Strayed

The pair of ultra low budget Wireless N routers that I got a HotUKDeal on have arrived from Ebuyer. The model number is a little different from what Ebuyer advertise (N-150 / W311R+). Unboxing photos are below (and apologies for the quality, had to take them on my iPhone as I’ve had a “lost charger” incident with my main camera).

Read on after the photos for all the fun of set-up, settings, and some iPhone troubleshooting!

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First Impressions

Initial impressions on just how the routers look and are packaged – they certainly don’t look or feel like sub £15 routers, and the feature list on the box seems to contain everything that I need them to do.

Setup

Just to go over what I’ve set out to do here. I purchased 2 of these, one to act as a router should and the other to work behind the TV as a Wireless Bridge so I can connect the XBOX, Slingbox etc via smallish sized Ethernet cables, eliminating the current 3×15 meter purple cables that run around my living room, as well as to take advantage of the faster wireless speed.

BASIC INITIAL SETUP setupscreen

Firstly I set up the initial main router (which I shall be referring to as Router 1 in the rest of this post) by connecting it to my Virgin Media 20mb cable modem in the blue ‘WAN’ socket, and my main desktop PC to one of the LAN sockets. Then I rebooted the modem!

In the configuration page at http://192.168.0.1 the set up Wizard appears, this needed to be told what type of connection you have, mine is a Dynamic IP (via DHCP), though the Auto Detect feature works if you’re not sure!

This worked fine, and the desktop was connected via Ethernet without a hitch. A quick security note – change the default password for the router, which is set default to the easily guessable admin, via the System Tools > Change Password menu.

Next, Wireless Configuration. Set the Network Mode to Wireless b/g/n mixed mode – to enable the IEEE802.11n compatibility.

Changed the WiFi channel to a less crowded channel (Channel 7 & 11 for the Extension Channel in my case) and of course the all important security section. I wanted the best compatibility with my equipment so I opted for Mixed WPA/WAP2 Personal with TKIP&AES Algorithms, and changed the pass phrase to something better than ChngMePls.

Next, I went to the Laptop which which has Wireless N capability, and after a bit of tweaking (which I will post about soon) I managed to connect at 150Mbps. The signal seems solid, 5 bars. Looking at the status page of the connection it does occasionally drop in between 60-120Mbps, but this is most likely down to the absolutely awful positioning of my laptop when it’s docked.

SETTING UP THE WIRELESS BRIDGE

Here is a step by step guide to setting up a second Tenda W311R+ router (in this case Router 2) to be a wireless bridge or repeater. Please note this took a good few hours work, as the instructions provided where a little vague. [Note, the Firmware on both routers has been updated to the latest available on the Tenda website.] In my case Router 2 was connected via Ethernet to another computer during this setup process.

- Update Router 1 & Router 2 with the latest available firmware.

- On Router 2 set up basic security settings (router password/wireless pass phrase)

- On Router 2 click on Advanced Settings > LAN settings and change the IP address to 192.168.0.2 (this will enable access to both router admin pages after setup is complete)

lazymode – On Router 1 access the WLAN settings > WDS settings. Change WDS mode to Lazy Mode, Encrypt Type to TKIP and enter a Pass Phrase (in my case I used the same password as my Wifi password)

- On Router 2 enter the WLAN settings > Basic Settings AND WLAN  settings > Security Settings and duplicate the same settings as Router 1, especially making sure the router channels match.

- On Router 2 go to WLAN settings > WDS settings and choose Bridge Mode (Repeater Mode also works with this method as I use it in the troubleshooting section below)

- Enter the correct Encrypt Type as Router 1 – in this case TKIP and enter the Pass Phrase that you created. In this mode you will also see an AP MAC field – In here you need to enter the MAC address of Router 1, this can be obtained by pressing the Open Scan button and selecting Router 1’s Wifi signal. (See Image Below)

MARVEL AT MY PAINT SKILLS!

-Apply the settings, and this should get the two routers talking to each other. To confirm try to access http://192.168.0.1 and http://192.168.0.2 from the same system. If you are having trouble try rebooting both routers, ensure you have entered the same settings (wifi channel/passphrase) and try again.

dhcp- IMPORTANT FINAL STEP! – On Router 2 go to DHCP Server > DHCP Server and uncheck Enable – you want Router 1 to handle all of the DHCP requests.

This should enable you to connect via an Ethernet cable using the 4 yellow LAN ports (don’t use the blue WAN one!) any devices to your network. You can also use this setup method to set the router up as a wireless extender (And still use the wired ports if required) by selecting Repeater Mode.

