I love Newegg and I love ABS so by extension I must also love...Rosewill?
The history of Rosewill is a storied one. High end computer maker ABS had the ingenious idea of founding a company to sell computer hardware, components, and electronics to consumers and thus Newegg was born. Newegg eventually became so much larger than ABS than it was spun off and if I'm not mistaken now Newegg owns ABS, now the other way around. So while ABS remains the Egg’s premier computer manufacturer they needed another brand to sell accessories and hardware under and thus Rosewill was born.
I won't say that Rosewill is a high-end manufacturer of components. Rather, they sell what is generally mid range hardware at a decent price. There isn't anything they make that I would specifically recommend against and most of it is fairly well made. In fact, they don't manufacture most of their own stuff. Rather, it is largely re-branded stock from popular OEMs. As such they have their name on a variety of hardware and accessories including wireless routers.
The RNX-GX4 is, apparently, a re-branded Netcore unit. I don't know much about that company but it does appear to be at least somewhat well respected. The unit itself seems fairly well constructed. It's solid enough and doesn't have that cheap plastic feel like my old Belkin router does. Plus it has external antennae which I consider a huge plus in inexpensive Wireless G routers. Many have switched to internal antennae and while they do look better the signal just isn't quite as strong and the range just isn't there. External antennae are definitely a plus for me and they are removable, to boot, so you could potentially replace them with a pair of high gain antennae for improved range if a situation called for it. Note that it is still Wireless G and merely 54mbps capable. Some may find this a weak point but the speed and range of a Draft N router are beyond my needs and a solid router with a set of antennae like this should prove more than adequate for me and most home users.
The true appeal of this unit for many is the native support available for Open DD-WRT firmware. For the uninitiated, DD-WRT is a popular open-source firmware that is installable on a wide variety of wireless routers and other network hardware. The main benefits are a uniform platform for all of the compatible devices as well as improved performance over the standard firmware. Some of the claimed range and speed improvements, as well as the extra features “unlocked” by the new software that wouldn't otherwise be normally available can be downright impressive. I've never used DD-WRT before but I certainly look forward to testing it out.
The router install was as straightforward as ever. Insert disc, enter 5 lines of info, all set. The wireless signal was definitely stronger than the old Belkin. I live in a townhouse and was getting an Excellent signal in the garage, even 4/5 bars outside. The signal has been steady over the last week as well. My old router would drop frequently, requiring 1-2 power cycles a week. The signal would even get weird while watching streaming videos. I can’t count how many YouTube and Hulu would freeze partway through and never resume again.
All-in-all, I’m very happy with how the router is performing thus far. Stay tuned for….
Part 2: Installing Open DD-WRT and Speed Tests!!!