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Buffalo AirStation 54Mbps Wireless Router

Buffalo Wireless Airstation Review

Buffalo AirStation 54Mbps Wireless Router
Price: £120 at time of writing
Date: April 2003
Buy UK: Amazon | Currys/PCW | Dabs | eBuyer | John Lewis | Novatech |
Buy Int: Amazon.com | Compsource   Compare prices: Kelkoo
Site: Buffalo

Buffalo Airstation

AirStation 54Mbps Broadband CardBus

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The wireless market has really taken hold now, a year or so ago I know I certainly didn't think that the technology would be so widely avalaible and more importantly at a realistic and very affordable price.

2003 will be the year when more and more vendors start including Wireless chips into their products.

I have to admit I am a huge fan of wireless networking. It makes life so much easier and unrestricting, firstly you need to have a broadband connection to benefit most from this product.

What it offers is a quick and easy way to connect your connection to your PC and also to allow other computers in your home or office to connect easily, and more importantly without the hassle or mess of metres of CAT5 cable all over the place.

The Buffalo products here featured sporting the latest technology using the 802.11b Wireless technology the speeds offered here allows for 54Mbps throughput.

Buffalo Airstation BoxedBuffalo Airstation Rear Of Box

What you get in the box:

1x Router
1x CD and quickstart guide
1x PSU and cable
1x Flat CAT 5 cable

Contents Of Airstation

The unit:

Firstly the unit is different to the 'norm' firstly rather than blues or blacks this unit is white and comes in an oval type of casing. Led Indicators on the front panel include Power, WAN Link / Activity, Wireless Activity, these are arranged vertically.

Buffalo Airstation Wireless Router

The rear of the unit includes 4 x 10 / 100 LAN ports; all ports can be used for both normal and Uplink ports. 1 x WAN port this is where the connection from your cable modem connects, and a power connector. Also on the rear you will find a recessed reset button and also a connector to connect an external aerial if required via the small cover.

Features:

  • Fast 54Mbps wireless throughput
  • 5 times faster than 802.11b
  • 802.11b Wi-FiT compatible
  • Lifetime toll free tech support
  • Repeater function
  • Buffalo guarantees G54
  • 2 year warranty

54g Logo

54g delivers the fastest possible data rate defined by the proposed IEEE802.11g draft specification. 54g is five (5) times faster than 802.11b Wireless LANs and offers longer distances than 802.11a, requiring fewer access points and reducing deployment costs.

Specs:

Communication Range :
*Speed Scene
Outdoor Indoor
54 Mbps. 165ft(50m) 65ft(20m)
18 Mbps: 490ft(150m) 195ft(60m)
11 Mbps. 590ft(180m) 245ft(75m)
1 Mbps: 1870ft(570m) 410ft(125m)

*All Distances are estimated. Wireless connections may be affected as physical conditions and circumstances vary.

Technical Specifications - Wireless LAN
Standards Compliance IEEE802.11b (Wireless LAN Standard ), IEEE802.11g (Proposed Draft standard)
Frequency Range 2,412-2,462Mhz
Transmission Rate 802.11g: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54Mbps
802.11b: 1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps
Security Intrusion Detector, 128/64bit WEP, password, MAC Address Registration, Privacy Separator, Dynamic Packet Filtering
Access mode Infrastructure mode
Antenna Diversity method (internal),15dbm(32mW)
Output power 15dBm(32mW)
Selectable Channels 3 Channels (non-overlapping)
Communication Protocol Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum(DS-SS method), Half Duplex

 

Technical Specifications - Cable LAN
Interface IEEE802.3 (10 Base-T/100 Base-TX)
Transmission Rate 10/100Mbps (auto sense)
LAN Ports/Connector Four(4) 10/100 Base-T RJ-45 ports (Auto MDI/X)
Transmission Encoding Method 10Base-T Manchester coding: 100Base-TX4B5B,MLT- 3
Access Method CSMD/CD
WAN Port/Connector One (1) RJ-45 port
Power Supply 100-120V AC 50/60Hz DC 3.3v, 2.5A
Dimensions W3xH6.75xD6.1 (76X171X155mm)
Weight 1 lb. (445g)
Operating environment 0-40 °C, 20-80% humidity (non-condensing)

The 54Mbps CardBus supports faster data rates over greater distances than 802.11a-based networks. The 54Mbps Broadband CardBus incorporates 64/128-bit WEP and VPN support for improved security. The affordable, plug and play 54Mbps Broadband CardBus is compatible with existing Wi-FiT 802.11b products.'

Got that.. Ok well this is a PCMCIA way of connecting a laptop / notebook to your wireless network through the Airstation Broadband Router.