Troubleshooting/Notes

The first major issue that I came across is that initially I wasn’t getting anywhere near Wireless N speeds on my laptop as expected, after a bit of research I came up with the solution, which involved changing the settings of my laptops network adapter (not a problem with the router, so I will set up another post about how I fixed this).

The second problem is this: WHEN YOU HAVE WIRELESS N ENABLED, THIS ROUTER DOES NOT GET ON WELL WITH THE IPHONE! UPDATE: EVEN WITH THE FIX BELOW! In fact you could say they have a massive argument.

To point out this seems to be a problem with the iPhone rather than the router itself – there seems to be massive amounts of evidence on the internet about the iPhone not getting on with Wireless N routers – I’ve tried various settings, channels, resets and not had any luck getting the iPhone to connect to a mixed b/g/n signal without getting constant drop outs, slow speeds, disconnections (all on the iPhone itself – no other device is affected) I’m not entirely sure on the specifics of why, but it just doesn’t work well.

Now the most simple fix that pops up on the net is to set the Network Mode in the WIFI settings page to 11b/g mixed mode eliminating the n part, but as this was one of the selling points to me I thought of another way:

Set up “Router 2” as a Wireless repeater, but make the repeating signal a ‘11b/g mixed’ signal, just for my iPhone. This was very simple to do (after about a day of thinking to actually come up with it.) On Router 2 enter a different SSID to Router 1 (in my case my Router 1’s signal is called “WirelessN” and router 2 is “WirelessG”) and change the mode to 11b/g mixed mode. Then in the WDS settings change from Bridge mode to Repeater mode: Everything still works (wireless bridge wise) but I now have 2 signals, one which my iPhone connects to and works flawlessly  (UPDATE: better with) and the other providing everything else with N speed capability.

Conclusion

So after some teething trouble I’m extremely happy with the options, look and great performance of the Tenda N-150 / W311R+. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch though it might be worth it to drop the ‘n’ part of the signal as it seems to cause performance issues. However, I can’t see anything getting anywhere near this  for the £11.99 that I originally paid, so I’m extremely happy with the purchase. If anyone is in need of assistance, or has any other questions about this model then ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

UPDATE: After using the router for a good few months I am still having a few issues with the iPhone, even after dropping the N signal. Admittedly i’ve been using 3G a lot since the initial writing of this review, so haven’t really noticed it. However after a few reports of problems even after disabling ‘N’ I’ve turned WiFi back on the iPhone and it appears still to have the occasional issue with web pages not loading in Safari, or things just randomly not working. While it’s only on occasion (say once every week or so) it’s DAMN ANNOYING so I’ve dropped back to using 3G exclusively on my phone. I’ve reached out to Tenda to see if I can get a reply on a fix for the issue (or if they’re aware of it). I will update again if I hear anything.

33 Responses to “Look at: Tenda Wireless N-150 / W311R+ Router”

  1. Chris

    Great help with the iphone/ ipod touch
    Thanks
    Chris

  2. Ben

    I too bought two of these routers for the exact same purpose, and thanks to your help they both work!
    One quick question, what about UPnP? I currently have it enabled on both, or do I just need it enabled on Router 1, as that is my main one?
    Also, my router 1 is in Lazy mode, if I set router 2 to repeater but leave the SSID, channel etc the same is router 1, will my wireless devices bounce between the two? or will they always join router 1′s wireless?
    Thanks
    Ben

  3. enoch k messiah

    pls help me to bridge my 2 Tenda wireless router
    thanks

  4. Ben

    @enoch

    The instructions above are perfect, what are you having trouble with?

  5. Strayed

    @ben

    Sorry for the late reply.

    Not sure about PNP, but I have it enabled on the both of them and it doesn’t seem to cause any issues.

    I’m finding that i’m automatically bouncing between the 2 when using the same SSD & passwords.

  6. Kev Campbell

    Hi m8

    Thanks for the great review, just wanted to ask, does your iphone work perfect with these routers, i installed 2 the other night there , we have 2 3gs’s in the house and both are very slow in the facebook app, they cant post on facebook using the app ether, also on the iphone the net seems to work ok one minute then the next it wont work then its fine again for a while, is there any other settings that need to be tweeked to allow the iphone to work as it should, the 2 iphones worked faultlessly with my old dlink router so i know that the phones work ok.

    just to add iv updated the firware on both.
    Cheers

    Kev

  7. Kev Campbell

    Hi m8

    Thanks for the great review, just wanted to ask, does your iphone work perfect with these routers, i installed 2 the other night there , we have 2 3gs’s in the house and both are very slow in the facebook app, they cant post on facebook using the app ether, also on the iphone the net seems to work ok one minute then the next it wont work then its fine again for a while, is there any other settings that need to be tweeked to allow the iphone to work as it should, the 2 iphones worked faultlessly with my old dlink router so i know that the phones work ok.

    just to add iv updated the firware on both and set both to b/g mixed mode
    Cheers

    Kev

  8. Strayed

    @Kev Campbell:

    I will post a more detailed update soon, but yes, I am still getting a few drop out issues every now and then with the iPhone even with b/g mixed mode – not as often as using the network with N, but it does seem to happen once a week or so.

