THE EDIMAX BR-6208AC has three large antennas protruding from its back, one for the 5GHz band and the other two for 2.4GHz. At the back is a switch for turning the wireless on and off as well as a WPS pairing button that also doubles as a reset button.
Edimax calls the BR-6208AC a 5-in-1 device, as it can be used as a Wi-Fi router, access point, Wi-Fi bridge, range extender and a WISP (wireless internet service provider) router. WISP isn’t common in the UK at the moment but is expanding in rural areas that can’t be reached by cable or fibre broadband.
Annoyingly, if you want to switch between modes you need to factory-reset the router, but the web interface at least gives you the option of backing up your configuration settings should you want to revert to your previous settings. Once you plug in the router and access the web interface you’re greeted by Edimax’s smart wizard, which takes you through the process of setting up the router in one of the modes mentioned above.
The Wi-Fi router option automatically detects your internet connection according to whatever you connect to the router’s WAN port. The WAN port is only rated at 10/100Mbit/s, which is worth noting if you have high-speed internet, as this may restrict download speeds. Similarly, the router’s four Ethernet LAN ports are only rated at 10/100Mbit/s.
The smart wizard also lets you set Wi-Fi passwords for the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks; it can broadcast on both simultaneously so you can connect both modern and older wireless devices. The router supports one guest network on each band. The Edimax BR-6208AC has a theoretical throughput of 300Mbit/s on its 2.4GHz band and 433Mbit/s on its 5GHz band. We tested the router using both our test laptop’s built-in Intel Dual Band Wireless N-7260 adaptor and Edimax’s EW-7811DAC wireless-AC USB2 adaptor (£24 inc VAT from www.kikatek.com).
Using our laptop’s wireless card, we saw 2.4GHz speeds of 28.5Mbit/s at 10m and just 8Mbit/s at 25m. Things improved on the 5GHz band, where we saw 87Mbit/s at 10m and 49.5Mbit/s at 25m. The 10m speed is one of the slowest 5GHz speeds we’ve seen recently, but the 25m figure is good for a cheap router. With Edimax’s USB adaptor in 802.11n mode we saw 78.8Mbit/s at 10m and only a minor speed decrease to 77.7Mbit/s at 25m, both of which are decent for the price. Using the adaptor in 5GHz mode, we saw 90.1Mbit/s at 10m but only 49.5Mbit/s at 25m; these are near the bottom of the pack.
The Edimax BR-6208AC has respectable performance for its price when used with our laptop’s built-in wireless, even if performance with Edimax’s own USB adaptor was disappointing. It’s a fair choice if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on a basic wireless-AC router, but for a little more the Asus RT-AC52U has superior wireless range.