Buffalo AirStation router switch
Buffalo's newest 802.11ac router, the AirStation Extreme AC 1750 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router ($149, street) gave the impressive performance and range in testing I expected after reviewing the vendor's entry-level 802.11ac router, the AirStation AC1300/N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H. Best of all, a new management interface lends an elegance and simplicity to configuring the many features geared to both consumers and small businesses. The only blemishes are some niggling issues with remote access to connected storage and Buffalo's mobile site for router management.
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Specs, Design, and Operating Modes
Buffalo's latest dual-band router does not deviate much in design from the earlier WZR-D1800H, with one exception: the AOSS (AirStation One-Touch Secure System) button is red instead of silver.
On the inside, the AC1750 contains a Broadcom chipset and supports a theoretical 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz.
Three LEDs on the front panel are arranged in a single column along with a Buffalo logo that lights up when the router is powered. The top-most LED represents wireless status, the middle is for WAN connection, and the bottom displays whether the device is operating as a router or not. The router can serve as a straight router, a bridge, or an access point. When set as a router, all three LEDs are lit. When set as a bridge, the third LED remains unlit.
On the rear panel are four Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port, a USB 2.0 port and USB 3.0 port, both for connecting external storage and printers.
The back panel has a few additional buttons I've not seen on too many other consumer wireless routers: There's a toggle switch to set the device as either a Wireless Bridge or an Access Point. Underneath the toggle is a push-button labeled "Mode." If the toggle switch is set to operate the AC 1750 as an access point, the Mode button will set the device as either a regular, everyday router, or as an access point, (meaning DHCP, NAT, and router functionality are disabled.)
Setting up the device in access point-only mode allows for adding a WLAN to an existing network. This is why Buffalo's latest router is also a good option for a small business looking for an affordable AP. Many consumer routers I've tested will let you set up the router as a bridge to extend an existing wireless network, but fewer offer the option to function in AP-only mode.
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