    To be completely fair since writing the initial post I have been using mostly 3G on my iPhone anyway.

    I’ve updated the post with the recommendation not to use these with an iPhone as it just doesn’t seem 100% reliable.

  9. DVDlad

    I’ve found that if you downgrade the firmware on the W311R+ to v3.2.5e in the downloads section of the Tenda website then my Iphone 3GS Wifi runs great with the router set at b/g/n mixed mode.

    http://www.tenda.cn/product/show.php?productid-354.html

    I have probably tried all the later firmwares after this right up to v3.3.6b (released June 2010) and all seem to be problems with WiFi and the Iphone.

    Using the Iphone Speedtest App.
    On firmware 3.2.5e get Download = 10.88Mbps Upload = 0.70Mb Ping = 93ms
    On firmware 3.3.6b get Download = 1.18Mbps Upload = 0.70Mb Ping = 4093ms

  10. Luther Behran

    Hi….Just wanted to give my Thanks for providing this information to all of us…its geatly appeciated and i look forward to seeing any thing else you may post in the future..A+

  11. Brian

    Hi!

    I thought I was alone on this battle! I have a Tenda W311R and I have a netbook and a 3G Ipod Touch.

    My netbook can connect but my Ipod Touch cannot get a valid IP address.

    I have tried resetting network settings
    Resetting the Tenda and the network profile
    I have upgraded my firmware to its latest version
    I even follow your advise to drop the N but what normally happens is it detects the network and lets me connect and add the wep key but it doesnt pull up sites or videos.
    It doesn’t give me a valid IP address!!

    Help..

    Thanks,

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  12. Strayed

    @DVDlad Interesting. Will try this out over the weekend and let you know how I get on.. It could be the solution that everyone is looking for.

    By the way, quick update.. still waiting on a reply from Tenda regarding this issue.

  13. Francis

    @DVDlad: Thanks! It worked! I just bought a Tenda W311R+ wifi router 2 days ago here in the Philippines. I tried everything to have an ipod access internet through it to no avail. I reverted back to the old firmware version as you suggested from its original of v3.3.5o and it worked instantly. I hope Tenda would look into the newer versions of firmwares they released and resolve the issue.

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  16. Dorotha Kupres

    Appreciate the recommendation! I will give it a try.

  17. Kevin Campbell

    Here’s the updated firmware link – maybe you can edit your original article (which i’m working my way through ;) )

    Cheers.

    Kevin

    http://www.tenda.cn/downloads/show.php?itemid=996

  18. Marshall Protz

    I made a video about this, would you consider looking at it and maybe leaving a message on what you think about it? (I left the url in the “website” box) thank you!

  19. Sven Hedin

    Do you have to have two of these to set up a wireless bridge, or could I keep my existing WiFi AP and have the Tenda in the living room receive the WiFi signal and serve wired LAN connections?

  20. Alfonso Cresci

    Am i allowed to hyperlink up to this, from my own website? I’m about to gather as much sources of tips as i am able.

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    Was thinking exactly the same, cool site, thanks.

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  24. Enrique Mullahey

    I actually decided to create a quick video about this, I would be honored if you would possibly take a minute to watch it and perhaps leave a message about what you think, I left the movie url in the “website” field, hopefully you can get to it, thanks a lot

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  28. Frank

    @DVDlad
    Thanks for suggesting downgrade to firmware 3.2.5e.
    It solved my Iphone Tenda problem.

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  31. Tracy Diet

    Has any of you here possibly tried your hand at the iphone4? How are the features? I really wish to acquire one personally nonetheless I’m real distrustful regarding the antenna trouble. Any idea when Apple’s gonna fix it?

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    Can you know of any similar information sites like yours which i can come across out far more details?…

  33. Sheiky

    Thank you for this very easy to follow instructions,i have been searching all over the web,and like most guides and hours spent i got nowhere.but this totaly gave me access wirelessly and extended the range downstaires and now all ps3,sky,3x laptop,1xdesktop all communicating well.THANK YOU SO MUCH

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