MediaLink Router Review 2015
– 802.11n has seen enough widespread adoption that it’s become a feature expected of lower-end routers as much as high-end ones.
Let’s be clear – MediaLink is bringing a budget offering to the table today, with the MediaLink MWN-WAPR150N
Whatever its other pros and cons, it’s expected that this router’s greatest selling point will be the fact that it provides Wireless N networking for $40 to $50, depending on the retailer.
How well does it perform for that price point, though? It’s not expected that a router like this will compete with more expensive models on every metric
– but let’s find out whether or not this is what you want from an entry-level WiFi router.
MediaLink – Wireless N Router: Performance
Let’s start by covering bandwidth. MediaLink is offering 150Mbps via WiFi, with 100Mbps over the Ethernet ports.
These aren’t impressive figures, but they’re adequate for everyday use; if you’re moving a lot of big media files back and forth between machines on your network…
…you’ll definitely notice the loss of speed, but you’ve got plenty of bandwidth for Internet browsing.
Speeds are rock-stable, which is nice; you’re always getting the signal you’re promised on the box.
It’s definitely an 802.11n implementation, but don’t expect the lightning-fast speeds that higher-end routers can provide.
Lack of gigabit Ethernet is an annoyance due to just how common the feature is, but, realistically, it’s the same situation; it matters if you intend to move a lot of large files around on your network,
but if you just want Internet access you’ll be fine.
Range is another matter
It’s average at best, and in a sufficiently large home that issue can render the wireless connection decidedly less stable.
It’s still perfectly usable, though, as long as you don’t intend to use the router in a multi-story home;
you’ll only really start to encounter trouble once you’re trying to get the signal to penetrate several layers of walls.
MediaLink – Wireless N Broadband Router: Features
The MediaLink MWN-WAPR150N isn’t incredibly feature-rich,
but it’s not completely bare-bones. Still, most of the feature set is pretty standard. There’s an easy setup wizard; it works well enough.
The web interface is reasonably user-friendly, and supports all of the standard security schemes. WPS is present and accounted for.
Still, don’t expect any advanced security or QoS features; this router is clearly designed for relative novices.
You can’t install any aftermarket firmware, either – for the technically inclined,
you can often get quite a bit of mileage out of a relatively cheap router by installing something like DD-WRT, but this particular model is not well suited to that.
It does what you expect it to; no more, no less.
The MediaLink MWN-WAPR150N is very basic, but it’s a good router. It’s not high-performance, and it’s not particularly feature-rich,
but it provides you with very stable networking and modern security features at an affordable price.
If you’re worried about your budget and all you need are the essentials,
it’s a great pick; if you have cash to spare or your needs are more specific, you can do better.