GCN LAB REVIEW
Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N Router
Buffalo Technologies’ AirStation Nfiniti Wireless-N Router and Access Point is the longest name for the smallest device in the review. It stands less than 6 inches tall and weighs only 12.5 ounces, including its power adapter. Its antennae are all internal, which means they cannot be adjusted and can be no further apart than the case’s 5-inch depth.
The Nfiniti has a router and access point mode. These can be set with a switch on the back, which can be set to turn the router on, off, or to an auto setting that allows the mode to be chosen from the Web-based administration interface. We were pleased to see this additional feature, which would work even if the device experienced a software reset.
Buffalo has equipped this access point with AirStation One-Touch Secure System, the company’s proprietary version of WPS. With it, users can connect compatible client devices.
The Nfiniti has a LAN port for connecting to the Internet while in router mode, in addition to a four-port switch. Unfortunately, these are all 10/100 ports. We don’t understand why anyone would want to take an 802.11n wireless device, which can theoretically achieve 300 megabits/sec, and hobble it with LAN ports that have a maximum throughput of 100 megabits/sec. True, 300 megabits/sec speeds can be approached by two wireless clients on the same access point, but communication with the rest of the network is almost always needed, and this must be done through the slower LAN ports.
Not surprisingly, the 10/100 Ethernet ports had a direct bearing on our Veriwave testing. The Nfiniti had results similar to other access points for smaller packet sizes but capped out as the packets got larger. The greatest throughput we achieved when downloading data from Ethernet to wireless was 98.72 megabits/sec. Tests with multiple users and security enabled were within expectations, given this bottleneck.
Because the upstream computer had a 10/100 Ethernet port, the Nfiniti was on essentially even footing with the other access points, and performed well. It was second best in our download tests from 10, 20, 40 and 80 feet away, and it squeaked out the fastest speed at 160 feet, with a throughput of 8.5 megabits/sec. Although it didn’t perform as well in the upload tests, it was usually in the middle of the pack.
The best feature of the Nfiniti is its price: $80 retail. This is a good price for a device with 10/100 ports. The AirStation Nfiniti Wireless-N Router and Access Point from Buffalo is good for any network that still has at least one existing 100 megabits/sec bottleneck, though you would not want to drop it into one that has completely upgraded to gigabit speeds.
Buffalo Technologies, 800-456-9799, www.buffalotech.com