Reviews SMC Barricade g 2.4GHz 54Mbps Wireless Router with built in USB Printer Server

SMC Barricade g 2.4GHz 54Mbps Wireless Router with built in USB Printer Server

Product description

The Barricade 2.4GHz 54 Mbps Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband Router is the perfect networking solution for any home or business user that is looking for a simple all-in-one network product. This platform independent multifunction router combines a 4-port 10/100 Mbps dual-speed switch with Automatic MDI-MDIX feature, a high speed 54 Mbps wireless access point, Slateful Pocket Inspection (SPI) firewall security, network management, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) passthrough support into one convenient device. High data exchange rate. Provides protection against hacker invasions.

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I picked this unit up from a local store because it was inexpensive, had all the features I wanted, and was in stock. I have been pretty satisfied with the systems performance, but there are a couple of outstanding issues.

As a matter of course I flashed it to the latest firmware before even bothering to do the initial setup, so I can't comment on the earlier firmware issues, but with the latest firmware it seems to work quite well. Just about all AP seem a bit like alchemy getting things setup right the first time, but now that I have some experience the SMC came right up with WPA encryption.

BUt while I do have the following nits to pick, I'm planning on purchasing a second one for home use, since it seems unmatched for a price/capabity standpoint.

1. Despite having a mode labeled WEP/WPA, it does NOT work with both protocols (even says so on their site? Why don't they update the public firmware to remove this option until its fixed?). In fact, after switching to this mode, I was locked out and unable to connect wirelessly. I was able to fix this by connecting directly, but it was a big pain.

2. There is no interface to the print server via the web interface; but this is because it is excruciatingly manual. On the bright side the manual takes you through all the custom steps pretty clearly, but I was surprised I even had to pick the printer driver manually.

But these are two minor annoyances for a home system, since you'll deal with them once in a blue moon. Its got an excellent built in firewall, and supports standard syslog logging, which is very nice for troubleshooting.

After reading the reviews of this router, I was a little nervous purchasing it for a friend of mine. He specifically wanted printer server capabilities and many of the reviewers stated they had problems with getting the print server to work correctly and/or reliably. Other routers with print servers were $50-$100 more expensive (and reviews also indicated various problems printing), so we decided to purchase this one from Fry's electronics, confident that we could return if it had problems. I have one of SMC's original routers (the 7004WBR - with a parallel port print server) and it's worked reliably for the last 3.5 years ( I paid ~$299 for it back then, the price of early adoption).
My friend also wanted to go wireless with 2 notebook PC's, so we also purchased two SMC wireless cards. One of the notebook PC's was a relatively new Dell Inspiron, while the other was an old IBM A20 with just 128M RAM, 10G HD and a ~500 MHz CPU. Both the Dell and amazingly, the IBM had Windows XP running.
Installation of the router was fast and easy. Per the quick start manual, I installed the software from the CD, then checked the "wired" capability to the Dell. I was able to log into the router and check the settings. I did not change anything from the default (including security) before installing the wireless cards. Those too went quick. I was surprised there were no real problems with either PC. One reboot later and both notebook were wireless. I enabled some of the security features (WPA, discard pings from WAN, MAC Address filtering) and left the rest untouched.
The last task to do was to install and configure the print server. I had to pull up the full manual for this as I remember the process was involved for my old SMC router. This is not in the quick start guide. Following the instructions word for word, I set up the print server. Several "wizards" and related windows come up during the process, but manual is pretty easy to follow. My friend had a HP deskjet 940c, which was on of the many HP printers on the list. In fact, the list of "configurable" printers seemed very comprehensive. We printed a few documents without problems. The printer seems to print the last page first now, but otherwise worked fine. I set up both computers to print to the SMC print server and tested several documents. No problems.
Some reviews have mentioned reliability and the need for reboots as a problem. Well I cannot say one way or another as I just installed it, however my older SMC 7004 WBR has lasted almost 4 years with no reliability problems.
I gave it 5 stars because after only about 1 hour of setup I had both computers wireless and using the SMC print server without any problems at all. My friend was very impressed. I showed him some "cool" multimedia links ([...]) and we watched a few movie trailers wirelessly from the kitchen. He was impressed and very thankful.
I'll update the review if I get a "support" call from him. The price on Amazon is pretty good, so I certainly would consider buying this one online for myself when I decide to upgrade my older SMC 7004WBR.

I bought an SMC2804WBRP-G and had the same problems that a lot of reviewers here have complained about - print server not working well at all. Then, I went into the SMC SYSTEM Password Settings page and found an Idle Time Out setting that I could set to 0 to specify "No Time Out". Big improvement after I did that. In fact, I have had no problems with my Canon i850 printer since I made that change. I agree with everyone that a firmware upgrade is needed but in the mean time this will help.

Purchased almost years ago as my first foray into a wireless network, this router has proven to be incredibly reliable during that time. I can't remember the last time I had to power cycle it, if ever. Wireless connectivity was fast and a breeze to set up. I've never had to reset the router due to a lost connection because my wireless connection never dropped. Any problems that I had were related to my wireless card. The router can be set to b only, g only, mixed or long range.

The USB print server function was difficult to set up (required a lot of google time), but once it was, it printed with no problems and allowed me to leave the printer hidden next to the router.

The only other downside to this router is the fact that it supports WEP and WPA. It does not support WEP and WPA mixed, nor does it support WPA2.

Keep in mind that I ALWAYS upgraded to the latest firmware for this router as soon as it came out. I believe this kept me away from most of the problems that others have encountered. Don't believe the other negative reviews. This is a good, reliable product despite the lemons some people have encountered.

The main positive of this router is its cheap price, relative to the features included. I was able to get the wireless working with 128-bit WEP, set up as DHCP server, and print server.

Setting up printer is easy, if you follow instructions in the manual (available from SMC website). Printer worked better after firmware update from SMC website.

Compared to my old SMC router, it is slightly less reliable. It has had to be reset about once every 10 days, whereas my old SMC barricade ran for 2 years without a reset.

The web-page administration page has one important interface glitch. If you don't "logout" from the last computer that went on the page, you can't get in and must do a hardware reset. I found this feature annoying, as I have multiple computers.

I decided to purchase this product even though the reviews were not that great. I previously owned a SMC7004AWBR and had no problems, so with that it seemed logical that I would buy SMC again. I think most people that have complained are just regular complainers or just don't know how to properly configure a router.

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