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Belkin Double N+ review

Belkin Double N+

Verdict

The fastest router we've tested, with blistering 5GHz speed, but it isn't perfect

Review Date: 3 Mar 2010

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £107 (£125 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

Dual-band 802.11n routers are slowly becoming more popular, a fact underlined by the release of Belkin's first 5GHz model, the Double N+. It's a real beast of a router. It measures more than a foot tall with its twin antennae extended; it boasts simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n radios; and it has four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The USB port on the rear can be used to serve music, video and photos from external storage via UPnP, and you get a BitTorrent client that can download five torrents at once and save them to the attached drive.

In a similar fashion to the single-band Belkin N+, you can also set up a hotel-style guest account, which allows you to restrict visitors to internet access, shielding network resources from view.

Performance matches up with the stellar feature list. In our speed tests, the Belkin Double N+ proved the fastest all-round router we've tested. It achieved average speeds over 5GHz from the router to our test laptop (a Lenovo W700 with Intel WiFi Link 5300 on board) of 134Mbits/sec, and 90Mbits/sec in the other direction.

Belkin Double N+

Over 2.4GHz its speeds were highly respectable too, achieving a router to laptop rate of 114Mbits/sec and 77Mbit/sec the other way. And its range was superb too: this is by far the fastest router we've tested over 5GHz at long range (30m away with two walls in the way), producing rates of 54Mbit/sec and 45Mbit/sec. Long distance 2.4GHz performance was good too, with the Double N+ achieving 62Mbit/sec and 67Mbit/sec.

It passed our soak test with flying colours too, maintaining a stutter-free VoIP call, while watching iPlayer, transferring files over the internal network, listening to internet radio and transferring files over an SSL VPN connection to our office network.

Coupled with a reasonable price of £109, it seems hard to resist. But there is a problem: although the router has a USB port that supports shared storage, the only way to access files on attached drives is to install Belkin's client software on each of your home PCs. That, coupled with a lack of on-router administration tools - you get just a media server on/off checkbox and the aforementioned BitTorrent facility - makes it feel more than a little tacked on.

The Belkin Double N+ is a good router despite this. It isn't horridly expensive and it's very fast over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. So long as you're not buying it specifically for the NAS facility it makes a lot of sense.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Compatible with Dell Adamo XPS?

Would the adamo xps take advantage of the speed boost this gives? The adamo lists wireless n as: 802.11n (3x3)?

By RossD on 3 Mar 2010

Belkin Client Software issues

The review notes that BElkin supply client software for use with attached USB storage. However no-one in Belkin tech support can explain how this software works and I have found it to be unreliable and intermittant -particularly with more than one PC. Unlike other vendors, Belkin to not seem to provide firware upgrades to address feature deficits and respond to customer feedback.

By milliganp on 3 Mar 2010

Deficiencies as a NAS drive

I'm finding it very hard to get comparative read/write performance figures across a variety of NAS drives - whether Windows Home Server or Linux based (as presumably here).

Certainly, my Belkin N+ performs to slowly to be used as a drive from Windows at all. Just opening a folder is slow. It foes function more than fast enough to reliably act as a file server for my SONOS music system.

But when it comes to updating the music, I have to attach the external HD directly to my computer via USB, update via SyncToy, and re-attach to the router.

By Cantabrian on 3 Mar 2010

Belkin support

I bought a previous A list Belkin 802.11G router, which was an unreliable piece of junk, however it's performance was stellar compared to their "support". I gave up in the end, wrote of the wasted money and bought a Netgear draft n router, which has been rock solid.

By Stonedecroze on 3 Mar 2010

Support?

I would have to agree with Stonedecroze, Belkin support is terrible. I have an N1 Vision, and it has been running for more than a year on beta level upgrade firmware due to a known problem with Cisco VPN and drop outs. They just do not seem to want to keep the firmware up to date, and yes, I have contacted them about it and got a very unsatisfactory answer.

By Topcat56 on 4 Mar 2010

belkin support

I found Belkin telephone support to be very patient and accurate in their diagnosis of a problem with a 2 year old Pre-N router.The guy stayed on the phone, talked me through the appropriate actions and stayed there until I had the router working correctly.
Definitely one of my recommended companies to deal with

By UK_Snapper on 4 Mar 2010

Belkin Support

I had a Belkin Pre N which recently died on me afer many years of rock solid service. Had occasion to contact Belkin support and, like UK_Snapper, found it very good. I replaced the dead Belkin with a Netgear DGN2000 - bad mistake. I have installed many Netgear devices but recently their quality control has gone down the pan. Replaced the Netgear with the Belkin N+ and all is once again well in the world. Only regret - I didn't wait until the dual band N+ was available :(

By jontym123 on 4 Mar 2010

Londonlass

I have been using a Belkin N1 Vision for 13 months and tempting fate perhaps,it has been rock solid with excellent speed. Definitely the best router I have had in 9 years. Also their Tech Help which I needed to get it set up initially for various reasons, was excellent once I got to their 2nd level (1st level was complete rubbish)! The quality is excellent and with a Lifetime warranty, it is difficult to find fault!

By chrissie76 on 4 Mar 2010

Belkin Nas and Support

After reading the PcPro latest wireless router review I decided to take the plunge and "go n". The Belkin Double N+ tick my boxes. I wasn't worried about the Usb Port to attach network storage (as I have a very reliable NAS device on my network) and the reservations in the PcPro review.
I was slightly concerned over the level of support i might receive from Belkin as quite a few people seem to have had issues with their support.
Having received it promptly from dabs at £99, I'm using it as an access point and Gigabit switch with a separate ADSL modem as per the PcPro article that accompanied the router review.
On removing it from the box it felt a bit "light weight" but it's performance is a substantial step forward over my previous device, a Netgear Super G Wireless Router. It is pretty straight forward to setup security etc.
But the main reason for my post is to point out to PcPro and anyone else considering purchasing this router is that you CAN access a Usb Hdd attached to the router as a normal Network Share WITHOUT using the Belkin Supplied software. Just type in the address of the router in windows explorer, \\192.168.2.1\Sda1 is the default address, and use the user name "guest" and leave the password field blank when the login pops up and voila.... a normal network share.
The Login details were very promptly supplied by Belkin support.

By UserCan on 31 Mar 2010

Hotel Style Guest Access

The guest access login is very flakey, alot of times browser window comes up blank with only a text box to enter password, sometimes at login it will direct you to the main admin login page...very flakey!

By tonewheelfreak on 12 Jun 2010

5Ghz not working too good

The first week it performed stellarly. Then it started rebooting itself every time I started a download. After it had restarted the 5Ghz band was lost and I had to restart by pulling the plug. A software reboot didn't bring the 5Ghz band up.

signal strength is very poor - around 55% on the 2.4 band at 3 meters - direct line of sight.

Returning it tomorrow... I just can't seem to get a good router, almost all routers I've had have had problems with dropping connections. Perhaps going back to the old hardware cabled switch wouldn't be such a bad idea.

By Vince on 12 Oct 2010

IPv6

This router gives "Documentation Only: 2001:db8::/32" IPv6 addresses to LAN/WLAN clients and advertises itself as an IPv6 router to your LAN, conflicting with any legitimate IPv6 configuration you might have.

As this "feature" is undocumented and unsupported, there is no way to turn it off.

If you are using IPv6 or ever intend to use it, this router will break your network.

I have written a report of the problem here:
http://taskme.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/belkin-doub
le-n-wireless-router-review-and-ipv6/

By taskme on 3 Feb 2011

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