The quality of your internet connection depends on many factors including the distance from your house to the closest telephone exchange or roadside cabinet and the number of customers subscribed to that exchange or cabinet.
Paul Urquhart | Tuesday, April 27 2010
Product type: ADSL2+ modem router
RRP incl GST: $180
Good all-round wireless modem router delivering on performance, features and price.
The quality of your internet connection depends on many factors including the distance from your house to the closest telephone exchange or roadside cabinet and the number of customers subscribed to that exchange or cabinet. Then there is the type of technology used in the exchange or cabinet, the quality of the wiring in your house, and last – but certainly not least – the hardware you use to connect to your ISP’s service.
The TD-W8960N Wireless-N ADSL2+ Modem Router from Chinese networking giant TP-Link is designed to be the final piece in this puzzle by providing ADSL2+ connectivity to your home network via four 10/100Mbits/s Ethernet ports plus high-power Wireless-N (otherwise known as IEEE networking standard 802.11n).
All the common security standards are supported by the TD-W8960N such as WPA2, SSID and WEP. It also has a “Quick Secure Setup” (QSS) button on the front, the same as featured on the TP-Link TL-WR941ND Wireless Router reviewed in last month’s PC World. This feature makes secure integration into an existing home network as easy as pushing a button.
Also featured in this modem router are dual active firewalls (SPI and NAT) to help protect your network from internet attacks, presuming you’re savvy enough to set this up, plus it also has IPSec Virtual Private Network (VPN) functionality. This enables you to connect to the TD-W8960N from any computer on the internet (username and password protected of course) to securely access and exchange data from any computer connected to the modem router via encrypted “tunnels”.
Setting up the TD-W8960N involves attaching the two antennas to the rear of the unit (which provide a maximum wireless transmit power of 19dBm), hooking it up to a PC via an Ethernet cable for initial setup, then powering it up and following the installation instructions on the setup CD.
I had a few “umm…” moments when setting the device up as it asks for a few more details than my Thomson TG585 wireless router did, but overall I thought the installation and configuration process was simple and straightforward, despite it asking me scary questions like what sort of encapsulation protocol I preferred (a quick call to my ISP’s helpdesk helped me get through this quite painlessly).
Once it was up and running, I was blown away by the fact that my maximum download speeds jumped from 12Mbits/s to 16Mbits/s, which was totally unexpected. Connection stability was also rock solid, with 0% packet loss on 3 consecutive pingtest.net tests, and less than 1% loss after sending 1,000 packets to my ISP.
Signal strength was another bonus – my old Wireless-G network was good for about 15 metres with a few walls in the way, but the TD-W8960N coupled with a Wireless-N access point kept on chugging up to about 30 metres. Now half my street can attempt to hack into my wireless internet connection.
The TP-Link TD-W8960N can be had for under $150, and for that price I think it is a great wireless modem router with solid performance and excellent features.
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