Buffalo Tech returns to the router game, updates NAS lineup

Several weeks ago, I posted about a court decision that lifted the ban on Buffalo Technology selling its routers and access points in the U.S.

Several weeks ago, I posted about a court decision that lifted the ban on Buffalo Technology selling its routers and access points in the U.S., which it had done for many years. No doubt expecting victory for some time now, the company was ready within a month to tout its new Wi-Fi lineup, which I got a chance to see a couple of weeks ago in a Vegas hotel suite.

Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH router
Buffalo is introducing three new routers, as well as a hat trick of network adapters. Two of the routers are based on the Draft N spec, with the $99.99 Wireless-N Nfiniti High Power Router & Access Point (WZR-HP-G300NH; pictured) at the higher end and the $79.99 Wireless-N Nfiniti Router & Access Point (WHR-G300N) priced for more value-oriented consumers. The biggest differences between the two are that the WZR-HP-G300NH comes with USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports, adjustable antennae, and a quality-of-service (QoS) mode that prioritizes multimedia content streaming over the network. For price-conscious consumers that don't want to make the step up to 802.11n, Buffalo is also offering a 802.11g router in the form of the $59.99 Wireless-G High Speed Router & Access Point (WHR-HP-G54). One thing Buffalo is not offering is a dual-band N router like D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear have. According to the Buffalo rep I spoke with, the company's thinking is that the high-end ($100+) router market is too small for it to worry about for the moment.

Of course, Buffalo is releasing USB-based network adapters to go along with the new routers, though it isn't offering a 802.11g one to go along with the WHR-HP-G54. Instead, it's offering the $79.99 Wireless-N High Power Compact USB 2.0 Adapter (WLI-UC-G300HP) and $69.99 Wireless-N Compact USB 2.0 Adapter (WLI-UC-G300N); the primary difference is the pricier unit comes with a flip-out antenna. If size matters, Buffalo is offering the teeny-tiny Wireless-N Ultra Compact USB 2.0 Adapter (WLI-UC-GN; pictured) for $59.99 It measures just 0.6x1.6x0.2 inches.

Buffalo TeraStation III
While Buffalo will need to play catch-up in the router space, it's already a market leader in network attached storage. It looks to build on that success with several new NAS devices, and it's even trying to reduce confusion over its business and consumer lines by labeling the former TeraStations and the latter LinkStations, and not mingling consumer TeraStations and pro-level LinkStations as has happened in the past. The new TeraStation Duo is the first TeraStation to support just two drives, and it comes in 1TB (the $319.99 TS-W1.0L/R1) and 2TB (the $399.99 TS-W2.0L/R1) flavors. There's also the TeraStation III (pictured), which can handle four drives, and comes in the $1,299.99 2TB TS-X2.0TL/R5 and the $2,299.99 4GB 4TB TS-X4.0TL/R5. Both new TeraStations support RAID Level 0 and 1 configurations, hot-swappable drives, and Mac OS X's Time Machine feature, sport a pair of USB ports with printer server capabilities, and can work as a DLNA media server. They also have power-saving features like a scheduler that can automatically shut down the device during off hours. With room for more drives, the TeraStation III also offers RAID Level 5 support.

Buffalo LinkStation Pro
On the consumer side, the new LinkStation Pro has a sleek look and competitive pricing: $209.99 for the 500GB LS-XH500L and $299.99 for the 1TB LS-XH1.0TL. While it has many of the features you see in competing NAS drives—a pair of USB ports, DLNA server support, Web access to your files— it stands out with an iPhone app that lets you access those files on your phone, including streaming media content. The one-year warranty's a little on the thin side, however. I hope to take a look at one when they become available soon, so stay tuned.