Getting on the Internet and creating a home or small office computer network can be a headache if you have to configure multiple devices; that's why there is nothing more convenient than an all-in-one device that features a built-in modem and wireless networking -- no need for multiple devices, additional cords or messy setup procedures.
It used to be that all-in-one devices would cost you at least a couple of hundred dollars, but these days you can buy a fully featured networking marvel for under $100. In this roundup, we'll describe some of the options available to you if you want a cheap-as-chips all-in-one modem/router for your home or small office.
When it comes to really inexpensive modem/routers, the key is to search for old models. You may be surprised at how long the shelf life is for a lot of modem/routers on the Australian market. There are some models that just won't go away. What once cost close to $200 can these days be found for a rock-bottom price.
For example, Netgear's DG834G was released back in 2004, yet you can still find it being sold in many online stores (such as APUS) when you do a quick search. This isn't altogether a bad thing. Being an established product means that its firmware should be very stable, and it also means that is should be very cheap. The DG834G is certainly a very affordable piece of gear. You can find it for less than $60 online, and this $60 buys you a router that has a built-in ADSL2+ capable modem and an 802.11g wireless access point that supports the latest encryption. Of course, you might need to upgrade its firmware in order for it to give you the best performance, but you might have to do that with a brand new, more expensive router, too, so that should not be a drawback. Its 802.11g Wi-Fi is fine for distributing an Internet connection in a small household.
If you want to consider a newer ADSL modem/router, then TP-Link is probably your best bet. We've found this brand to be very reliable and great value overall. The TP-Link W8950nd has stacks of features (including supports for ADSL2+ and 802.11n Lite) and it can be bought for $65 from Scorptec.
If shopping online isn't your cup of tea, then you can bop your way down to Dick Smith and purchase the D-Link Wireless-N 150, which has a built-in ADSL2+ modem, 150Mbps 802.11n wireless networking and much more. It's on offer for $99.
Other models that you should look out for include the Buffalo AirStation WBMR-HP-GN for $99, which we recently reviewed and liked, the Billion BIPAC 5200G RC, which can be purchased from Aus PC Market for $98, and the Edimax AR-7284WnA for $78 from Aus PC Market (we've reviewed the Edimax AR-7256WnA, which is similar).
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If you're looking for a cheap, all-in-one ADSL2+ modem/router, the TP-Link TD-W8950ND is probably the best you'll find. It was fast and reliable during our test period, and it also looks quite nice. However, you do need to know what you're doing when you set it up.
- Review Date:
- 29th Sept., 2010
- Elias Plastiras