generally common in Buffalo wireless router, include:

  • Built-in high-power amplifier improves wireless performance and extends range
  • Supports WDS to increase coverage with optional repeater
  • External switch to change between wireless router and wireless access point
  • Easy setup with AirStation one-touch secure system (AOSS)
  • Automatic channel support selects best available wireless networking channel
  • Supports WPA-PSK (TKIP, AES) and 128/64-bit WEP security
  • Includes NAT and SPI firewall and intrusion detector
  • Dynamic packet filtering
  • Built-in DHCP server
  • Built-in 10/100 four-port auto-sensing switch

The WHR-G300NH also has an entry-level variant, the WHR-G300N, that supports less features and costs only $79.99.

The second wireless router, the $59.99 WHR-HP-G54 from Buffalo, actually is not a new or high-end device. This router is a 802.11g-based wireless router with AOSS and a built-in signal amplifier. The WHR-HP-G54, therefore, produces a true 60 percent increase in wireless transmit power over a standard 802.11g wireless router.

I personally have had a very good experience with the WHR-HP-G54. Once flashed with the famous custom firmware from dd-wrt, the device has turned into arguably the most versatile and stable wireless router on the market.

The third networking product from Buffalo that's worth mentioning is the Nfiniti Dual Band Ethernet Converter, model WLI-TX4-AG300N. The unit is basically a wireless bridge that allows for connecting a wired netowrk client to a wireless network. Unlike other wireless bridges that have only one network port, the WLI-TX4-AG300N features four ports and therefore can support up to four clients out of the box.

The WLI-TX4-AG300N uses the Draft N specification and is Wi-Fi certified. This ensures interoperability with other certified devices. The WLI-TX4-AG300N is backward compatible to 802.11b/g and 802.11a and costs $89.99.

While Buffalo's showcase doesn't have any revolutionary products, the fact that the company is back in the U.S. networking market is good news for customers.

All of the products mentioned above will be available by the end of this month and are backed by Buffalo with a lifetime warranty and 24/7 tech support.