Belkin N+ Modem Router review
This version of Belkin's N+ router has a built-in ADSL modem. A cable version is also available, but although it's similar in many respects, it uses a different chipset and so can't be directly compared. The N+ Modem Router lacks Gigabit Ethernet.
A quick setup disc should assist you with configuring the router to work with your ADSL connection. However, the software failed to recognise the router when we connected to it via either a wired or wireless network connection. Fortunately, the router's web interface is clear and includes documentation for every feature. To set up an ADSL connection using the web interface, you'll have to go to the Internet WAN Connection Type screen, select PPPoA and enter your ADSL account details.
The web interface includes several useful features, including support for Wireless Protected Setup (WPS). This allows you to securely associate compatible wireless devices with the router by pressing a button on both or entering a PIN code. We like the guest access feature, which gives you a second Service Set Identifier (SSID). This effectively creates an additional wireless network, which has basic internet access but is restricted from seeing the rest of your network.
The N+ has a USB port that lets you connect storage devices, turning it into a NAS device. The router can share the storage device with any Windows, Linux or Mac OS X system. A helpful utility is provided on the setup disc to automatically map your storage as a network drive under Windows.
There's support for Dynamic DNS through the DynDNS service, which lets you host content at a static web address even if your ISP only provides a dynamic IP address. The router has an Eco mode, which allows you to disable the wireless radio at specific times each day. However, in testing we found that it made only a marginal difference to its power consumption, reducing power usage by 0.3W to 6W.
It performed well in our wireless speed and range tests, particularly with Belkin's companion N+ wireless adaptor, which produced a phenomenal speed of 68.7Mbit/s over a distance of 10m and 21.2Mbit/s over 25m. However, results at the same distance using our Centrino 2 laptop's integrated wireless adaptor were slightly less impressive, as shown in our graph.
We would have liked to have seen Gigabit Ethernet and more control over which websites users could visit, though these will be minor issues for many users. It's not cheap either, but it has extremely good wireless performance, a lifetime warranty, a guest mode and is a USB storage server. If you need all these features, the Belkin N+ Modem Router is a great choice.
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