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Belkin was one of the first networking vendors to deliver a router that supported the draft 802.11n wireless standard and yet it’s only now that it has launched a version that incorporates an ADSL modem. If it’s style you’re after then the N1 Wireless Modem Router has what it takes, as this sleek slab of plastic has a highly polished black top panel. Its row of bright blue status indicators have a lot more to say than the average wireless router.
The triplet of non-removable aerials indicates MIMO is in action for wireless operations but there’s not much to see at the back, though, as you have the standard set of four switched Fast Ethernet ports, an ADSL 2/2+ modem port and a unit reset button. Belkin is so proud of the router’s status indicators that it has submitted a patent for them. Instead of boring little dots you get a backlit graphic for each function which shows clearly what the router is doing. When you apply power the icons flash to show progress of the boot-up phase and modem connection status and if any problems are detected the relevant icon turns orange.
Belkin’s installation routine veers from the norm so don’t try and plug it in and access it immediately with a web browser as you won’t get anywhere. You need to run the CD-ROM based setup utility first which will search for the router and request your ISP details, set up the wireless access point and reboot the unit ready for use. This process changes the router’s default IP address to the one listed in the manual and sets up the DHCP server to provide addresses in the same range. The setup routine only take few minutes to run after which you can then access the web browser management interface.
It soon becomes apparent that despite the above average price the router is a little short on features. You get the standard NAT/SPI firewall, which you can enable or disable for whatever reason and create up to twenty virtual server entries for routing certain inbound traffic to specific systems identified by their IP address. A single system can be placed in a DMZ where it circumvents the firewall and you can stop the WAN port responding to Pings from the Internet. The client IP filter feature could be useful as it enables you to designate ranges of IP addresses on the LAN and restrict access to the Internet or particular services permanently or to a basic schedule.
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