on December 1, 2012
I will write this review having come from a mixed background of home devices as well as a professional networking background.
First, some information:
I've used many wireless devices over the years, most recently the D-Link DIR-655 and Cisco E4200 V1. Both of these devices were sufficient to suit my needs for various situations without being excessively well featured, lacking various things such as VPN endpoint termination or (in the case of the 655) even a 5GHz band. However, when I found myself in the situation to replace my E4200 (died less than one month out of warranty), I decided that new technology was in order.
You may ask why I dont run something a little higher end, it comes down to available funds. Believe me, I'd like to, but one cannot always afford enterprise grade Cisco APs and routers.
In researching a new wireless router for myself, I had found that Draft 802.11AC is in the process of being ratified and new devices are on the market based on this technology. While I did not have any other devices that are currently AC capable, I decided that I did not want to restrict myself to slower N technology as AC will be the next step in the Wireless evolution.
When comparing devices I found that the Buffalo WZR-D1800H had this AC capability at a much cheaper price than many other manufacturers while maintaining an extensive amount of capabilities. In addition, Buffalo is well known for supporting and implementing DD-WRT open source router firmware.
I found that the Buffalo WZR-D1800H had relatively good reviews on the SmallNetBuilder website and had many capabilities that the other routers lacked without the premium price tag. The downside of this was that it is only an average Wireless N performer.
With this in mind, I made my purchase after weighing the price and capabilities of the Netgear AC devices as well as the current Cisco AC device.
The Aspects I enjoy about this device include native VPN tunnel endpoint, of course the AC capability at an affordable price, support for network printer or NAS devices (FAT and XFS filesystems only, No NTFS, sorry), high throughput, notification of firmware updates, and other things. The portforwarding is quite granular, almost to the point of tedium, but if you have a basic setup its not too bad.
In my own experience I've come to the conclusion that the speeds of N on this device are sufficient for my needs, which include multiple wireless devices (2x tablets, 2x phones, 1 laptop, 1 TV, 1 PS3, 1 XBox 360, and occasional guest devices). Where the device truly lacks from my perspective is signal strength.
It does have a few issues however:
First, the device sits on the second floor of the house above the garage but as close to the center of the house as I can and remain in that room. Moving across the house renders signal strength (in Layman's terms) of 1-2 bars. Moving down a level and across the house to the kitchen nets only a single bar of strength. This is a definitive drop in signal strength from my previous E4200 device. The house is not terribly large for a 2 story, at only 1906 sqft, and the device definitely struggles to cover that area.
In looking at a cross section of an opened device (from a thread on the DD-WRT forums), it appears the antennae reside on the top end of the router (when installed standing up so the word "Buffalo" is upright and legible), so in order to achieve better signal strength, I may need to reorient the router with the antennae facing the rest of the house. I havent been able to do this just yet and will update this review with the results when I am able.
Additional information that I have since discovered about this device is that it is not currently running a version of the DD-WRT firmware despite Buffalo's tendency to use that firmware. There IS a version available that will boot on this device, but it appears development of it has stalled.
The firmware that ships with this router is very convoluted and difficult to work with due to lack of documentation. It was unclear in many cases, even for a network professional, what steps were needed to be taken in order to enable certain of the more advanced settings in the router, including re-registering WPS if you chose to release the settings (be sure to set up both 5 and 2.4GHz networks to fix this). In addition to this, there are a couple of pages within the firmware that specifically say "do not adjust these settings" in bold at the top of the page. I'm unsure why these pages are viewable, much less changeable if they do not want users to adjust them. However, in my experience, these settings are for very advanced users only and the vast majority will see nothing but negative effects if toying with these settings.
Overall I am happy with the router, although the firmware needs some work for usability sake.
As I mentioned earlier I thought I would try reorienting the router to increase the range in the house. I did this to a bit of success. I've increased the signal strength in portions of the house from barely 1 bar to 2-3 bars, although it decreased it in other areas. It will take a little bit of trial and error to orient just right, but bear this in mind when you are positioning the device. Move the router around until it offers the best strength in your highly used areas.
