Edimax’s BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router offers plenty of features but it falls short when it comes to range and speed.
The BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router boasts most of the features you would expect from a mid-range 802.11 draft n device. It provides five Gigabit Ethernet ports — one for connection to a modem and the other four for computers — and three detachable antennas that can be swapped out for higher sensitivity ones. Unlike D-Link’s DIR-855 Xtreme N Duo Media Router, the router doesn’t provide a status LCD or the ability to transmit over 5GHz bands, but the 2.4GHz band should suffice for most users, provided the area isn’t prone to heavy radio interference.
Setting up the BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router is extremely simple thanks to a software wizard that guides the user through each step. The wizard leads users through Wi-Fi configuration, allowing them to choose a custom Station ID (ESSID) and security options. The only downside is that it must be done over a LAN connection rather than Wi-Fi.
Remote administration is supported through a Web-based interface, but it may require a slight learning curve. Unlike most interfaces, which compile related settings into single pages, the BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router’s settings are segregated into very specific areas; this increases the time it takes to reach a particular setting.
The increasingly common (and often annoying) Wi-Fi Protected Setup system is incorporated into the BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router to allow a secure connection when initially connecting a wireless device to the network. Edimax offers both WPS methods: you can use an 8-digit PIN code or the push button method, providing the USB Wi-Fi adapter or laptop supports it. The router supports WEP, WPA, WPA2-AES and WPA RADIUS encryption.
The BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router is not the fastest wireless router available, but it achieved some respectable data transfer rates. We tested the router’s speed by transferring a 5GB file from a PC connected via Gigabit Ethernet to a laptop at both close and long range. At close range, the BR-6574n nMax Wireless Gigabit Router managed an average throughput speed of 6.25 megabytes per second, falling behind Linksys’ WRT610N but still providing enough bandwidth for large file transfers and demanding media streaming. At a range of 15m with two brick walls between the laptop and the router the speed dropped by more than half to 2.93MBps.
The router fell slightly short of our expectations when it came to range. Beyond the 15m point, the wireless signal became extremely weak and file transfers failed. This is not uncommon for draft-n routers that run at 2.4GHz.