Top positive review
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A High End router at a bargain price
on 6 December 2011
Firstly, this is a router and not a modem/router. It needs a cable, satellite or a separate modem in order to work and does not connect directly to the telephone line.
This is one of Belkin's flagship products and as a top of the range product it should be judged as such. That said, it is very competitively priced compared to similar devices from other manufacturers some of which cost several hundred pounds.
The router is very well designed with stylish and attractive looks. The build quality could be a bit better as the construction is almost all of lightweight plastic. It remains to be seen how well the device will fare with long term use in a domestic situation. There are just two front panel lights which indicate power, internet and WPS connectivity status. For a high end device such as this more critical users might have expected to see front panel status lights to show LAN port connectivity. I note too that the router is designed for use only in the vertical position.
Setup is very easy with a CD based wizard to walk you through the connection procedure. More experienced users will find that this is not needed as connecting directly to the router GUI webpage allows for rapid manual setup. All the user needs is the login and password provided by the ISP.
The manual provided is really little more than an expanded setup guide with a troubleshooting guide on the end. The more advanced capabilities of the router are not mentioned at all, this is very annoying for the more geeky users.
In use the router offers a very high speed connection of up to 450Mbps wirelessly for those with hardware to support it and 4 gigabyte LAN ports for high speed cable linkage. These speeds will be a boon to gamers and those streaming HD video. Indeed, the router has been optimised to favour these type of connections. The wifi streams at both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz seem fast and stable to be although a reduction in propagation for the 5Ghz stream, as is to be expected. It is possible to use a Guest Network to allow casual users to connect to the internet whilst denied access to the router GUI or other networked equipment.
The router supports USB connected printers allowing them to be shared wirelessly over the network as it does for USB hard drives with a built in media server allowing video and audio files to be played on suitably equipped network devices. In fact there are two separate USB ports with status LED's to allow for multiple devices. Since it is not mentioned I assume that USB hubs cannot be used and neither can USB scanners, webcams or other devices.
It has some novel features included. Automated software to allow backups to USB connected hard drives. A self healing routine with which the router restarts itself to a schedule to reset it's memory.
There are no real problems I have found in using this router. The main criticisms I have are of the things that are omitted. These are features probably not needed by the general user but much appreciated by those prepared to seek out a high end device: lack of status LED's, a comprehensive manual, MAC address linked Static IP provision. Also, I was surprised to find in this newly designed device no support for IPV6 tunnelling
There are also many features missing found in rival (but more expensive) top end routers: VOIP, DECT, IPV6, etc.
Very well priced for what it offers
Attractive modern styling
Two USB ports
Optimised for gaming and video streaming
2.4Ghz and 5Ghz separately configurable streams
Very fast and powerful wireless signal
Easy wizard based setup
Mediaserver feature built in
Self healing feature built in
Wireless printing support
Backup to USB software supplied
Useful Router Manager software
Only usable in vertical position
No front panel LAN socket LED's
No USB scanner support
No IPV6 support
No VOIP support
No DECT support
No printed manual
Manual is very basic
This is a very powerful, well specified and reliable top of the range router, lacking a few details that high end users may miss, but offered at a bargain price.