BELKIN N1 Vision Wireless DSL Router
For those of you who have drawn a blank just reading the title, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a cable internet connection (Virgin internet) A router is an electrical device that takes the internet feed from your modem (a device used to connect computers by a telephone or cable line) and sends it wirelessly to other appliances. It enables you to use laptops, iPods, PlayStations etc. without having to plug directly into the modem. I have 3 children so using a wireless router enables us all to be online at the same time. A good router will give you more channels, therefore decreasing the risk of interruptions in your internet connection. The higher the Mbps (Megabit per second) the faster your internet connection will be.
After blowing up my last, fairly new, router by inadvertently plugging in the wrong power cable, my son and I took a trip to the shops to find a replacement. My son is a bit of a techno geek so I was glad that he came with me to offer advice. We had done some research beforehand and had quite a good idea of what we needed. We wanted a 300 mbps which is the fastest transmission speed on the market at the moment. My son is a Playstation addict so the connection and speed are very important to his gaming, this was his priority and my main concern is fast browsing.
Most of the 300 Mbps DSL routers that we looked at fell in the £70- £130 price bracket. Belkin appears to lead the market in wireless routers and had the largest choice available. Most of the routers came in the form of a small black box but the N1 Vision stands alone in style. It is 16cm by 21 cm in size, is high gloss black, slim and is mounted on a silver coloured stand. My son was immediately smitten and I have to say that it seduced me not only in looks but in its simplicity of setup and use. There is a LCD screen on the front that displays your broadband speed, computer bandwidth usage and will show you who is connected to the internet at any given time. If I send the kids off to bed I can see if they are lying in bed chatting to friends on their iPods. I can also see the data usage from each device over the past 24hrs. I think that my son may regret this purchase!
A great feature on the N1 is the ability to plug and play. I am computer literate but for those of you who enjoy advancing technologically but are lost at times trying to install and setup your equipment this is definitely the router for you. I must admit however that we did have to use the CD included to install it as we were unable to run the plug and play. The setup using the CD was still very quick and simple; it didn't have the option of inputting a Virgin network so we are shown as being connected to Telewest, but this has no effect on the performance.
I love the security features which are accessible on the front of the router as are all the controls. We have lots of visitors who ask to use the internet (mainly my childrens friends) they can find the guest network via their laptop or iPods and enter the password which is the Key displayed on the router under guest access. This feature enables guests to use your internet connection easily without being able to look at any data from your own computer network. There is no need to access the router via your PC to change any security features either as this can also be done directed from the router menu. The connection can work up to 1600 feet or 485 metres, which I thought was amazing but not very useful for all but the grandest of homes with vast gardens. Belkin say that the N1 Vision offers the best in networking performance with its wireless 802.11n 3x3 radio design and wired gigabit ports. Unfortunately you can only have Maximum 253 (LAN), 16 (WLAN) users at a time!
We installed our N1 Vision 2 days ago. By the next morning I was ready to take it back. I had such a slow connection on the main computer that I had to disconnect the router whilst I worked and just used the main feed from my router. When my son came home he insisted that my system was just getting used to the router and he thought I would see an improvement quite soon. He was right and an hour later I was back to full throttle. Whilst researching for this review I read that someone else had experienced the same dip in connection speed and had taken his router back. I am glad that I persevered as I am now the proud owner of this excellent piece of equipment.
We paid £89.97 from Currys who have a special offer on at the moment. We did shop around but this was definitely the cheapest we saw on the high street. I have seen it £10 cheaper on the internet but my son needed it immediately!! I'm just his mum so who am I to argue?
Our package included a CD with user manual the N1 Vision Wireless Router, a power supply cable, RJ45 ethernet networking cable and
quick installation guide.
You will need at least one computer with an installed network interface card and a broadband internet connection with RJ45 (Ethernet Connection)
The N1 Vision operates on Windows 2000, XP, or Vista; Mac OSX 10.4.x
You will also need an Internet Browser TCP/IP networking protocol installed on each computer you wish to use.
A computer running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista; Mac OS X v10.4x Broadband Internet with RJ45 (Ethernet) connection
At least one computer with an installed network interface card
TCP/IP networking protocol installed on each computer
Browser Based Management
Link Rate - Up to 300 Mbps in 20/40MHz Channel Mode
Ports - WAN-- 1 Gigabit Port LAN-- 4 Gigabit Ports
WPA, WPA2-Personal, 64-bit/128-bit encryption, Multiple SSID
Specifications Standards - IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n draft, IEEE 802.3ab
VPN Support - IPSec pass-through, PPTP
You will need a minimum of 4MB of RAM free on your PC.
Overall I would recommend the N1 Vision to anyone. It is sophisticated enough for the most advanced PC user; it offers peace of mind to parents, it has a quick, clear, fast connection for even the most avid of gamers and fast downloading and surfing for everyone. There is a Wi-Fi Protected Setup and it offers one of the best ranges of channels we looked at ensuring a seamless connection.