In reviewing that image of the inside of the device with the antenna orientation. There are 3 along the front and 3 along the top. Depending on which you are more likely to use (5GHz or 2.4GHz) would determine your best orientation. The layout is as follows: 3 antennas along the front (where the Buffalo word is) 3 along top as previously mentioned. They alternate from each wireless controller, although I'm unsure which side has 2 x 2.4GHz antennas vs 1 x 5GHz antenna and vice versa.
on November 3, 2012
Pros: 802.11ac wireless Gigabit speeds. The router provides excellent wireless coverage of my entire house (my previous N router left dead spots). Wired LAN is incredibly fast. Overall network bandwidth and speed has increased.
Cons: Even though the range is extended, the connection speed drops at the outer edges of its coverage. Router reboots after most changes in configuration. But this only affects the initial setup. Needs advanced settings for more experienced users.
Other Thoughts: The white buffalo logo lighting up is pretty neat. Overall design, look and feel of the router is great. Buffalo has been very good with offering solid products.
on May 10, 2013
We purchased a Buffalo router on the recommendation of Buffalo (no surprise) in an effort to set up and operate in bridge mode. Following the instructions for doing so did not work. After more than 10 hours on the phone with customer support over 3 days, which essentially was a random walk through changing router settings, it was finally determined that the hardware was defective. They would not RMA the unit, as they said the date of manufacture of the until was "too close to the expiration of the warranty period." Amazingly lame. You will see this in other reviews at the bottom of the stack - DO NOT BUY A BUFFALO PRODUCT AND EXPECT IT TO WORK OUT OF THE BOX, AND EXPECT EVEN LESS IN TERMS OF BOTH TECHNICAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND SERVICE (yes, they did hang up on me in the end). Since the unit does not work, and they won't take it back, it's now in the electronics recycling pile.
on January 9, 2013
Upgraded my cable Internet and I wanted to get a router that would maximize the speed. Like other reviewers, I did find the user interface for the set-up to be slightly confusing, however that is my only complaint so far. I have been able to stream movies without any buffering and surf the Internet at increased speeds. If you are someone like myself that is looking to upgrade your router, without paying an arm and a leg, then I highly recommend this router.
on January 30, 2013
After doing a lot of research and just a lot of searching all together for a new router for gaming, the Buffalo AirStation AC1300 popped up time and time again as being the "best", I caught a good deal on it here on Amazon and bought it. I can honestly say it is one of the best if not the best on the market. Tech support is top notch, (had a set up question). Definitely worth the the money.
on January 16, 2013
Buffalo AC1300 is an Excellent AC Router especially with Newest Firmware 1.9. Check out the latest Review at Tomshardware, it beats Linksys AC, and even Asus AC router in most tests with newest firmware 1.9.
The only problem Buffalo has to resolve is the NAT rerouting back to the gateway problem (port forwarding to webserver). If you have a webserver setup this NAT problem won;t allow you to access your webserver from you local network, e.g If you type webserver address 192.168.1.10 and have port 80 forwarded to the server then you will get Router login prompt instead of your webserver page, etc.
I hope Buffalo resolve this issue in next firmware ASAP! I have been running this router for a month now and didn't had to reboot once. New firmware 1.91 did improve performance, but it can be improve more in the upcoming firmware updates. Router has best price @ Gadgetar.com
Cons: NO DD-WRT Support, NAT port forward problem. Cannot disable NAT and use simple port forwarding.
on February 5, 2013
I have bought exactly 12 different wireless routers (Netgear, Linksys, Apple, Cisco-Linksys, ASUS, Belkin, Motorola etc.) over the past ten years, and without a doubt, this is the best, most powerful wireless router I have ever purchased.
When I called Comcast to register and let them know that I purchased this wireless router, this wireless router WAS NOT on their list of recommended wire routers.
When I asked the Comcast Rep. why this wireless router was not on their recommended list, HIS reply was that HE had never heard of Buffalo products, and therefore HE suggested that I return the wireless router and buy a Comcast recommended wireless router for "safety", "performance" and "features."
When you compare quality, RANGE and features to the competition, there is none.
Unless or until something better comes along, I'm keeping this wireless router until December 31, 2099.
on November 3, 2012
This is probably the best router Buffalo has ever made! It is fast and has better range than my old router. I upgraded from an old Netgear router and this one is much better. I can get over 150 Mbps wireless, which is much faster that I had gotten before. Wired speeds are great! My benchmarks are showing around 700Mbps wired speed between two computers. The printer sharing feature is great, I have been using it to share my usb connected printer with my laptop over the wireless connection. The setup is really simple and it has all the standard settings I wanted in a new router.