Buffalo AirStation AC1750
Let’s clear one thing up before we begin: the Buffalo AirStation AC1750 isn’t really what you would call easy to use.
It has a lot of cool features and some excellent hardware, but – while the web interface itself is good – the mobile management tools are less so, and some of the more advanced features are a bit obtuse to work with.
This is still an excellent wireless router, one of the best available, but it’s not for everyone; you need to be fairly technically adept in order to make any use of it.
Usability is an important aspect of any router, and it’s the respect in which the AC1750 fares worst.
If this opening hasn’t scared you off, though, there’s a lot to like here; let’s take a look.
Buffalo AirStation AC1750 – Hardware
The AC1750 designation is currently attached to the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP, and it’s a formidable piece of equipment indeed.
The Broadcom SoC that powers it includes a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked at 800MHz on top of the excellent switch and wireless chipset; this works with the 512MB of RAM and the 128MB of onboard Flash memory to produce a powerful, reliable platform.
The CPU is the high point here, allowing the WZR-1750DHP to take on sizable workloads without breaking a sweat; it’s one of the most powerful options available for a consumer-level wireless router.
Wireless throughput is fantastic
You can easily get a stable signal of over 120Mbps on the 5GHz band, in 802.11ac mode, and the numbers available if you’re willing to work a bit to optimize things are almost comical.
It’s not the fastest 802.11ac router on the market, but it’s pretty high up there. 2.4GHz performance is, of course, not as high as that on the 5GHz band, but it’s still fairly considerable, too; don’t worry about speed issues when using pre-802.11ac devices.
Wired performance, as it is with any good, reasonably high-end router, is excellent; the five gigabit Ethernet ports consistently render speeds of at least 900Mbps, and there’s no slowdown even when the network is being heavily taxed as a result of the hardware power available.
Buffalo AirStation AC1750 – Software
Let’s start with the good things first. Buffalo’s stock firmware is very stable, and doesn’t make for a significant performance bottleneck.
The QoS tools are very in-depth, and work well.
You can set up scheduling, VPN passthrough, or port forwarding with some very nice tools, and the parental controls are surprisingly granular.
You can set up filtering schemes for particular devices on your network if you like; it’s a great solution to the issues that prevent parental controls from being common on more home networks.
You can easily set an external hard drive connected to one of the two USB ports as a NAS or media server and put it to use, just as on most of the competition.
This is all tied into a nice tile-based interface that makes everything very accessible.
The problem is remote acces
Buffalo has a smartphone-friendly interface, yes, but it’s only normally available to a smartphone that’s actually connected to the network; there’s really no cloud interface available.
That’s definitely secure, but it means that you have to setup port forwarding to make your router accessible over the Internet to actually make use of it when out and about, and you have to take the additional steps to secure it when it’s wide open to traffic from the outside world.
This is effectively useless to anyone that’s not confident in their ability to secure a router under those circumstances; when remote access tools have become so standard among higher-end routers, this is a real problem.
There are cloud tools for access to your attached hard drives, but they’re of dubious usefulness; you still need to configure port forwarding by hand in order to make those accessible.
The Buffalo AirStation AC1750 remote access issues are substantial, but it’s still a stellar device.
The hardware itself is excellent…
… and the software side of things looks good until you hit that one major black spot.
At retail prices in the vicinity of $150, this router is well worth your while if you don’t need the remote access features,
or if you’re capable of configuring them to make them useful; apart from those problems, it’s a top-notch option.