I just built a network for a friend using CompUSA’s $30 cable/DSL router/4-port switch. I’m not sure if the price was a Memorial Day special, or if that’s the regular price. Considering you can’t get a Linksys or D-Link for under $50 without rebate hassles, and usually they cost closer to $80, that’s a nice deal.
The CompUSA unit looks bland and generic–it’s brown and boxy, from the same design school as the original Commodore 64–but that’s the only knock I have on it. Hide it behind your desk if its homely looks bother you. Installing it was literally a plug-in-and-go affair. Plug in the cable modem, plug in the computers, release the computers’ IP addresses and renew them (or reboot if you wish), and they’re all on the network.
If you want to get fancy, then open the manual. You can do port forwarding, set up a DMZ, and do everything else you’d expect from a consumer router. It even includes dynamic DNS support–something the more expensive units didn’t give you, the last I checked.
I can’t speak for the long-term reliability of the unit, since I literally spent 15 minutes with it. The price is good enough that to me, it’s worth a slight risk. In devices like this, it’s the wall wart that’s most likely to fail anyway.
So if you or a friend is looking to share your cable or DSL broadband connection and there’s a CompUSA nearby, it’s worth a look.