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Buffalo's latest wireless product may look like one of its standard high power 802.11b/g routers but what lies beneath its unassuming exterior is a feature set aimed specifically at professional users. Instead of Buffalo's normal firmware the unit has been flashed with DD-WRT.
So what exactly is DD-WRT, you might ask? Essentially, it's an open source Linux based firmware designed for a range of 802.11b/g/n wireless routers that offers a far greater range of wireless routing features than you'd find in most common or garden consumer and small business products. Being open source it's freely available for you to download and flash your router with. The project has been gathering momentum recently and consequently supports a wide range of manufacturers. However, the risk factor is that by flashing your router there is a slim chance of ‘bricking' it and you're also saying goodbye to any manufacturer support and warranty. Buffalo's new router breaks the mould as this is the first commercially available router that comes with DD-WRT preinstalled and is fully supported by the vendor.
Note that this product is not for the novice as it doesn't come with any documentation or installation guides with Buffalo preferring you to reference the developer's web site at www.dd-wrt.com for any pearls of wisdom. The bottom line is; if you're not familiar with DD-WRT then this router is probably not for you. That said it's actually as easy to install as any other wireless router we've tested as it defaults to a DHCP client on the WAN port with its internal DHCP server active. All we needed to do was plug in our intelligent Actiontec ADSL modem to its WAN port and we had immediate Internet access for all our LAN systems.
Buffalo has given the web interface its own design touch making the myriad features easily available. However, bear in mind that although some on-line help is provided from the web interface in many areas it is sparse or non-existent. From the Setup page you can select your type of Internet connection and choices range from static or dynamic IP addressing, PPPoE, PPTP and L2TP. There's also a heartbeat option although you needn't worry about this as it's primarily for BigPond customers. VLAN (virtual LAN) support is configured from here as well, where you can select individual LAN ports and place them in separate VLANs.
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