For many years, I’ve relied upon a small ASUS wireless bridge (WL-330gE) for a variety of blog and personal projects around the house. And, frankly, I’m long overdue for a 802.11n upgrade… especially as I consider a second TiVo Mini – in my kitchen, lacking both coax and Ethernet connectivity. I’d originally considered having Verizon wire me up with another FiOS TV jack but, after their recent rate increases, that’s off the table. Powerline is another option, and probably a safer bet than wireless, yet I remain firmly anti-clutter.
So I briefly took a look at ASUS’ latest and greatest portable router (WL-330N), which does indeed add higher speed, greater distance 802.11n capabilities — but at $47 it was a bit more than I cared to spend for this sort of product. Not to mention, configuration of my model has always been something of a pain. Enter the TP-Link TL-WR702N, which runs a mere $22. And if my ASUS was small, the TP-Link is tiny. Like the ASUS models, this can be configured in a variety of modes: AP, Router, Bridge, Client and Repeater. Also, like ASUS and this is critical, a power cord is not needed — the nano router draws all it needs over USB. Of which both the TiVo Mini and Slingbox 350 kindly provide.
Of course, by taking your network intensive high def video wireless, you run more risk in the performance department. Indeed, upon first testing the TP-Link with my bedroom TiVo Mini, shows streamed from the Premiere XL4/Elite were a bit slow to get started and audio dropped in and out (of all things). However, a quick firmware update and rotating the device 90 degrees cleared that right up… leading me to believe a Mini in the kitchen is doable – should TiVo continue to drag their feet on Android support. Further, reader Ken P. reached out earlier this week for some assistance in choosing a Slingbox for the sole purpose of watching NFL football in Mexico and I advised going with the significantly cheaper 350 versus the 500, with integrated WiFi, that runs about twice the price. And to economically augment its networking capabilities via third parties, such as TP-Link, if necessary.