Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti Wireless-N Router/Access Point
At a Glance
The Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti has some unique features, such as an external switch that toggles between router and access-point modes; Buffalo's AOSS one-touch encryption setup for easy Buffalo client-card connections; and an upright-oriented antenna cluster. But it also lacks important specs we've come to expect in a high-end router, such as WPA2 encryption support (though Buffalo said it planned to make this available via a firmware update that it expected to post by the time you read this).
In addition, the AirStation is the only router of the group we tested for our October issue's roundup that is missing Dynamic DNS support, which allows cable and DSL customers who don't have fixed IP addresses--the vast majority--to host Web sites or mail servers. Also absent are WPA Enterprise or Radius support, putting the AirStation at the bottom of the features heap in this group.
Designwise, the antenna cluster means you can use the Nfiniti only in an upright position, and you get no wall-mount option. With this model we had the same problem as with the Netgear RangeMax Next, as our many ethernet cables toppled the router (although this happened less frequently with the Buffalo product since it weighs more than the Netgear).
In performance, the Buffalo was in the closely bunched bottom group of draft-n models, which all suffered on our long-range tests. But our biggest issue with the Buffalo was with its Web configuration tool, which was decidedly subpar. Explanations in the pop-up help on each page weren't very helpful, and the poor graphics and confusing division of functions into Basic and Advanced pages just made things difficult to find, even when we knew what we were looking for.
Another annoyance is the wireless-card utility, which cannot distinguish between encryption types, so you have to know what type of encryption the network is using and select it from the menu before entering your key (unless you use the AOSS system, of course).