Microsoft MN-700 wireless broadband router review: Microsoft MN-700 wireless broadband router

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Microsoft MN-700 wireless broadband router

(Part #: MN700) Released: Sep 16, 2003
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Easy to install; automated updates; impressive security features; extremely long range; solid tech support.

The Bad Short on advanced options; no wireless bridge support.

The Bottom Line This router is capable and easy to use, but Dell's TM2300 offers more-advanced features and faster throughput.

7.7 Overall
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Service and support 8.0
  • Design and ease of use 8.0

Review summary

Microsoft's new 802.11g MN-700 wireless broadband router is designed so that even a novice user can expand a home network easily, but it has a few shortcomings compared to the Editors' Choice-winning Dell TrueMobile 2300. The setup process and the configuration utility are very user-friendly, and Microsoft's support options will help with most problems you might encounter. It offers most features that home users need, and the Setup Wizard automatically turns on wireless security--a unique and much-needed detail. Its range is excellent. Experienced users will be frustrated by the lack of advanced configuration options and wireless bridge support, however.

Like the Dell TrueMobile 2300's streamlined installation routine, the MN-700's Setup Wizard gathers the necessary network information automatically before configuring both your wireless network adapter and the MN-700. The Setup Wizard supports all Windows platforms; a nonautomated, browser-based interface is available for other OSs.

We uncovered a bug in the Setup Wizard software that prevented the application from completing normally when we attempted to use a workgroup name that contained a period. Microsoft tech support worked quickly to determine the cause and promised a fix in a future release.

The MN-700's documentation is excellent. In addition to the printed installation guide, you get a thorough, printed user guide with a lengthy troubleshooting section, as well as detailed instructions for nonstandard installations, such as using the MN-700 as an access point instead of as a router.

You use the Broadband Network Utility, which you install on one of your networked machines during setup, to check network status and adjust the MN-700's configuration. Like the Setup Wizard, the Broadband Network Utility is novice-friendly; it's easy to navigate, with clear help information on each screen. The utility also checks automatically for updates, making it simple to keep the firmware current.

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