Top critical review
9 of 11 people found this helpful
Difficult to configure beyond basic routing, buggy interface, poor documentation
on August 26, 2013
I want to temper this review with the fact that the product does work, and despite significantly frustrating configuration it has joined my home network as a useful and functional access point.
But let's start at the beginning.
What you get in the package: router, network cable, power cord, mounting screws, stands, quick start guide. You'll notice that you do not get any sort of product manual or instruction guide beyond the quick start.
For basic configuration where this is the one and only one router in your network, it's an easy and quick installation via the web interface, and like other Buffalo products you just connect to it via wi-fi or hard wire, hit the LAN IP, and follow the instructions. In my configuration, however, it was replacing another device as an access point in another room of the house and connected to the main router.
Immediately I had an issue with having no manual, because there were switches on the back of the device for access point / router, and "wb" that had no explanation on the quick start guide. Consulting the downloadable manual on Buffalo's website revealed that the switch was for access point and wireless bridge, however, there is nothing in the manual about configuration as an access point. I would have thought that a full manual would include the actual use of the product in that mode.
Alas. I was easily able to change the IP address to a different subnet to match my existing network, and then began the web configuration. The interface is incredibly buggy. Randomly the menu selections will change from what they are supposed to be to the word "undefined" and then back again. I noticed this when configuring with both IE and Chrome. It was random and I never figured out what was triggering it, but eventually was able to get the selections to show up correctly.
In the router/AP switch setting, you change between the two by pushing another button. There is no rear-indication that you've done anything except a network light on the front of the device goes on or off, and the router either disconnects the WAN port or reconnects it. I noticed that in both modes the hard wired and wireless connections had full internet access, but when in AP mode I could no longer manage the router via it's LAN IP. It showed up on the network, but would no longer respond to web requests. When I pushed the button and sent it back to router mode it was configurable again. This behaviour does not mimic other routers when put into AP mode, and since there's no manual describing AP on this device, it was all guess work.
In terms of wireless connectivity I did not have an issue setting the SSIDs for both the A and N side, and this product does provide the ability for multiple SSID and guest SSID which can come in handy. It also provides support to configure as a wireless bridge so you can extend the range of your wireless network through relaying (although in my setup, it's hard wired to the main router and acts as an access point vs. relaying the wi-fi signal).
Once I got through the trial and error of getting it setup, the final issue I discovered was that the power switch does not immediately power off the device. This is different from other Buffalo products. When you push power and the switch pops out, the router goes through some type of shutdown process wherein the lights stay on and start flashing for 10-15 seconds before actually turning off. I found an obscure manual entry that said do not unplug the device while the lights are flashing (but that was the extent of the explanation). It appears that they have introduced some sort of shutdown workflow that you need to be aware of if you're planning to pull the power plug.
Overall I find myself disappointed by the lack of clear instruction guide, the cumbersome configuration as an access point, and the very buggy web interface that went "undefined" periodically. As compared to the Buffalo AC1300/N900 I have as the main router, this one was overly complex and unintuitive to setup. Thank goodness it's fast.
3 stars out of 5 for the complexity of configuration and poor quality web interface.