Networking Guide

Ruckus MediaFlex NG Wireless Multimedia Router review

Ruckus MediaFlex NG 802.11b/g Wireless Multimedia Router

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Software Features

Software Features

Software-wise, the Ruckus MediaFlex NG is one of the easiest routers to work with on the outset. Ruckus designed it to be essentially plug-and-play even for the most non-technical user. Instead of a thick manual for configuration or even dumbed-down configuration wizards, the MediaFlex NG only comes with a quick start guide that basically tells you where to plug in your LAN cables and you're done. The software takes care of the LAN, WAN and WiFi connections. In an ideal situation, there is really no need to even enter its web administration panel to set anything up. Your network will be up and running immediately.

Of course, that represents the ideal situation only. Remember, the MediaFlex NG and the rest of the MediaFlex range were designed as multimedia networking devices. Ruckus assumes that you already have an operating broadband link (most likely directly through a broadband modem) and that the rest of your network devices will also be automatically configured through DHCP. During our testing, we were actually impressed that the router managed all the settings on its own the moment we plugged in the power. We had a working LAN and WiFi network. However, we did not have functional access to the Internet, even as the router correctly detected and configured our office DNS and Gateway.

Technically, there was nothing wrong with the setup, but the router was not smart enough to overcome the issue of conflicting IP ranges for the network. By default, the MediaFlex NG (and most routers in the market) use 192.168.1.1 as its base IP. However, our predominant office LAN also makes use of the 192.168.1.xxx IP address range. Normally, we do not encounter problems with such a setup, but the MediaFlex NG seems to run into a conflict with its own traffic routing when both the local LAN and WAN setup used the same IP range. After we switched the local network of the router over to 192.168.2.xxx, the entire problem was solved. We could now access both LAN and WAN networks.

While this problem shouldn't happen in a home environment where there is usually a direct link to broadband connections instead of through another local router or gateway, users with complex network setups should ensure that the MediaFlex NG is not configured with similar a IP subnet with that of existing LANs. This wasn't the only problem we encountered with the MediaFlex NG. While configuring the router with a different IP subnet, it was not smart enough to detect and refresh its own administration panel or its devices with the new subnet. Because of this, the web admin page was stuck and we initially thought that the router software had hung or crashed. We also did not know if the change was successful since there is no indication as well.

In the end, users will have to manually release and renew their LAN adapter as well as ping the router at its new address to ensure that it has completed the operation. After that, you can access the web admin again using the new address this time - a tedious and somewhat technical procedure that could be daunting for the average user.

One of the things we noticed in its simple web administration panel was the lack of network security features such as a SPI firewall or even MAC address filtering. There is a port forwarding function, but just about nothing else that can be configured.