Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
Edimax Wireless 802.11n ADSL2/2+ Modem Router (AR-7256WnA)
A reliable ADSL2+ modem router with 802.11n wireless access point.
- Reliable and fast modem, consistent 802.11n speeds, SPI firewall, well priced
- Slightly slow 802.11n speeds, its interface could be clearer, no keyword filtering, port-forwarding could be easier to set up
This affordable all-in-one ADSL2+ modem and wireless router proved to be reliable throughout our test period, as it stayed constantly connected to our ISP. It's definitely a unit you should consider if you also want steady wireless throughput.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Edimax is a brand that isn’t yet well established in Australia, but it’s one of the most popular router manufacturers in Asia under its own name and others. If the Edimax Wireless 802.11n ADSL2/2+ Modem Router (AR-7265WnA) is any indication, the company’s products are sure to do well here, too.
The AR-7265WnA is an all-in-one modem router device that features an ADSL2+ modem, a 4-port 10/100 Ethernet switch, an 802.11n wireless access point, and a router. It’s a conspicuous unit that’s bathed in white, with three tall external antennas and green status lights that don’t pierce the eyes when viewed in the dead of night. The unit can be rested either flat or standing up, but can’t be wall mounted.
It proved to be a reliable modem throughout our testing period, where it provided constant uptime and good speed over a one-month period. During this time, the unit got quite warm to the touch, but the wireless access point never faulted, nor did the modem have any problems keeping our connection alive.
When run in an isolated environment, its modem supplied an average download speed of 17005 kilobits per second (2.07 megabytes per second) and an upload speed of 833Kbps (0.1MBps). These results mark the first time we’ve cracked the 17005Kbps average. With an ADSL2+ filter installed, the speed averaged a slightly slower 16189Kbps (1.97MBps) and 833Kbps for downloading and uploading, respectively.
Setting up the modem wasn’t the walk in the park in that it should have been. While it auto synchronised the ADSL speed and settled on ADSL2+, it did not automatically detect all of the appropriate settings for our connection. Its default VPI and VCI values were incorrect for our account, and we had to enter these manually before being able to connect. Before unplugging your old modem and setting this up, make sure you have these values to hand for your particular ISP account. This is in contrast to devices such as Linksys’ WRT110, for example.
The unit’s wireless performance isn’t the fastest we have seen, but it will supply reliable 802.11n throughput over short and medium distances. It managed to supply a usable wireless signal up to 30m away before our XviD-encoded video stream started to skip badly. From close range (2m), the Edimax’s 802.11n throughput averaged 5.57MBps, while from mid-range (10m), it averaged 3.9MBps. The close range result is slightly faster than Linksys WRT110, but the mid-range result is slower. While streaming video to a Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000, it was still able to transfer files in the background at a rate of 3.54MBps, which is what we expected.
We tested in mixed wireless mode, which allows for 802.11b/g/n devices co-exist happily, but you can also change to a dedicated 802.11n or 802.11g mode. Authentication for the wireless network ranges from 64-bit WEP, right up to WPA/WPA-2 (TKIP and AES) mixed mode encryption, so it’s a versatile unit. Its interface isn’t the easiest to decipher, as encryption details are hidden from view while the authentication is disabled, and this is annoying.
For security, the unit has a built in stateful packet inspection firewall, which ensures that all traffic leaving your router is by legitimate request only. The virtual server setting, for port forwarding, isn’t easy to access, as you have to traverse the Advanced Setup section and click on the NAT tab. A dedicated tab for port forwarding would make things swifter.
Filters can be set up to block specific URLs, applications or IP and MAC addresses, but there is no keyword filter. URLs placed in the filter will not greet the user with any sort of message saying they are unauthorised to view the site, but instead will forever ‘wait’ for the site to be contacted, which could lead to unnecessary tech support calls if the user doesn’t know they are being blocked by the router.
Interface quirks and slightly slow wireless performance aside, the Edimax proved to be a reliable unit throughout our test period, and it is a worthy option if you are looking for an all-in-one device to distribute your ADSL2+ connection.
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