The main interface is nicely designed and easy to navigate and a useful feature is the option to have the router automatically check for new firmware upgrades. When you log in, the router pops up a message box advising on whether it’s found anything to download. You get a NAT/SPI firewall as standard and this can be disabled if you want to live dangerously. Virtual servers are used to route inbound traffic to specific servers based on port ranges and you have twenty entries available.
A single DMZ (demilitarised zone) entry allows one LAN system to step away from the firewall whilst client IP filters can be used to specify ranges of LAN IP addresses and limit their access to selected services. The filters can be set permanently or switched on and off to a daily schedule. You also get MAC address filtering which can be used to block specific machines from accessing the Internet. Usefully, you can view the DHCP client list and get the MAC addresses from here.
Wireless features are definitely a cut above the rest as the router offers a pair of SSIDs. One is for normal use where clients have access to systems on the LAN and the Internet whilst the second is purely for guests where they can only access the Internet. You don’t even need to use the web interface to set up guest access as this can be done from the router’s operator panel. Three button presses turns it on and it automatically generates a guest WPA key that you can view from the display. WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) is also available with support for PIN and PBS (Push Button Setup) methods.
Wireless security for the main SSID is all present and correct with WEP and WPA/WPA2 on the main menu with SSID masking and MAC address filters as side dishes. To test wireless performance we used a Fujitsu Siemens notebook running Windows XP SP2, equipped with a Belkin N1 Wireless Notebook Card. The results weren’t stunning as a copy of a 690MB video clip to a Boston Supermicro 3.2GHz Pentium D PC on the LAN returned an average of 48Mbps with WPA encryption. Moving the laptop to the floor below the router saw an expected drop in signal strength down to around 50 per cent and copy speeds falling by around 33 per cent.
For the price the N1 Vision offers a good hardware specification with integral ADSL2/2+ modem, quad Gigabit Ethernet and dual wireless-N SSIDs at the top of the list. General features and wireless performance are average at best but this wireless modem router redefines the meaning of cool.