Buffalo Airstation PCMCIA Card Boxed

What you get in the box:

1x 54Mbps Wireless CardBus
1x CD and quickstart guide

Contents Of Airstation PCMCIA Card

'The AirStation 54Mbps Broadband CardBus Card delivers the fastest wireless throughput on the 2.4GHz band and offers instant wireless connectivity with any Type II or Type III CardBus ready laptop. The 54Mbps CardBus supports faster data rates over greater distances than 802.11a-based networks. The 54Mbps Broadband CardBus incorporates 64/128-bit WEP and VPN support for improved security. The affordable, plug and play 54Mbps Broadband CardBus is compatible with existing Wi-FiT 802.11b products.'

Got all that.. Ok well this is a PCMCIA way of connecting a laptop / notebook to your wireless network through the Airstation Broadband Router.

Communication Range :
*Speed Scene
Outdoor Indoor
54 Mbps. 165ft(50m) 65ft(20m)
18 Mbps: 490ft(150m) 195ft(60m)
11 Mbps. 590ft(180m) 245ft(75m)
1 Mbps: 1870ft(570m) 410ft(125m)

*All Distances are estimated. Wireless connections may be affected as physical conditions and circumstances vary.

Technical Specifications - Wireless LAN
Part number WLI-CB-G54
Interface 32-bit CardBus
Frequency range 2,412-2,462Mhz
Transmission rate 802.11g: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54Mbps
802.11b:1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps
WAN Port/Connector One (1) RJ-45 port
Power consumption TX peak:550mA@3.3VDC,
RX peak:350mA@3.3VDC,
Idle:225mA@3.3VDC,
radio disable:<10mA@3.3VDC
Dimensions W54xL110xD6mm
Weight 45g
Operating environment Temperature 0-55°C, Humidity 20-80% (no condensation)

The Units:

Well what can I say the router looks good, it isn't very heavy, and the casing is made of plastic and is white in colour.

Buffalo Airstation Router Side View

The layout of the Led's is easy to read and it matches the layout of my cable modem.
The ports are all on the back panel which I do prefer as it makes it easier than front ports which usually result in twisted cables over and around the unit.

  Airstation PCMCIA Card

The PCMCIA card - Is slightly longer than the standard cards (only by a cm or so) that you would use.
The extra length shows the Buffalo logo on a green covering inside this is a green led which just shows any activity.
There isn't much more to say it's a PCMCIA card with built in wireless chip that allows you to connect to your Airstation Router.

Installation:

Installing both of these products was very straight forward, the systems I used were both running Win XP one machine was using Pro and the other home edition. On connecting the devices and booting the system the familiar driver prompt was displayed a few clicks later and with some help from the driver CD, and a reboot for luck later.. I had a wireless network!

The whole process took about 10 - 15 mins, as with other router set-ups the router sits between the cable modem and the PC, which will become your gateway PC. In my case I used my main desktop system and used the laptop to connect to it.

Once set-up you can just click on explorer or your browser of choice and off you go able to go about your normal online business.

I have used previously a Linksys wireless set-up, there aren't that much internal differences as the technology is almost identical the only difference between the two brands is the software that ships with them and the look and layout of the units.

The software that ships with the Buffalo products comes complete with a very well designed graphical interface; the options are clearly laid out and with illustrations and prompts so you can decide easily which is the correct route for you.

If you've never used a wireless network it is essential that you set a username and password to restrict access to the network, you wouldn't want a neighbour to tap in etc would you.
It also is useful to have a user name etc set as with this router you can set it up to connect to it securely via a VPN connection over the net.

To set these you need to enter the admin section via http://192.168.11.1

For most users you won't need to go into the admin section, but it is worth having a look just to take note of the options and locations of them. One such option is to set or alter the rates this is similar to the baud of older systems. Communicate 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, or 54Mbps.

I wont go into any more detail the router admin screen is very straightforward and allows for easy customisation. The software also included is very comprehensive and includes monitoring software and diagnostic.

Conclusions:

This is cutting edge technology for a small outlay you can share that broadband connection you've grown to love as a brother and open it to other PC's and your Laptop quickly and easily.
Wireless tech with up to 54Mbps is very fast; the price over the 11Mbps technology works out only about £20 - £30 more expensive and in my opinion is worth every penny.

The units look good and install easily and the performance is outstanding, the ability to upgrade and increase the number of PC's connecting to your home or office wireless network is simplicity. Obviously a main reason for buying this is to rid yourself of the mess and hassle that comes with using metres of CAT5 cable; you could simply bring home your laptop from the office and connect straight away to your wireless network.

All this and more for around £150 for both the router and PCMCIA card.