Looking for a cheap wireless router in Japan that also supports English operation? Many Japanese brands will not have built-in English support, even though some of these routers are sold worldwide. Don’t expect routers from Buffalo, Logitec, or NEC to support English, although the ones from Buffalo might do so with a firmware flash.
To get a router with English support, it’s possible to import one from another country, but it can be costly and there might be some import taxes applicable. The easiest solution is to buy a native router, and Planex is one company that has good, cheap, and English-supporting products.
While the latest 802.11ac format is out, most of the world still uses 802.11n, a format that combines the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands for improved performance. It is important, therefore, to find a router that supports dual band operations, and if possible, to have multiple antennas for each band.
Unfortunately, Planex does not have multiple antenna support, but its routers are extremely compact and inexpensive, making them a good choice for small apartments or traveling. My recommendation is the MF-300D, with a double antenna configuration for dual band operation. It can be found at Amazon Japan for less than 3000 yen, in both Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging or retail boxes (the FFP format may be cheaper). Credits to プラネックスを使ってみた for the router information.
User Experience and Review
Previously, I used a D-Link DGL-4300 802.11g router, which is a full-featured, last generation product. Main selling points about this router are the high-performance processor and GameFuel traffic prioritization technology, which may be standard on newer, higher performing routers.
The Planex MF-300D, on the other hand, is not a high-performance router. The interface can be a little confusing, with each antenna (5GHz and 2.4GHz) having a separate access point name and password. There is a virtual access point option (created by default) which also has AP names and passwords for each antenna. There is also no traffic prioritization technology nor support for more than 2 ethernet clients, although the basic NAT and SPI firewall features are available. It is, however, an IPv6 compatible router, whereas the DGL-4300 is not.
In everyday use, there’s really no difference between the two routers. Both are fairly easy to use once set up, and though the advanced setup on the Planex router is a little more confusing, it is not difficult, especially with the user guide. Traffic prioritization is not necessarily missed, especially when paired with gratuitous amounts of bandwidth.
However, the Planex router is clearly not a top performer. Connection times with the router are a big longer than with the D-Link, often taking over 5 seconds to connect a WiFi-G device to the mixed N+G network. There are some very rare hiccups as well, where the router drops clients and reconnects, leaving users without internet for about ten seconds.
The Planex is, however, a very good multifunction travel router. It can function as access point, router, or USB WiFi adapter, and it only costs 3000 yen. As such, it is a very good product for those needing English-supporting routers in Japan.
Thanks for the post, could be just what I need. What kind of English support does this have? I am a new comer to Japan and have only very basic Japanese. So English set up software would be really useful for me.
Cheers. — Mike
This router is translated very well into English–everything that is there is available in both Japanese and English. That said, there is not a lot of explanation for some of the options, one of which is how to turn off having two access points on the same router (Wireless AP and Virtual AP). Besides that, though, the performance is very decent for something 3000 yen, about $30, it is very small and portable, and, of course, the English is well enough done that people familiar with routers will have very little problems. If you are not familiar with routers, you should still be able to set it up fine, if you take the time to do so. — George