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Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N WZR-HP-G300NH router Review

I bought the Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N WZR-HP-G300NH router because my good old Belkin started to die after about 2 years of heavy usage and I also got a pretty good deal from Amazon. I looked around for a while for a decent N router under $100 that also had Gigabit ports and some kind of NAS functionality and WZR-HP-G300NH seemed to fit the bill. If you look on the WEB, you will also find out that it provides DD-WRT compatibility which is certainly a bonus, and it is claimed that it provides a higher transmitting power than other routers on the market. Let’s put these claims to test and see how it performs.

1. WZR-HP-G300NH Unpacking

The WZR-HP-G300NH contains the router itself, the charger (12V 1.5A), a small plastic base and a network cable. Also included is the software/manual CD and a quick start guide specifying the initial IP Address (192.168.11.1) and the initial root password (or the lack of it).

2. Tech Specs

  • WPA2, WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP), 128/64-bit WEP
  • 1 External Antenna with Adjustable Output
  • 10/100/1000 Mbps, Auto Sensing, Auto MDIX
  • AOSS One-touch security setup, AP and router mode, built-in SPI-firewall, WAN auto setup
  • 300 Megabits Per Second wireless transfer rate
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11n (draft 2.0), IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
  • Dimensions: Width 6.5″, Depth: 1.2″, Height 6.2″, Weight 12 Ounces

3. Installation and Setup

The WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router is designed to sit either in a horizontal or vertical position (the package also includes a small plastic base). The blue Ethernet port is used to connect the router to the DSL/Cable modem.

3.1. Internet connection wizard

The WZR-HP-G300NH router automatically detects DHCP or PPoE connections to your DSL/cable modem. In my case, it detected neither of them. My ISP is Time Warner and I am using one of their newer, smaller modems. After a couple of minutes, I got the idea to restart the modem and then it found the DHCP connection right away. The whole process was absolutely painless. I then proceeded to reset the root password (the default password is empty, so you better change it, otherwise your neighbors will be able to mess up with your settings or worse…)

3.2. Firmware update:

My router was shipped with the firmware version 1.72. On the Buffalo’s website, there is a newer software, version 1.74. The upgrade process is very easy, but prepare to wait almost 10 minutes for it. After the upgrade is finished, you can refresh your browser page to see the new interface.

3.3 DD-WRT installation

Step 1: Navigate to http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database, type WZR-HP-G300NH in the search box and download the file called buffalo_to_ddwrt_webflash-MULTI.bin

Step 2: Point your Internet Browser to  http://192.168.11.1 (or whatever IP you set for the router, if you changed it). Login using root username and your password
Step 3: Navigate to Admin Config->Update
Step 4: Click Browse and select the “buffalo_to_ddwrt_webflash-MULTI.bin” file downloaded at Step 1
Step 5: Click  Update Firmware
Step 6: Wait 6-7 minutes
Step 7: Restart the browser and navigate to  http://192.168.1.1/. Obeserve that DD-WRT firmware set the default IP Address for the router to be 192.168.1.1 instead of 192.168.11.1
Step 8: Enjoy your new DD-WRT enabled router

4. Functionality

4.1. Wireless router

WZR-HP-G300NH is well packed with features including multiple SSIDs with different security settings, WPA2 security, quality of service (QOS), DMZ IP Address and Movie Engine. The diagnostic page is fully featured and the router also includes logging capability.

4.2. BitTorrent™ Downloader

I don’t use torrents so I haven’t had the chance to test the BitTorrent Downloader.

4.3. NAS functionality / DLNA functionality

The WZR-HP-G300NH router includes a USB port to attach USB sticks or hard-drives. The feature works well and it detected my Western Digital My Book immediately upon connection. However, it has certain limitations that I will list below:

  • 500GB capacity limit
  • no NTFS support, only XFS and FAT32
  • cannot natively format FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB. Windows doesn’t do it either, so you will need to format FAT32 larger than 32GB with other utilities

WZR-HP-G300NH also includes DLNA functionality so you can access the media stored on the attached USB drive through other devices that implement DLNA clients. I was able to access media from my WD TV Live Plus and Viewsonic VMP75, as well as my LG 60PS80 connected TV. Bear in mind that unlike other DLNA software servers, WZR-HP-G300NH won’t perform any CODEC conversion for you so if your DLNA client doesn’t support a certain format you are out of luck.

