Buffalo WBMR-HP-G300N

Some time ago I have moved from my ancient arthritic ZyXEL Prestige ADSL modem to a shiny new Buffalo WBMR-HP-G300N wireless ADSL modem/router.

I am very happy with ADSL part: it has worked out of the box, and there is really nothing no complain about, as it is clearly light-years better than my old crap was. The same goes to its wireless part – got my XBOX, laptop, tablet and phones on-line in matter of minutes.

But… (here goes the famous “but”) … I cannot say that I am so excited about its other features, namely NAS, DLNA streaming a.k.a. Media Server, and BitTorrent.

First of all, NAS supports only FAT, FAT32, and XFS as file systems. We are in the age of 2-3 TB hard-disks, so FAT and FAT32 suck badly. XFS? What the fuck is this fuck? And who gives? So, this was my first disappointment, as my Buffalo USB3 hard-disk had NTFS and a lot of absolutely needed files, but there is no fool-proof data preserving way of converting NTFS to FAT32. It took me two days, and a lot of swearing, to get it to FAT32. The process involved copying files around for backup, formatting the disk to FAT32 (using Acronis tools, as Windows will not format 2 TB FAT32 partitions on its own), copying files back, etc. The speed of NAS is also abysmal – barely getting 5 MB/s on large files on the wired 1 Gbps Ethernet.

The second disappointment came when I have switched the Media Server feature on, but it did not appear on network. Buffalo’s documentation sucks big time – it is simply a collection of screenshots of the router’s web console, and some text repeating what pictures say. In 90% of cases the explanation says something obvious, but useless. For example, if there is a check-box saying “Feature XYZ Enabled” the documentation will say “Check to enable feature XYZ“, but there will be no further explanation regarding consequences and prerequisites. Kind of “try and see“. There is really no troubleshooting information on the internet either, neither on Buffalo site/forums, not in the wild. Wasted something like 6 hours trying to get the damn thing working, until finally I got an enlightenment, that the problem might be in the media itself, namely its quantity – I have something like 25,000 photos, and then some music and movies. Quick trial, and I got my movies served. So, now my media server is getting not the whole harddisk for himself, but only its Movies folder.

And, BitTorrent function just went into the same basket – that shit works only and only if the harddisk’s file system is XFS!!! :)

Good job Buffalo!

Overall, I can recommend this modem for its basic functionality, but then again, taking into account how crappy its advanced features are, there are much cheaper modems without these functions. Rating – 3 out of  5.

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