Buffalo Technology AirStation Nfiniti Wireless-N 300Mbps High Power Router WZR-HP-G300NH Review

I don't remember handling a product with such a long descriptive name but this is no ordinary device; the WZR-HP-G300NH is a top of the range, all purpose router from storage and network specialists Buffalo Technology.

At least on paper, it is still one of the most powerful models on the market both in terms of performance and features offered despite being launched last year.

The WZR-HP-G300NH is a 2.4GHz single band cable router (i.e. you will need an external modem) and comes with two rather flimsy looking "rabbit ears" omnidirectional antennae, a WPS (Wireless Protected Setup) button, WPA2 security, four GbE ports, 802.11bgn (up to 300Mbps says Buffalo) and a USB port plus an external power supply.

Other features include a QoS feature called MovieEngine, the ability to create a second guest network, an auto-hibernation mode to save energy and the ability to create wireless bridges by connecting multiple WZR-HP-G300NH routers.

We liked that, unlike some of its competitors, the WZR-HP-G300NH can be positioned either on a wall, on a flat surface, upright or laid down, without suffering from any drop in performance and thanks to a removable stand.

Installing the router is rather straight forward although you will need to have access to a CD drive, something that's missing from most netbooks and ultra-thin laptops.

Some have criticised the lack of a 5GHz 802.11n mode which would have moved the router away from the busy 2.4GHz band but Buffalo still managed to prove them wrong with some impressive speeds being reached during testing.

We used our own Vostro V13 laptop which comes with an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5100 AGN network adapter - with an "up to speed of 300Mbps" of "Receive Bandwidth" according to Intel - and should therefore keep up with the the WZR-HP-G300NH.

We managed to get speeds of around 45Mbps with the channel bonding mode boosting the process to 86Mbps in the same room; the speed dropped to around 16Mbps when the laptop was moved in another room, much further away.

Lowering the level of encryption will increase the transfer rate and the speed achieved when using the (wired) GbE ports was close enough to the maximum one Gigabit theoretical limit.

The USB port will allow you to use external hard disk drives as NAS; using the router as a NAS server with an external self powered 500GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive went on without glitches.

We even managed to use the basic built-in BitTorrent client and the built-in media server works flawlessly, at least with the DLNA compliant devices we've tested.

The WZR-HP-G300NH also supports point-to-point tunneling VPN natively, a boon for business users and we applaud the fact that Buffalo put the WPA2 key and the unique SSID at the back of the box.

You can also create a BuffaloNAS account that will allow you to browse your files through a web browser although downloading is limited to individual files and not directories. The company has also recently added support for the iPhone and the iPod Touch to the BuffaloNAS website.

There are few niggles overall; the router is almost 18 months old and is well due an upgrade. We feel that Buffalo could have made the router slightly more sturdy, that there should be a Mac/Linux client and that the web interface in general could have been significantly improved.

Other welcomed additions would be a 2.5-inch removable SATA hard drive tray, the integration of the power supply, the ability to use it as a print server, more LED indicators and bringing an "app store" like Belkin Play Max will make it even more desirable.

A second USB port could be handy especially since the device supports 3G modem which can be used in case of emergencies (e.g. when a line is down). Currently, the user will have to pull out any tethered device before connecting the modem.

Looking at the pricing history of the WZR-HP-G300NH, we were flabbergasted to see that its price actually went up rather than down. Sapientcomputers sells the router at Play.com for £68.30 including free delivery and two year warranty.