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5. Reliability

I was using the router for several days and did not experience any reliability issues. I will update this section after several weeks of usage.

6. Final thoughts

6.1. Pros:

• Gigabit ports
• 300MB/s in dual channel mode with compatible adapters
• Higher power than most other routers which transmit in the 100 mW range. WZR-HP-G300NH transmits a whooping 800mW power. This certainly will improve your range
• You can have several SSIDs with individual security settings
• USB NAS  functionality (albeit limited)
• BitTorrent download
• DLNA Server functionality for cheap

See below the FCC table for the WZR-HP-G300NH output power. For the full document, visit FCC website.

6.2. Cons:

– USB hard-drives limited to 500GB, cannot format FAT32 drives larger than 32GB although it will recognize them if they are pre-formated
6.3. Conclusion:

Good performance for the prices and decent features included.DLNA/NAS support are limited but offer a lot of value on the cheap. Also, the high transmitting power drastically increases its range but you will need good wireless adapters to take advantage of the increased range. Recommended!

7. Gallery

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  • Steven

    Great review !

  • frankyvee

    I’m now have one on order with newegg. I read in a recent post that Buffalo is shipping these router with DD-WRT frimware already installed. They also have the DD-WRT firmware listed on their site at: http://www.buffalotech.com/support/downloads/

    The firmware version listed as of this post date 21 Oct 2010, is v24sp2-14998 and can be downloaded directly from Buffalo site: http://www.buffalotech.com/support/getfile/wzrhpg300nh-pro-v24sp2-14998.zip

    Can’t wait to get this and do some testing to see how much faster it actually is.

  • frankyvee

    Oh I forgot to mention, awesome review. You should do a youtube video on it.

  • DavidB

    Browsing about on the Buffalo forums I’ve gleaned a couple points of interest since this review was written:
    1. At some point Buffalo began shipping these with dd-wrt pre-installed. That seems to currently NOT be the case though as of sometime around early November 2010 as my unit was bought in November and came with Buffalo firmware 1.74, not dd-wrt.
    2. It seems the dd-wrt driver for the Atheros wireless chipset is very old and is problematic on this router. Many reports in the forums of folks that have this router with dd-wrt having wireless just basically turning itself off on a daily basis. There do not seem to be any reports of this with the Buffalo firmware which is why I suspect they no longer ship it with dd-wrt installed. Beware buying this unit if a major part of your purchase decision is to be able to dd-wrt on it.
    3. I have inquired of Buffalo support about the USB disk size. Only supporting 500GB and less drives seems particularly restrictive in this age of sub-$100 2TB USB drives. A firmware 1.76 is available and I have flashed that into my router but I have yet to have time to try a larger hard disk to see if 1.76 increase the capacity limit, nor has Buffalo support replied yet to my inquiry.

  • Wesley

    Great review.

    I also have this router and was expecting something that would be able to cover my entire house since its supposedly High-Power Wireless-N. However, this is not the case and the range is poorer than my old ASUS WL-520GU or Linksys WRT54G.

    You said that “good wireless adapters are needed to take advantage of the increased range” Can you recommend some specific models or brands?

    Thanks!

  • Red

    Wesley,

    It is usually recommended to use an adapter from the same family and based on Amazon’s reviews, users experienced very good range with this:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001XURGTE?ie=UTF8&tag=revihori-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001XURGTE
    A little bit on the expensive side, but worth it in my opinion.

  • I have had the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH for over a year now and this router is top of the line in range, reliability with no issues with VOIP, DLink DSL-2540B ADSL modem or any wireless adapters connecting to it’s network. I did have a few times I thought this router was causing me some grief with packet loss up to 91% but it wasn’t anything to do with this router, it has to do with Telus which one internet provider I do NOT recommend.
    This is a better router than the DLink DIR 655 in range and wifi apps. Good stuff +++++