Review Price free/subscription
Unless you have a particularly stingy Internet Service Provider (ISP), it's likely that you had an ADSL modem supplied when you first signed up for your broadband subscription. It's also likely that if you're the type to venture into such a device's menus you'll have found it isn't exactly a bastion of configurability. And that is, of course, why power-users might consider throwing down a little over £80 to upgrade to the likes of the Asus DSL-N13 Wireless ADSL 2/2+ Modem Router.
The DSL-N13's full name should betray its primary functions to all but the most dyslexic of would-be buyers. To whit: the DSL-N13 will hook up to your phone line, sync up your ADSL, ADSL2 or ADSL2+ connection and then broadcast it out over Draft-N Wireless - or 802.11g and b, if you're still kicking it old-school.
The ADSL set-up process is blissfully easy, connecting to our O2 broadband service using its automatic detection, asking only for a username and password. There is a manual configuration option, but unless you're using a particularly new and/or obscure ISP it seems unlikely to be needed. Broadband performance was entirely identical using the DSL-N13 compared to our O2 bundled router so there are no complaints on that front.
The admin interface offers a number of configuration options for managing network performance (QoS to the geeks). Either you can prioritise a mix of four pre-sets - such as Gaming Blaster and Internet Application - or alternatively set any number of custom options, giving different ports priority on a one to eight scale. So far as we could tell it seems to work, with a download of the Robin Hood trailer appearing to have no negative impact on a high-octane round of Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer when using the Gaming Blaster mode.
Using the excellent software tool Iperf to test its performance, the DSL-N13 delivered fairly poor results. Close up we recorded a disappointing 62.7Mbit/sec, and that dropped to a mere 13.3Mbit through two walls - a more typical home scenario. Enabling WPA2-Personal encryption saw speeds drop to 62.8Mbit/s close-up and 7.9Mbit/s at a distance - hardly blazing performance.
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