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I was supplied this router as a replacement for a much simpler wired router. It was dispatched without question and I still have the faulty router at home as Belkin never gave me instructions to return it. It is easily worth twice the item it replaced and for that I cannot fault Belkins customer service. All communication was via email and it was accurately and expertly dealt with. Huge thumbs up for Belkin support.
To the router itself.
The unit is a combination of router and switch with a wireless LAN thrown in for good measure. Lets deal with wired first.
The router has capacity for 4 wired devices and one Ethernet input from your modem (i run an ntl cable modem to it with no issues at all). When running through the switch it will automatically select one of the three LAN protocol speeds 1Mb, 100Mb or the unbelievably fast 1Gb. In theory, I cannot comment on whether this works however as I only have a puny 100Mb Ethernet card. This is the connection I use for my primary PC as it is next to the router.
You know what is connected from the display panel indicators, active connections will also flicker. Your wired connection is indicated by the LED WAN.
The wireless connection is indicated by the LED WLAN and comes switched on as standard, ease of connection is a snip. Set you wireless device to the same protocol and it will connect and run. Thats a problem as your network is wide open and unsecured unless you actually read how to set it up properly. We will cover this later however under security.
The unit has a hardware firewall, this will help prevent your connection being hacked. When configured correctly your PC can become almost invisible on the net.
The router can act as a DHCP server. What it will do is assign an IP address to any PC that connects to it. This allows a degree of plug and play without the need to configure each PC connecting individually.
+++Setup and Options+++
As long as you connect all components in the right order then the router should run with no problems. The router can be fine-tuned via Internet Explorer and you access its setup page as if it were a webpage on the IP 192.168.2.1, this will give a wealth of options, the most important of which is the router password (under the very last system setting heading). THIS IS NOT A NETWORK PASSWORD. The router password will prevent changes to your settings in the event that the router is accessed by an untrained or unauthorised party, it will not prevent access to you network. Normal password advice applies here i.e. use a combination of symbols, letters and numbers to prevent guessing.
There is a baffling list of options down the side, trust me they are not as bad as they seem.
LAN SETUP- this gives you details of your network and some other information on the router.
LAN SETTINGS Here you can set the IP address of the router (192.168.2.1 as standard remember), the subnet mask IP (you shouldnt need to touch this unless you know what it is, if you do then you dont need MY advice!), DHCP server, Lease time for DHCP and Local Domain Name (simply to ID the network).
INTERNET WAN- Details for your wired network
CONNECTION TYPE Set this depending on your ISP and Modem type.
DNS If your ISP has a specific DNS server enter this here. This is quite rare for home connections so normally will be set to Dynamic.
MAC ADDRESS Again something that you rarely need to touch. Some ISPs require routers to have the same MAC (id) as the modem, not many though.
WIRELESS Here are the all important settings for the wireless network including SECURITY
CHANNEL AND SSID Quite simply if interference is causing network problems you can change the channel (a friend had a wireless network that cut out every time someone used a microwave!) SSID refers to the name of the wireless network. This you will need to know when connecting devices. Wireless mode refers to the types of connection so that you can match this up with your wireless card at the other end. Broadcast SSID will make your network visible and protected mode sacrifices speed for reliability in high interference environments. If you have a Belkin device that supports it at the other end turbo mode will increase data transfer speeds.
SECURITY The most important option. The router ships with this off, meaning anyone can access your network, use you connection and access shared folders if enabled. This I will write in caps SWITCH IT ON! There are four options WPA-PSK, 128kb WEP, 64kb WEP and WPA. They all do similar things but the most secure is considered to be WPA-PSK, you of course are limited by the protocols your other devices can accept. Simply WPA-PSK takes an entered phrase to create a highly complex passkey, its like a really long password. Thats it, painless eh?
USE AS ACCESS POINT Basically this rips the connection wide open for any Tom, Dick or Harry to use. Ideal for a web point in a University etc but not good for your house!
WIRELESS BRIDGE- A way of extending networks to make bigger networks.
FIREWALL Option to switch on or off. (Switch it on)
VIRTUAL SERVERS Sometimes the firewall blocks things you dont want it to. Bypass it here.
CLIENT FILTERS You can set the router (By IP address) to restrict access to the network outside certain times. Very useful for cutting off that late night surfing 14 year old!
MAC ADDRESS FILTERING The ultimate in security. Put simply with this enabled if the PCs name isnt down, its NOT getting in.
DMZ If you think the firewall is causing problems or you have a PC that you dont want to use this firewall with you can place it in the DMZ (which really does stand for De-Militarised Zone)
WAN PING BLOCKING With this enabled the router will ignore PING requests. If asked are you there it wont reply giving a greater degree of security form hackers. They simply dont know a PC is connected to that IP.
SECURITY LOG Log of all logins and access attempts.
UTILITIES I wont go into details on this section, utilities are available for rebooting etc. There is mention of a parental control feature however Belkin now support this via a software partner.
In closing this is a monster of a Router from a very supportive company. It sometimes locks however and restricts browsing. A reset fixes this. The lack of security as standard is also a great concern. A similar router of my Brothers had had 14 unknown IP addresses connected to it before I adjusted his setting and he is by no means a PC dunce. Belkin really need to take the lead more in education of this.
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