It’s not often that I’m compelled to write something about a product that I’ve bought unless it’s really impressed me. I mean REALLY impressed me.
This is, however, the case with the Tenda W548D Wirelsss ADSL router I purchased (with my eBucks nogal) from Incredible Connection after I lost my third Linksys Router to lightning in the last four months.
It’s an expensive exercise replacing modems, especially because there’s zero price differentiation in the market for wireless SOHO ADSL routers and you really can’t pick up a decent router for less than R800.
I know what you’re thinking – why the hell didn’t you get a lightning protector. I did, and it cost me a fortune, but when I had the ADSL line plugged into it, my [already pathetic] 384kbps line dragged to a standstill. I’m talking throughputs of 5kbps. Silly.
But it wasn’t until my last Linksys Router was smote by the Almighty in a storm of epic proportions that I had enough. What the hell am I supposed to do, short of unplugging my modem every time it’s not in use just in case it gets fried again.
A follower of mine on Twitter – @RSAChiro – suggested I look into Tenda because the routers being sold at Incredible Connection come with built-in lightning protection. He also said they’re cheap and for home use they’re ideal.
So I managed to track down stock at the Incredible Connection store in Woodmead, which had stock of the wired and wireless versions of the routers. At R299 and R399 respectively, they are dirt cheap compared to everything else on Incredible Connection’s shelves (the next cheapest ADSL router I could find was over R1,400 and overkill for my needs at home).
I bought the Wireless Tenda router, took it home, plugged it in and inserted the setup disc into my PC’s DVD drive.
Some context before I carry on: Tenda is a Chinese company operating out of Shenzen. They have a large portfolio of wired and wireless networking products and are a relatively young company – having set up shop in 1999. Their products are locally distributed through Duxbury Networking.
Being a good Chinese company, they hired only the best Chinese translators to convert their manuals and installation apps into
Engrish English, which is only too clear when you read the box, and accompanying reading material.
The box includes the modem, a power cable and a telephone cable but strangely lacks an Ethernet cable. Luckily I had a few left over from the last few Linksys modems I purchased.
The Tenda router is dead simple to set up and secure and I literally had the router up and running and secured with WPA2 in less than 10 minutes. I’d say that someone with an intermediate level of tech knowledge could set this up without a hitch. Once I had the wireless enabled, I cranked the broadcast strength up from the default 30% to 100% and I had relatively good b/g coverage across my whole house, which is MILES better than the R999 Linksys and about the same as the R799 Billion modem I had before.
There’s a list of tech specs that I’m sure will impress networking nerds, but this review is really aimed at home users and small businesses so I won’t go into heavy tech details. But take it from me, it’s secure enough, supports up to 12 users and ADSL2, has 4 Ethernet ports, supports 802.11b/g, claims to be “lightning proof” and provides ample wireless coverage for indoor use so it’s a very good option for home and small business users.
My only reservation is that the Tenda W548D is an older discontinued product. BUT, at the price, and the fact that they carry a 12-month warranty, you cannot deny that the Tenda Routers really are great value for money either way, especially for home use.
Tenda 54Mbps Wireless ADSL Router
Available from: Incredible Connection
Verdict: Very good value for money and dead easy to use. Surprisingly impressed.