Diamond Multimedia Wireless Range Extender and Router WR300NR (Review)
Diamond Multimedia offers a variety of wireless devices to extend your wireless networks, provide additional security to your wireless users, and to provide some advanced home networking features at a very low cost. The WR300NR (NR) is a sophisticated but inexpensive 4-in-1 wireless networking device. It can act as a router (default), a bridge, a wireless access point (hotspot), and a range extender. You can check out my review of a similar 3-in-1 product (range extender, bridge, wireless access point) from Diamond Multimedia–the WR300NSI Wireless Range Extender for comparison.
This review is not a comparison of the two products but rather a focus on the WR300NR’s router capability, which generally sets it apart from the WR300NSI.
The NR provides you with an extra layer of security as a router that you really need when using public Internet connections such as those in hotel rooms. You can read elsewhere about how non-secure public WiFi hotspots are. The NR protects you by adding a barrier or Firewall between you and the outside world.
To start, plug in the device into any standard electric socket. Use the included RJ-45 network cable to plug into the LAN side of the device and the other end into the network card (NIC) in your laptop or desktop computer.
Restart the computer that’s connected to the NR or disable/enable the NIC to refresh its connection so that the NR supplies your computer with an IP address.
Open your favorite Internet browser application (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and point it to http://192.168.10.253.
When prompted, enter admin for the username and admin for the password.
The initial screen opens for you. Note the navigation area on the left side of the screen. See Figure 1 for reference.
Use the included instruction booklet and the Wizard selection from the web page’s navigation menu to setup your NR. Router is the default setting. Click NEXT to continue.
If you’re setting up the NR to be your Internet gateway, then you’ll need to refer to your Internet provider’s documentation to tell you what kind of connection you have so that you can set your NR’s router mode: Fixed or Static IP Address, Dynamically assigned IP Address (DHCP), or an ADSL dialup (PPoE).
You can also setup your SSID, channel (Auto is fine), and security mode (Disabled, WPA, WPA2, or WPA/WPA2 mixed). I suggest WPA2.
NOTE: Do NOT leave your router in Disabled mode (default). Always use security on your home network so that passersby, neighbors, and criminals can’t piggyback onto your connection and potentially get you into trouble by downloading or uploading illegal files or participating in other illegal behavior at your expense.
That’s all there is to it. Basically one step with a few subparts. Click SAVE & REBOOT to save your settings and reboot the device.
For advanced users, there are many tweaks and settings to alter. You can configure the Firewall to meet your needs, change the Wireless settings, and edit just about every possible parameter.
Don’t worry about messing up or configuring yourself out of the device completely, since you can always reset the device to factory defaults by pressing the RESET button with an ink pen located on one side of the NR. Remember that if you do this, all of your changes will be gone. You will also have to reconnect to the device as described above by pointing your browser to http://192.168.10.253 and using username admin and password admin to return to the configuration screen.
Also, you’ll want to change the username and password for your router from the default. You don’t want to leave it as admin/admin. To change the username and password, click Management in the navigation pane. Why do this? Because if someone attempts to hack into your network, the first username and password combination he’ll try is admin/admin.
Remember to change the username and password if you travel and have to reset the NR. For $40, you could always buy two: One for home and one for travel.
The NR is a very capable router and firewall. For the money, it might be the best I’ve seen. There are many devices in this group from which to choose but none as small (2.9 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches), as feature-filled, or as competitively priced as the WR300NR.
Why it’s frugal: You could spend more for a larger device with the same or similar features and pay a lot (2-3X) more but why would you when the NR has everything you need? For $40 and free shipping from Amazon (For Prime members), it doesn’t make sense to buy anything else.
Recommendation: Buy it. Use it at home and take it with you on the road.