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Belkin N+ review

Verdict

Fast and blessed with some truly useful features - a router well worth investing in.

Review Date: 19 Jan 2009

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £56 (£64 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The number of 802.11n draft 2.0 routers with ADSL modems were so few and far between last summer that in our Labs round-up we could only find six examples to test. That's slowly changing, however, and evidence of this is that Belkin's latest model has been released in both ADSL and cable variants simultaneously. That's good news as it means more choice for UK broadband users.

Another reason to be cheerful is that the N+ is a lot cheaper than its bigger brother the N1 Vision, a router that only missed out on a Labs win last year due to its high price. In fact the ADSL version of the N+ is an astonishing £43 cheaper than the N1 Vision.

A few corners have been cut to get that price down: there's no OLED screen, though we can live without that frippery, and although the cable variant of the N+ has a four port Gigabit Ethernet switch, the ADSL version is limited to Ethernet.

But elsewhere, the N+ is very similar to the N1 Vision. It has the same guest access feature, for example, that allows you to set up a second SSIDs that has access to the internet, but limited access to your internal network. This even allows you set up a hotel-style landing page where a password is entered on a web page for access.

There's also an eco mode, which allows you to disable the wireless radio to a set schedule, say from 11:00pm at night to 5:00am, when the internet is not in use. And, as if to make up for the lack of screen, there's a download speedometer in blue lights on the front.

Wireless speed and rage is also excellent. In our domestic tests the N+ proved a storming performer, in fact, besting the Trendnet TEW633-GR for speed all around the house by 20%, and beating the Linksys WAG160N at close range too. At distance it was slightly less impressive, but all-round it's still a very performer and a match for any 802.11n draft-2.0 router.

And it improves on the N1 in one area, too. On the rear is a USB port and this turns external storage devices such as portable and desktop hard disks and USB thumbdrives into Windows (SMB) file shares, adding basic NAS capabilities to the router.

It all adds up to a very impressive package. It's quick, versatile and equipped with a several novel features worth having. It's a shame that the ADSL version doesn't have Gigabit Ethernet, but the compensation is a reasonable price and that means we've no hesitation in recommending both cable and ADSL versions of the N+.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Belkin N+ wireless doesnt work reliably with PS3 console!

Hi PC Pro, I bought one of these on the strength of your review and it works fine for PCs but in my experience doesnt work reliably on a Sony PS3. In draftn/g/b mode, the default, the PS3 cannot see the router on most occasions. When it does, the connection will work for a while and then drop. A few internet searches later revealed this to be a common problem with no clear fix. Tried downgrading to G only, worked for one gaming session then dropped again. Tried latest firmware, no difference, tried pre-release firmware, again no difference. In the end, took it back to the supplier and got a refund on the strength that it is not fit for purpose and went back to my trusty Netgear DG834G, which works fine, albeit a bit dated. Shame, as it is a nice bit of kit, especially with the USB storage option and I agree with all your other review points

By martinnut on 20 Nov 2009

Disastrously bad piece of kit

Your review must have been apallingly shallow. Yes it does the basic features well but it has some really silly limitations and the storage software just doesn't work.
1) SSID -it limits the character set allowed in SSID -which is not part of the spec so you can't use - + $ & etc. These characters are generally useful, particluarly for security with SSID broadcast turned off.
2) If you put it into Access Point mode you can't change the password -you have to revert to factory defaults, change the apssword and then enable access point mode!
3) Documentation on the USB port is content free and the supplied software doesn't do anything useful. You need to label a drive before connecting as the drice label becomes the share name.
Finally belkin's support is non-existant and there is no documentation on their website to help. I've found 3 forum entries where users just gave up trying to make it work.
So much for A List status.

By milliganp on 12 Feb 2010

Supplementary Comment

Further to the review above -by which I stand - it is worth noting that this is the cheapest Wireless router with Gigabit Ethernet and it has excellent wireless speed and range. So if you just want to get your Virgin connection around the house at high speed without using fancy features -it's an excellent piece of kit. However it's too linited for serious use for SOHO or small business.

By milliganp on 16 Feb 2010

Both my Belkin Pre N and its replacement,the N+ continually drop the signal to my grandsons PS3 console,he lives next door.The Pre N has been pressed back into service and the N+ sold.
The question is, Which one does what many of us want,reliable with good range and no frills,just good connectivity?

By UK_Snapper on 18 Feb 2010

Unreliable Wireless Router

I have bought this, to upgrade my aging Dlink wireless G router and I am quite disappointed for the following reasons:

1)Signal drop outs occurring from time to time (for short amount of time) using my HP Pavilion DV6 notebook even with good signal strength.

2)Bad USB storage support.

3)longer boot up time than my previous Dlink.

By JS6_86 on 22 Feb 2010

Storage Software

For those who want to use the USB storage facility, the router has serious drawbacks. The user interface provides no control over the storage device -an application is provided that provides a degree of remote monitoring -but no-one at Belkin knows how it works -and in my case it is intermittant. There is no safe way of removing a storage device as there is no unmount utility and the router can't be powered down -other than by pulling the plug!

By milliganp on 23 Feb 2010

No frills wireless n

If you want a normal, solid, reliable wireless n network connection that works with PS3 you could do much worse than a Netgear DGN2000 Wireless-N 300 Router. I brought one of these after my previous router died and I haven't looked back. It's quick, easy to set up, reliable and has a decent range, perfect for round the home. There are no USB ports or anything else that special, it just does the basics VERY well.

By Barff1706 on 3 Mar 2010

A Piece of Rubbish

A very disappointing product. I agree with the poster who suspects that your review was exceedingly shallow! For one thing you cannot disable wifi over the midnight period only within 00:01 AM to 11:59PM of a single day despite what your reviewer claims. Secondly the User manual is misleading in several places. I've also lost count of the number of times I had to revert to factory defaults and start again because the admin function fails to respond and accept a change. Lstly Belkin first line technical support is absolutely useless. No idea what their second level is like they were "too busy" and I'm still awaiting the call back. This was a waste of money!

By Rutherl on 18 Mar 2010

Rubbish kit and rubbish support

I recently purchased the Belkin N+ because I wanted to use the access control function as described in there manual.
I plugged it in and followed Belkins instructions but errors were returned saying cannot connect to the internet. I was about to give up and clicked on internet explorer and found it does work, even though the router status reported back that it was not connected to the internet and it was not connected to a network ??? but it is ! ??
I tried to use the access control and all that did was completely block internet access to the selected PC.
I contacted Belkin and the poor English speaking man got me to disable access control and then continued to ask was there anything else before I end your call, hold on I said access control still isn’t working, Oh your router doesn’t have access control he said. Completely stumped I questioned this saying you have just got me to disable access control. No it doesnt have it he said ??? call ends.
I’ve sent the router back as it just dosent work and dosent work as an ornament either.

By Allan5 on 7 Dec 2010

A Curate's Egg

I've just bought one of these new for £34, good value for money!
However, it's an odd mixture of brilliant and silly.
Trying to configure static routing; the manual makes no reference to this at all, and the in-context help is useless. Belkin don't seem to understand the conventional notation for the default route, 0.0.0.0/0.0.0.0; can't enter this in the static route dialogue, it'll only accept at least 1.0.0.0/255.0.0.0, which is useless!

By AdrianK_IT on 27 May 2011

Informative Tech Support

The tech support of belkin is good. They provides some useful information which are not in the user manual.

By anadhi on 25 Mar 2012

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