Belkin N+ review
Fast and blessed with some truly useful features - a router well worth investing in.
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+.
|Price ex VAT||£56|
|Price inc VAT||£64|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||4|
|WiFi standard||Draft 802.11n|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Gigabit LAN ports||4|
|WPS (wireless protected setup)||yes|
|Dimensions||120.5 x 198 x 40.9mm (WDH)|