The latest 802.11n router from Edimax - the Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router - is a glossy white affair that boasts the usual sexed-up Draft N bandwidth claim of 300Mbps (even though devices can connect to it at 270Mbps and no more).
This claim, if true, is still somewhat moot as the Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router has four 100Mbps ethernet ports, making it academic how fast the wireless is if wired networking is slower.
The Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router uses the standard Mimo (multiple input, multiple output) triumvirate of white antennae, although using the supplied vertical stand does make these clash with the network ports and cables.
Arguably the most interesting feature of the Edimax BR-6504n 802.11n router is that it complies with Draft 2.0 of the proposed Wi-Fi standard. By itself this doesn't mean performance enhancements per se, but it does mean that such devices are now certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance to be interoperable, something that didn't apply to the initial 'Draft N' devices we've looked at.
It also means that, come the big day, you should be able to flash all Draft 2.0 devices to make them compliant with the final standard. Such devices should ideally carry a Wi-Fi Certified Draft N logo – the Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router sample we had, however, lacked this.
The Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router's web front-end is a bit of a let-down, certainly compared to the detailed, business-like UI of the Billion router we looked at recently. The Edimax BR-6504n does have a quick-setup wizard, but this is somewhat limited and doesn't set up the Wi-Fi.
The Edimax BR-6504n Wi-Fi router does support WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), used to automatically transmit configuration settings to a client. However, manually connecting to a network and typing in the encryption key once is no great burden.
Previous Draft N routers delivered fairly humdrum performance, often finishing only a nose in front of the best Mimo 54g devices, so we were pleasantly surprised by the results we obtained from the Edimax BR-6504n. Using Ixia QCheck software we obtained some interesting peak figures. Close to the router (eg, the same room), we obtained 74Mbps of bandwidth, which is very good indeed.
Moving to an adjacent room saw peak throughput drop to 33Mbps and to 20Mbps in the most distant room in our house. Not stellar results on the face of it but actually a whole lot better than 54g, which drops to about 1 or 2Mbps, and still ahead of most of the Draft N devices we've looked at.