For the last 4 years I have been running my home network with a DLINK DI-524 wireless 4 port router. It has done a tremendous job and has kept our home network running well and we have had ZERO issues. However, I have been considering a router/wireless upgrade for several months.
Recently with my purchase of the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE (reviewed here) and its wireless N capability as well as the limited range my Gateway MX6455 gets around the house in G mode I decided to go ahead and update our network router.
I was heading to Wal-Mart to pick up some shelves we had ordered to I took a look at their website to see what they offered for wireless routers. I came down to two models – the Belkin Wireless-N Broadband Router (F5D8236-4) and the Linksys WRT160N Wireless-N Ultra RangePlus Broadband Router.
As I usually do – I jumped on Amazon as well as Wal-Mart and took a look at the reviews. Amazingly both had very mixed reviews. Each held an average of 3 of 5 stars but the bulk of the reviews on each were mid range or low with an odd 4/5 mixed in. So ultimately I went on feeling and reading the box.
The selling point once I was in the store was the version – the Belkin had version 3.0 in the package and the Linksys did not. So the Belkin came home with me.
I followed the instruction in the quick setup guide and plugged the new router into my cable modem and then to my desktop PC for doing the setup. I put in the setup CD and started things up however the setup would not continue for some reason – I was connected to the Internet however the setup program kept saying I was not connected. :-(
So I did what any good geek would do and went into manual setup. This setup was not unlike setting up the DLINK DI-524 and I was able to set up wireless security, establish the router as a DHCP server, and put a password on the router itself.
A couple of shortcomings for this router IMHO:
- Allow me to assign IP’s to my various devices and change the default name. My printer and Xbox360 come up in the DHCP client list as “unknown”. I dislike that myself – too “unneat” for me. The only option they give you is to turn DHCP off and assign IP’s at each computer – not my personal best choice.
- Security Log – no option to email it to someone when it is full. It can be saved though manually.
The unit itself sits upright on your desk and has a very solid base. The front panel is blue lights that indicate either no issues (blue light) or that there is a problem (yellow flashing light). On top of the unit is a push button that will correct most issues with router. I have used this once due to a flashing modem light and it corrected things and got the connection back up. That will make it easier if a problem arises while I am not home and I need to explain to my wife how to get a connection back.
In the arena of range I am very impressed. The router is located in our home office which is in the back of the house. On Sunday while I was cleaning our garage I took my net book out to the garage (opposite side of the house from our home office and the router. Although the signal strength was cut in half it still maintained at 54MBS and streamed music files (MP3) from my Windows Home Server without an issue.
All in all I am very pleased with the purchase and upgrade of our home network. I can easily recommend this router to anyone who needs the upgrade and capabilities of wireless N along with great backwards compatibility.`