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Buffalo WHR3-G54 AirStation 125 Review,
The Great 802.11G+ Hardware Shoot-out, cont'd
Sept 17 , 2004 by Zack Bryce, Tech Lab Mgr

Buffalo and the AirStation are very well known and respected by consumers and IT buyers alike. One of the long time market leaders and innovators, Buffalo just knows how to build features into their networking hardware before others in the same market will.

This new WHR3-G54 AirStation 125 High Speed Mode Wireless Cable/DSL Router is basically a revision of their tried and true “54G pre boosted bandwidth”, for lack of a better description, 802.11g model. The big difference is primarily the great anticipated Broadcom “Speed Boost”.11g chipset, which was to counter all the other chipsets that offer a turbo or greater than the hypothetical 54Mbps bandwidth of the standard .11g chipset. Buffalo uses the term “125” to illustrate that the data transfer rate should be equivalent to a 125Mbps Bandwidth device, which the Broadcom chipset actually isn’t.

Here’s how Buffalo explains it. “When operating in High Speed Mode, this AirStation achieves an actual throughput of up to 34.1 Mbps, which is the equivalent throughput of a system following 802.11g protocol and operating at a signaling rate of 125Mbps.”

Broadcom has been very late with this chipset and it wasn’t only until recently that Buffalo and Linksys (the primary brands using it) got their new hardware out with it. Also to Buffalo’s professional credit, release of their AirStation incorporating the new “125” enhanced Broadcom chipset was held up a bit while they made sure that they were happy with the AOSS firmware.

We were one of the lucky publications to get our hands on among the first test units available. Unfortunately, being first sometimes has consequences too. There was a slight snafu with an early batch of software CD’s for the PC Cards being faulty, but Buffalo quickly remedied that with new CD’s sent out immediately.

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The Kings Clothes –
Buffalo is one of the few hardware manufacturers that both home network owners and IT department staff appreciate because all their hardware shares a relatively common standard look. Basically, it all matches. But not only that it shares a family style, Buffalo we think goes a step further in wise “use ergonomics”.
          
     Front and Back of the WHR3-G54 AirStation 125 Router

The AirStation s in recent years have incorporated a well-designed internal antenna with a hidden external antenna port for commercial or home use where a higher db gain antenna is required. The enclosure is primarily designed to stand vertically to utilize less shelf-top space and the indicator lights are large, easy to diagnose from at a distance, yet not too bright or too dim as we see as a lot of other AP’s or Wireless Routers.
        

Even the 32-bit CardBus WLI-CB-G54S 802.11g 125 PC Card we tested, is thoughtfully engineered with dual LED’s to indicate power and activity, and it also sports a rare in today’s market external antenna port. This card also supports WPA (TKIP, AES), 64/128-bit WEP and 802.1x support, and to compliment the AirStation, AOSS support.


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