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dd-wrt based wireless router
on April 4, 2013
I am conflicted when it comes to this device.
For many of you familiar with dd-wrt, you can skip down to the next paragraph. For others of you, I will explain dd-wrt. dd-wrt is an open source firmware for routers(i.e. you can get it for free). A couple of years back, many of the routers didn't offer advanced networking features, so many power users started using dd-wrt to better protect their network. I'm not talking about MAC filtering or SSID masking. These are easily hacked and not considered a good precaution anymore. I am talking about port security/firewall settings, NAT, WPA-2/AES(pretty standard now), and other REAL security features. Modern routers have gotten much better at this. But many power users still prefer all that dd-wrt has to offer. I won't go into great detail as to all the dd-wrt features, but you can do a quick google search and ascertain the information. dd-wrt is somewhat complicated for the novice user. It requires a decent bit of knowledge beyond what the average lay person has. If you have a techie friend who can help you set this up, or if you consider yourself tech-savvy and want to learn how to have full-control of your home network, then this device is a good place to start.
That being said, this is not a dual-band router. 802.11ac with 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band capabilities is the current standard for power users. These features come with a $200 price tag, so many/most should defer to a 802.11n router with dual-band capability. 802.11n isn't really last gen imho. I consider it current gen. 802.11ac is more future gen. Considering 99.9% of wireless devices currently aren't capable of 802.11ac, 802.11n will give you the most bang for the buck. The additional price of the 802.11ac will buy you future-proofing with very little current-gen benefit. For most people, I would recommend a good 802.11n dual-band router.
So that brings me to the problem I have with this router. I don't see someone who is interested in dd-wrt settling for a single band router on a NEW purchase. Personally, ALL my wireless devices, except my PS3, can handle the 5GHz band. I'm talking tablets, smartphones, TVs, blu-ray players, and printer. Now if you don't have a DLNA set-up and don't do a lot of high-def streaming within your network, then you may not notice a drastic difference. But if you have a media server and stream high-def MKV video files with DTS audio to other devices on your network, then this router will not work for you.
So who is the target audience of such a device? I would say it is a budget-constrained network savvy user who values security over convenience. Or a novice user wanting to expand his networking knowledge. I would consider this device a low-end wireless router with a powerful open-source(free) firmware/operating system pre-installed. I'm not a marketing expert, but I would think this is a small group. Novice users generally want easy setup. Power users generally want more speed. But if you value security above all else but can't afford a faster router, then this is a good router for you. But know in advance, you are buying an outdated product that you will need to replace sooner rather than later.
Full disclosure...I am a networking professional by trade. I tried to write this review for all audiences. I do read your comments. If you have any questions or comments, please post and I will reply. Thank you.