Setup and Testing
As per the manual (yes, sometimes we actually follow the instructions!), the router is set up by connecting either a wired or wireless client and then running through the setup program.
We used an Acer Travelmate laptop on a wireless connection. Before it's been configured, the router's wireless network is an unsecured one called "Default". Any client connecting to it will receive an IP address automatically. Not secure, obviously, but at this stage there's nothing you can do with the device so security isn't much of a concern, and the easily-accessible SSID makes life much simpler.
The ASUS Router Utilities have to be preinstalled on the client. Then, hold the EZSetup button on the back panel of the router until the Ready light flashes, and then launch the EZSetup program on the client.
It performs a search on the local network, finds the router and stars configuring it. Configuration at this stage is pretty basic - it just sets up an SSID and network key (WEP encryption is enabled by default). A nice touch is that if you use a wireless client to perform the setup as we did, it automatically picks up the new SSID and network key - you don't lose connectivity and have to enter the credentials manually.
The install finished by mapping the default share - MYSHARE1 - as the Z: drive. Over an 802.11g connection from a Windows XP SP2 machine, file access was nice and quick with barely any lag from a close range.
The USB Copy function worked perfectly - we inserted a USB flash disk with about 80MB of content into the front USB drive and hit Copy. The flashing of the Ready LED indicates copying status, and the whole process only took a couple of seconds. Browsing the USBCopy folder on the newly-created Z: drive, there was a new folder created, with a name generated by the time and date it was created. And voila - all the USB content was present. Perfect.
We also tested connecting a larger 60GB USB drive to the router. In the Disk Management section of Advanced Settings, the drive displayed next to the inbuilt drive, all detected and functioning properly. There was already an NTFS partition on the disk which the WL-700gE can read from but not write to. You can delete the partition from any locally-attached disk to get full read/write access. Under Share Management, the partition had been automatically shared as NTFS using CIFS and NFS, and when we browsed to the device at the root level (\\192.168.1.1), there was indeed an NTFS share which was fully accessible (but not writable).
USB printing was just as easy. We attached an HP LaserJet 1010 and it picked up immediately in the web interface. It was then visible under Printers and Faxes in both the network browser window and in the Windows XP Add Printers dialogue. Install the necessary drivers and printing worked perfectly.
Initialising downloads was very easy, although the interface is quite simple, though effective. Paste in the URL and the download simply works (assuming a viable connection of course).
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.