The Belkin Wireless G router will plug into any standard broadband modem and then distributes the signal wirelessly to the computers with wireless network cards in reasonable proximity (within the same house). The router will also handle secity, such as encrypted password protection of your connection. This review is based on my experience of using the router in two houses, one second hand used in a house in London, and one brand new used in a house in Oslo. The experience spans over 5 years and is ongoing.
While the router comes with a CD, you don't have to install the software on it to use the router. The router needs AC power to function, and then you need to connect it to the modem using an ethernet cable. Getting started should be as easy as switching the router on, assuming that the broadband connection to your modem is working fine. The actual setup, if you wish to active security functions, can be done by using your PC to connect to the router, which has its own URL (address that you can type in into the address bar in your internet browser). From here you can select what type of encryption to use, as well as set your password. While setting up security is not essential to be able to use the router, it is recommended to protect the security of your network and online encounters.
THE UNIT IN USE
My first encounter with the unit was in a house in London where I lived for 4 years. I got the router second hand on eBay, and while setting the router up seemed straight forward enough, it didn't work straight away. I read online that I could try changing the Media Access Control Address (MAC-address), and after modifying this on the router's URL it started working. Even though I'm generally quite computer savvy, I'm not entirely sure why this would make a difference or indeed of the significance of MAC-addresses. Either way, we got the router to work, and most of the time it worked fine. However, every so often we would be unable to connect or we would lose access, and the problem would be solved by turning the router off and on again. On a whole it was a less than perfect experience, although with wireless internet there are so many issues that could play a part, like interference or unstable connection to the modem. We lived with it for years, and it worked, but we had to reset the router almost daily. I don't know if this was affected by the fact that the router was second hand. We were not really satisfied with the situation, and I can't single out for sure if the router was the only culprit. I then moved on to test scenario two, the house in Oslo, with a brand new Belkin router. Installation went smoothly, with no need for changing MAC-addresses or any such things. It just worked right out of the box. But then, after a year or so, it would be impossible to hold a connection for more than a few minutes before it was lost. When connected directly to the router, this was not an issue, so it can hence be singled down to a wireless problem. I updated the firmware and changed the type of security encryption uses, and for the next 30 minutes, it was working like a dream, and I thought I had fixed it, but then, like a temporamental child, it was back to its old unstable self. These issues are still ongoing, and I haven't been able to find a way to use this wireless router wirelessly in this location.
It seems you can get it new on Amazon for about £20, although I am sure we paid well over £50 for the one we got new (not on Amazon). The one I got that was second hand, I got on eBay for £13 including delivery. This was quite a few years ago, so you might be able to find it even cheaper now.
I can't really recommend the Belkin router, as I've had too many issues with unstable connections with it, and this is using both my laptop's internal wireless card as well as my Belkin branded usb wireless adapter. Of course, with wireless connections, there are many factors that can be an influence on stability, but based on my experience using this router in two locations, I can't recommend it. I am currently using a Netgear router, and am having zero issues with it. I've had to reset it maybe once every other month or so. In conclusion, I can't personally endorse this product and would recommend looking into other options, such as Netgear.
I was 'given' this by a friend after my useless Belkin G Wireless dongle decided not to connect to my home network.
First off the reason my mate didn't want it was because he reckoned that he couldn't enable encryption so he bought a new D-link extender instead.
When I got it I first updated the firmware because I thought that might have been the problem. I set the device up with ease and it works absolutely fine connecting to my Netgear router with no trouble at all. I'm not too sure if the firmware update fixed the no encryption problem or if my mate did not know a thing about networks (probably the latter).
The device comes with an adapter, antenna, Ethernet cable and setup CD. You will need to download the manual off of the internet though because the easy setup guide is not so easily setup.
To set it up properly, and to avoid using the rubbish auto-connect feature, you will have to go into the browser based interface which can be temperamental in anything except IE7/8. Once in though it's a doddle, just do a network scan, find your router, fill in the credentials and you are away.
The only real problem, which was a pain for me, is that you have to use the same encryption for the extender as you do for your router. I use mine as an extender, connecting to the router which then allows my desktop to be online via Ethernet and my laptop connects to the extender. The reason I wanted to have different encryption was so that I could connect my PDA (which only supports WEP & WPA) to the WLAN as my Netgear router is set to WPA2, alas I could not use WPA on the extender as it has to be the same as the original router.
Another handy feature is the ability to use this product as an access point, connecting it to any existing wired (or wireless for that matter) router to enable you to have wireless access to your LAN.
Overall then a perfect companion for any wireless or existing wired network and essential if you live in a big house or one built with granite where wireless signal extension is needed.
I've given this a 4star rating as i have an acceptable result, but the setup will be tricky if you rush it. A previous reviewer is also right: It's essential to first download the manual (from the uk part of Belkin site), and print it out. You will need to! It will be handy for any family in the end. Just bear in mind that this device has to read your Lan settings as well as access the Web.
I've not managed to get mine to work as a stand-alone repeater for my BT Home Hub setup (tho i'm still hopeful). It says in the manual to keep the radio channels (for hub and the extender) the same for this, so i should try this. However, it's currently working great as a wired extension on an umbilical-style ethernet chord to the BT Hub, giving me coverage into a wing of the house where a brick wall reduced quality.
So, as a wireless access point, it's still great value. Crucial part for me was.....(ready?)...to use ethernets to plug into it the way it recommends, then create a special Network Connection (in control panel, see the manual!) to temporarily access the Extender. Try a setting to match your Hub/router (enter your security settings etc), and then quit. Change your Network Connection back to an auto IP config, to test out access....leave it connected first, hopefully you'll have a connection thru the ethernet cable at least.
I didn't have problems with my firewall (as long as network ranges are specified). But router security should match the Extender.
Don't take a shortcut: patch into the extender and set it up that way, with your Network Settings handy!