“ Belkin Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router - Wireless router + 4-port switch - EN, Fast EN, 802.11b „
The belkin wireless router is in my opinion one of the best routers you can buy and represents excellent value for money for only £60
The router is something which you connect to the Internet via your phone line and allows you to connect computers to the Internet without trailing wires, allowing freedom of movement for laptops and the decentralisation of your network.
The router is small enough to tuck away in the corner without being noticed and has a desirable non descript look which means it could fit into any environment.
An excellent advantage to other similar products is the ability to network 8 computers on the same network using the one router. This makes it ideal for home or small office use.
In order to network so many computers, you will need either:
Belkin 54g Wireless Network Cards (for laptop use) Around £30
Belkin USB Network Adapter (for desktop p.c use) this fits conveniently into a spare Usb port on your computer. Around £20
Belkin 54g wireless network card (for desktop use) This is what I used on one of my p.cs and I dont recommend it as to install it you have to remove the back off your tower, this voids the warranty in the event of any damage, and paying a professional to install is an extra £30 cost.
Included in the router is a firewall, which in my opinion is invaluable as it adds an extra layer of protection to the thousands of pounds worth of equipment you can have attached to the Internet.
The router also provides an up-to-date secure connection if you wish, which is useful in crowded areas to prevent others free riding your connection.
You have a choice of HEX or ASCII (pass code) based security, however to use these requires some fiddling around and may impair connection speed.
I find the range excellent compared to other routers and the signal seems to have no problem going through up to 5walls in my house. I can also roam around 100ft away and the connection strength stays at a level where broadband can be used with no problems.
It is possible to extend the range of the network by purchasing and installing Wireless G Range Extenders, which cost around £30 and are plugged in to any mans power supply.
The router is designed to be left on all the time and so is silent and doesnt require maintenance other than to prop the Ariels up if you accidentally knock them.
There are also no annoying flashing lights as on some of the routers, or at least non that are noticed, this means there is nothing to distract you or put you off and allows the router to be integrated into your environment.
It is easy to set up and there are step by step instructions so show you how. however you will need to phone up your ISP to retrieve your connection details. I know that some ISP's such as AOL provide a fact sheet designed for this purpose.
The only problem I have noticed is that sometimes the router goes offline. whether this is a problem with the router or my ISP I dont know but all that is required is to simply restart the router and the problem is fixed.
This may occur if you ever upgrade your broadband
The Belkin Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router lets you share files and a broadband Internet connection among all your computers - without using cables. It's never been easier to access files and networked peripherals such as hard drives, printers, CD-ROMs, and DVDs. An integrated, 3-port 10/100Base-Tx Ethernet switch also allows you to connect wired computers to the network. The Router uses the 802.11b wireless Ethernet standard to let you share broadband Internet connection and is interoperable with any 802.11b-compliant wireless device. It also offers NAT firewall to protect your network from outside intrusions by hackers, and an IP Sec pass-through for remote access through Virtual Private Networking (VPN). DMZ hosting lets you play accelerated games over the Internet. A simple, browser-based setup, guided by Belkin software configures your wireless network and broadband modem in minutes.
Offers 802.11b Compliance - interoperable with any 802.11b-compliant wireless device;
Configures your network quickly and easily using Belkin SOHO Networking Software;
Enabled sharing of your broadband Internet connection;
Quick data exchange between connected PCs and notebooks; printer and other peripheral sharing, and communication via e-mail;
Wireless roaming with a networked laptop around the home or office;
Simple installation that enables networking in buildings with solid or finished walls, or in open areas where wiring would be difficult or problematic;
Auto-sensing for future scalability of 10Base-T networks into 100Base-T Networks;
Dedicated bandwidth for each port to let you enjoy an efficient and error-free network;
Compliance with Ethernet IEEE 802.3 and 802.3u standards;
LED indicators for monitoring network traffic;
Compatible with Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP, Mac OS up to Mac OS X and AppleTalk.