As an AP/Router I think this devices intended use is to extend an existing wired network to wireless. This has numerous use cases in your home or small business, but the more real world scenario is the hotel. Often times hotels have wired connections aplenty. Both in your room, and in conference rooms. They typically charge per mac address when connecting to these networks. With this device you can plug it in, in your room and surf from your phone, your tablet, and your PC; all from the comfort of your bed. The size/portability of the device really, really lends itself to that. In that scenario, the box works PERFECTLY and you can plug, play, and surf in 60 seconds. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of handiness.
While above I mention 3 modes, this is what is in the supplied documentation. Upon experimenting with the devices management console I also discovered is has a client and a bridge mode as well. The bridge option is more or less covered in it’s routing/repeating modes. But Client mode is pretty awesome. Consider this use case – you have a legacy device of some sort that does not utilize wifi. I actually have an older “smart” radio that was built prior to wifi being included with everything. You can configure this little puppy to join a wireless network, configure a static IP, and move this little box anywhere you need to bring a device up once in a while for a firmware upgrade, etc.
For the price of this gadget, that feature alone makes it a buy; as you can buy cheap wifi sticks for the same price; however then you are messing with drivers. I was shocked they don’t advertise this feature more on the box.
One other really awesome feature, it’s powed by USB. So yes, you can hang it off of your old PC/Laptop/Boombox/Anything with a USB port and power it up. You can go truly wireless.
Router: The device supports all of the usual suspects from a router perspective: QOS, Forwarding, uPNP, DHCP, MAC Clone. I really did not see a gap here between the Nano, and a standard sized router.
Networking: The device supports DMZ, port triggering/forwarding, Virtual Server, Gaming Ports, Access control, website or IP blocking, ALG (Application Layer Gateway), DHCP Server, and configurable WAN Management console.
Wireless: Configuration options for B/G/N wireless connectivity. If all of your devices support N, it is slightly faster to only enable that band. I left the default (mixed) and had no problems with any devices.
What’s missing: Nothing. The Nano’s feature set is solid.
Performance: I did not perform exhaustive network performance tests on this unit. That’s pretty widely beyond the scope of the product, it’s not intended to replace your regular work horse router; and as such I did not expect it to perform on par with something 8x it’s mass. That being said, my anecdotal tests of range, showed no meaningful degredation of speed at 125′ vs. my in house wireless setup. In fact, against a rolled through put average they were impossible to differentiate in terms of speed, latency, and packet loss.