Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

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One other security feature that’s worth enabling is to lock the configuration of the access point to the wired network, as this prevents anyone using a wireless device to make any changes to the access point. If you’re using the WLA-G54C exclusively with Buffalo 802.11g wireless adapters then there is a Turbo option in the access point that improves the data throughput rate and this can be handy if you plan to transfer large chunks of data across the airwaves.

Overall the installation and setup of the WLA-G54C was pretty straightforward apart from the initial issue during the software installation. Once set up and configured the WLA-G54C will just sit there and do what it’s supposed to do.

Buffalo supplies everything you need to get going in the box. There is of course a small power brick, a flat network cable, a desktop stand and a wall mount. It’s great to see a network cable in the box as you often have to find your own when purchasing a network product.

This review isn’t quite over yet as I had a play to see how good the range was and did some file transfer tests to gauge throughput. In general terms the range was excellent and I had no problems using a Buffalo USB adapter and a wireless bridge with the WLA-G54C access point. I had excellent to good reception everywhere around my flat and the transfer rate never dropped below 54Mbit. This is very impressive but if you find yourself having problems in your local environment Buffalo offers a booster antenna (the WLE-NDR) that is meant to boost the signal strength of the access point.

Unfortunately, connecting this up didn’t seem to make any noticeable difference, whether using the access point in Turbo mode, 802.11g or 802.11b configurations. Nor did it make any difference to two other wireless network adapters. However, this proves one thing and that is that the WLA-G54C features a very good internal antenna already.

In terms of performance, there is little to complain about, although the transfer test might vary depending on your setup. I used a Buffalo WLI-USB-G54 adapter to test the transfer speed, but to limit any interference factors this was done at about one meter range. This might not show real world performance, but it will give an indication of the speeds you can expect to see from an 802.11g wireless network.

I copied a 14.3MB file from one PC to another and you can see the results on the graphs on the following page. However, it’s still important to remember that even 802.11g doesn’t come close to a wired network in terms of speed, but it is a lot faster than the older 802.11b standard. The turbo setting in the access point did increase the performance somewhat, but not as much as I expected.

But more importantly I also used a Buffalo WLI-TX1-G54 wireless bridge with my Kiss DP-500 DVD/DivX player to see if it was possible to stream high-quality video over 802.11g. I can happily report that this is definitely the case and I played several DivX and DVD video streams over the wireless connection without any problems.

To sum it all up, the WLA-G54C from Buffalo is a great product and as long as you have a basic grasp of networking it won’t be too hard to set up, but let’s hope that Buffalo fixes the problem with the installation CD. The price is also reasonable at £81.07 inc VAT, but if you don’t already have a network infrastructure in place, it might be worth looking at an integrated router with wireless capabilities.

Verdict

The Buffalo AirStation WLA-G54C is a compact, feature rich 802.11g wireless access point that should appeal to a wide range of users. The signal range is good and will make a solid basis for your wireless network needs.

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