Belkin 802.11n Gear Gets High Marks

 
 
By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2006-07-23 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Review: The company's draft 802.11n products offer advanced users strong wireless security.

Based on Atheros Communications XSpan draft 802.11n technology, Belkins N1 Wireless Router (priced at $150) and N1 Wireless Notebook Card (priced at $120) are easily the most attractive of the gear eWEEK Labs evaluated here.

At the front of the glossy, black N1 Wireless Router is a series of glowing blue LED indicators that provide a clear and understandable view of the routers connection status. The display indicates when wired and wireless clients are present, if wireless security is enabled, and whether the router can communicate with the Internet.

The N1 Wireless Router also has three antennas, although their range of motion is limited when compared with the Buffalo Technology and Linksys units, making it a little more difficult to optimize performance through minute adjustments.

Unlike Broadcom-based devices, the N1 Wireless Router does not offer automatic channel allocation, nor does the device let users choose whether to assign the 20MHz channel in the upper or lower positions. Instead, the narrow channel is allocated on the same channel as the wide channel.

Click here to read a review of Buffalo Technologys draft 802.11n products.
Fortunately, the N1 Wireless Router displayed none of the irregular backward-compatibility issues with 802.11g client adapters that we experienced with other products.

The N1 Wireless Router was also the only product we reviewed here that shipped with protected mode enabled by default. Protected mode is preferred to maintain higher speed when lots of legacy 802.11b traffic is nearby, but our test location was largely free of ambient wireless transmissions. Click here to read a review of Netgears WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless Router—Gigabit Edition. Therefore, we disabled protected mode after we determined performance improved significantly without it.

Unlike routers from Netgear and Buffalo, the N1 Wireless Router supports the enterprise flavors of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2, enabling businesses or advanced users to tie in with a RADIUS server for the strongest wireless security alternatives.

For more information, check out www.belkin.com.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at andrew_garcia@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
 
 
 
 
Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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