Top positive review
82 people found this helpful
WIN x 3: Gigabit, Wireless N, and built-in DD-WRT (An Easy VPN Server!!!)
on September 20, 2013
I've been a big fan of Buffalo, who produces a huge selection of products in Japan, and starting to have a larger presence in the US. I actually bought my first WZR-600DHP in Japan when I just started getting into DD-WRT. Previously all my routers had been Netgear, but with my expanding needs for a more powerful router, the built-in convenience of the DD-WRT in the Buffalo makes this an easy choice.
If you are unfamiliar with this software, it is an open router interface that can be installed on compatible routers by "flashing" the router's original firmware. DD-WRT opens up powerful functionality of your router to do some pretty amazing things. My personal objective with DD-WRT was to setup a VPN for private web browsing and obtaining access to location specific online media. (Some of you may be aware of the limitations of Netflix and Hulu in certain regions...well, this is your solution to that problem!) Thru a tremendous wealth of information on forums and wiki pages, I was able to build 2 types of VPN server on this router (PPTP and OpenVPN). I am extremely happy with the results! In a way this is a plug for DD-WRT, mostly because Buffalo has embraced this open standard as it's core router engine. Here are several of the features that I found particularly useful:
1. Dynamic DNS: Perodically checks your external (public) IP address and updates various services to keep alive any free dns acounts you may have. I personally use no-ip.org which is free, easy to update and has a nice looking domain name. The one glaring exception is dyndns.com, previously one of the most popular services, which has stopped allowing automatic updates, now making it difficult to use.
2. USB/Network Attached Storage(NAS): You can plug in a USB flash drive or hard drive and make it accessible anywhere on your network. Thru built-in SAMBA support, you can access the device thru windows like a network drive. Very nice feature indeed.
3. USB/Printer Server: Have an old USB printer without ethernet support? You can attach it to the router and make it accessible to all network devices.
4. VPN (PPTP or OpenVPN): THIS is why I got interested in DD-WRT in the first place! You can setup your own personal VPN server with great ease. Since it running on your router, it is ON 24/7 without need for an additional computer. Used in conjunction with Dynamic DNS, you never have to worry about what your external IP address is! I recommend PPTP if you are new to VPNs, it is fast and sufficiently secure (but not 100% impenetrable). If you're an advanced user with some networking understanding you can setup OpenVPN which allows the strongest encryption available, virtually 100% secure. However, OpenVPN takes some work to setup properly. What can you do with VPNs:
a) Make your internet traffic appear to originate from another location.
This is particularly useful for getting around media streaming sites (Netflix, Hulu and one other that rhymes with Bamazon) which do not allow streaming beyond country borders. You can try signing up for Public VPNs to do this, but the streaming sites track down Public sites and block access from them, rendering them useless. You need a Private VPN to get around that. Mine is setup in Japan where I have accounts, and I can stream to anywhere in the world I have internet access. Clearly a handy feature for international travelers who pay for online content!
b) Establish secure connections around company firewalls and public networks.
Does your company block certain websites, forbid certain words in searches? Are you afraid to use public networks at Starbuck for mail and transactions because you don't know who else is sniffing on the network? Once you signin to your VPN, all traffic between your device and your home VPN server is encrypted. That is, network administrators and other rouge users on the network cannot peak into your web browsing. So browse that network with confidence!
c) Use it with any device that supports VPNs.
That includes PCs/Laptops, iPhones/iPads. PPTP is natively supported on Windows 7/8, iOS, MacOS, so setup is a breeze!
One area that I would eventually like to explore is the use of VoIP phones which would allow you to connect an iPhone to your home phone so that you can receive home phone calls on your iphone. With VPNs this is possible, but I still have yet to explore. (There are blogs on the internet about setting this up.)
Supports 2 bands of Wireless-N traffic. This is extremely useful for load balancing your wireless devices and ensuring the best antenna signal given device placement. Remember that the wireless bandwidth is not limit-less, so this router essentially doubles that bandwidth.
Not much to say about this feature other than it's fast!
Really don't have much bad to say about this. I've been using 2 of them (one for testing and one for production) for about 4 months now in various configurations with very few issues. However, I will say that the base plate is not particularly sturdy. I ended up mounting it flat on my wall, as the screw holes conveniently lineup to outlet base plate holes! I can't imagine that's co-incidental. I posted a picture of it under customer photos. It seems much sturdier in that configuration, slides up and off the bracket for accessing behind the unit.
Overall, this is a great router that allows users to really make the most of their router by shipping with DD-WRT pre-installed. I highly recommend it!
I'm still so pleased with the performance and functionality, I've now bought 4 of these routers to handle multiple sites.
The most helpful critical review seems to have had issues with starting and stopping his wireless connection. He also restarts his router on a daily basis. I wonder if he has a defective router as my router in Japan has been on 24-7 for 6 months without a hitch. His last comment was more than 1 year ago too, so maybe there was an manufacturing improvement (although I use the same firmware version he does.) I use the VPN on it daily, and the only times I go into the administration pages are to copy the settings to my new routers. Honestly, these routers are stable as a rock.
Just in case it's not clear from my review, the router is PRE-INSTALLED with DD-WRT. You just have to turn on the option to boot into that configuration. Very simple to use, no messing around with flashing like other routers.
Feel free to leave a comment/question, as I'm happy to respond. Thank you.