Replace your router on the cheap
The box contained all we needed to get going, with the network cable, a microfilter for the telephone socket, the router itself, a large wireless aerial that screws onto the back of the router and a power supply.
A CD and a quick-start guide are supplied. The guide was a bit hard to understand, using quite technical language. Luckily, the CD had an easier-to-follow guided setup with pictures of how the router should look and what all the lights on the front mean.
Most people's ISPs nowadays supply them with routers so this is really a replacement. That being the case, you will need to check with your ISP whether they allow other people's routers to be used (some, such as Sky, don't).
You will also need to check with your ISP what settings you will need to type into the router, and you will need to have a written or printed copy of these to hand as your internet connection won't be available until they are correct. We tried it with Be Internet, which supplies a handy guide, but this won't work for other ISPs and not all provide the settings so clearly.
The software on the CD hadn't all been translated properly into English but there were only a couple of minor errors. Cleverly, it set up a wireless network and prompted us to set up security on it. It even generated a good password and saved it in a text file on the computer's desktop. However, setup was not entirely smooth.
The supplied settings did not work, and though the diagnostic tool on the router (accessed through a web browser, details of which are in the quick-start guide) was useful it took us some time to get it working. On a standard connection where all you need enter are your account details, it worked flawlessly, however.
The router looks a bit old-fashioned but it was small and compact, and the lights on the front were easy to understand. Besides, most people will leave it sitting in a corner and not have to look at it again.
After applying the settings the software explained the function of the green button on the router's front panel, marked QSS. This is for easier wireless setup using a technology called Wifi Protected Setup (WPS) – if you have a device that supports WPS you only need press the WPS buttons on that and the router and they will automatically be securely connected. Unfortunately few devices are yet WPS-compatible.
At under £30 the TD-W8950ND may not be a great looker but it is an impressive piece of kit, which works well and is easy to use.
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Unimpressive design, but a good replacement router for a good price
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