This morning I decided it is time to get myself a wireless router so I can split the connection of my Plan 990 and make use of the wireless capability of my laptop. I decided on getting either a Linksys, Dlink or Netgear after careful browsing on the internet and assessing personal experiences of my officemates. My criteria for judging are (1) speed (2) range (3) price (4) brand.
During lunchtime I went to SM Megamall’s Cyberzone located at the 4th floor. There I canvassed what were available and at what prices. The last shop I visited was Asianic. Personally I really thought this place prices expensively but then I found a good buy in their shop – the Asus WL-520gU.
Why did I buy it? Well, I’ll dissect it base on my set criteria.
1. Speed – according to the box it has “125 High Speed Mode(HSM) technology that enables 135% transfer speed compared to standard 11g product”. 11g has a normal speed of 54 mbps so if what they boast is correct then it effectively means around 126.9 mbps transfer speed. The largest I saw from other brands using 11g is 108 mpbs. (comparison with 11n models shall not be included since their price is out of budget unless I consider buying the Encore brand from CD-R King)
2. Range – the specs states “BroadRangeTM delivers 300% more signal coverage than standard 802.11g”. Honestly, I really don’t know about this but the 300% sounded nice. 😀 Besides I was just thinking of buying a bigger antenna if not a cheaper class of access point (encore Cd-r King perhaps) that’ll act a as a repeater if I want to make the signal stronger even outside the house so it really wasn’t a big deal. I just liked to hear big numbers on this portion.
3. Price – compared to the other brands I mentioned this wins buy some margin. Cheapest Linksys I saw is a WRT54G at Php2700. Next is a Netgear that supports 108 mbps speed at Php2650. These prices were canvassed at PC Corner. Now, the ASUS WL-520gu at Asianic costs only Php2350. And if you buy it from PC Hub at Gilmore (upon checking their price posted at tipidpc.com) it goes down to Php2140. Php 2700 minus Php 2140 is 560 peso savings! That’s one family size pizza already. However, I bought from Asianic since I did not want the hassle of commuting to Gilmore.
4. Brand – Linksys is the trusted brand. Next is Dlink and Netgear comes at a close third. But Asus is also a strong brand in itself. In fact I already own an Asus laptop and an Asus wifi PCMCIA and all are still working fine so I do feel some security in buying their product.
5. Added feature – I mentioned no 5th criteria but think of this as some sort of X-factor. I was not really expecting any added feature like the standard 54 mbps speed, 11g wireless standard and 4 port lan but the Asus WL-520gu was able to make this the decision clincher for me. It has print server functionality. Finally I can share my usb printer without opening a pc server. I can even do wireless printing.
Those are my reasons for buying the Asus WL-520gu. It sounded too nice to be true right? Surely there must a flaw somewhere in this overly praised (by me only) product? Unfortunately there is. The biggest flaw for me is the booklet manual that offers insufficient help it getting you started most especially in the portion of how to make use of the print server functionality. But then after some reading off the hardware configuration page and tweaking based on experience and some hunches I was able to successfully make use all its functionalities. I am quite happy I bought it. 🙂 Oh, I can’t wait to do further experiments with it.
To summarize I recommend this product to those who are willing to tweak or have some basic knowledge in networking since if you’re the type who rely on manuals to show each process step by step then this product will just be one big frustration for you.