Buffalo Airstation 11ac WZR 1750DHP review

Buffalo Airstation 11ac WZR 1750DHP

Routers are little more than boring plastic boxes containing chips and antennae, so manufacturers usually try all sort of things to make their product look more appealing. With the WZR-1750 DHP, Buffalo created a simple unfussy design with a smooth rubbery finish, the same in fact as we saw on the world's first 11ac router, the Buffalo AirStation 1750 last year. See Group test: what's the best wireless router?

This contrasts with a lighter shade of metallic grey that runs around the router's edge, giving a lovely two-tone appearance. Switch the router on and the Buffalo logo glows a bright shade of red, then white once it's ready. See all Wi-Fi and networking reviews.

The power supply is external, like most routers, but instead of a single unit that plugs into the wall, it's a cable and a separate brick, which does mean more cabling to hide away.

Software design is easy to get wrong but thankfully Buffalo is on the right side of the line with most of its interface decisions. The home screen, decked also in two-tone grey, provides buttons linking to most of the important settings, with a single screen for Advanced settings.

One unusual feature for a router is a built-in Bittorrent client. Connect a USB drive, and you can add torrent files for the router to manage, so you don't have to leave your PC turned on. This is especially useful if you use tracker sites that require you to continue uploading to maintain a ratio.

In 2012, Buffalo's previous Airstation 11ac WZR-1800 DHP was the first 802.11ac router we tested. We found its performance to be slightly disappointing. The story is unfortunately similar this time.??While short range 802.11n performance was a not-terrible 111 Mb/s, at longer range it dropped to 65 Mb/s in our 10m setup.

But it's 802.11ac on 5 GHz where we saw erratic results under test. We measured 500 Mb/s on our first test, but this quickly dropped to 350 Mb/s and then continued to provide odd results. The final average was 390 Mb/s, which is far from the best speed we've seen.??At 10m range, 11ac throughput dropped further to just 85 Mb/s. We spoke to a Buffalo engineer who explained that beamforming is not yet implemented in with its implementation of the draft 802.11ac specification. However we were assured that it would show up in a future firmware update.

Buffalo Airstation 11ac WZR 1750DHP: Specs

  • Model: "Airstation Extreme AC1750 "
  • Product code: WZR-1750 DHP
  • Wireless protocols: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Radio bands: 2.4 & 5 GHz, simultaneous
  • Processor: Broadcom BCM4708
  • Chipset: Broadcom BCM4331 & BCM4360
  • WAN port: 1xgigabit
  • LAN port: 4xgigabit
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 1x USB 3.0
  • Other: Norton Connect Firewall, Torrent client
  • Dimensions (whd): 183 x 34 x 212mm
  • Model: "Airstation Extreme AC1750 "
  • Product code: WZR-1750 DHP
  • Wireless protocols: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Radio bands: 2.4 & 5 GHz, simultaneous
  • Processor: Broadcom BCM4708
  • Chipset: Broadcom BCM4331 & BCM4360
  • WAN port: 1xgigabit
  • LAN port: 4xgigabit
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 1x USB 3.0
  • Other: Norton Connect Firewall, Torrent client
  • Dimensions (whd): 183 x 34 x 212mm

OUR VERDICT

We were disappointed with the performance of the WZR-1750DHP in its current form, since it's otherwise a great router, with some excellent software tools not found on many other products. Buffalo has promised future fixes and firmware updates so we hope performance will improve soon.

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