The Good Easy setup; very good performance; compatible with older 802.11b cards; lifetime warranty.
The Bad Expensive; no wireless bridge capabilities; sparse Web site support.
The Bottom Line With its top performance and easy setup, the Belkin 54g wireless router could be all you need to unwire your home.
Belkin Wireless-G DSL/Cable Gateway Router
So far we've been disappointed with the industry leaders' first round of 802.11g products, which have come up short on range, bandwidth, and compatibility. Enter the Belkin 54g wireless cable/DSL gateway router. Though it costs about $50 more than the competition, its easy installation, top-notch throughput, reasonable range, and perfect compatibility with old and new data radios put the established leaders to shame. Add in a built-in firewall, a lifetime warranty, and a six-month subscription to a versatile Web-filtering program for parents, and you have a great all-around solution for distributing Internet access, audio, and video throughout a home or a small office. When we opened the box and read Belkin's claim of a three-minute setup for the 54g wireless cable/DSL gateway router, we chuckled for a moment, then we got down to work. But the joke was on us--exactly 2 minutes and 45 seconds later, we had a fully operational 802.11g wireless network with four wired Ethernet ports. As amazing as it sounds, it's all true, thanks to Belkin's excellent start-up utility, which is among the best in the business. The prize for first place, however, still belongs to Netgear's MR814 802.11b cable/DSL wireless router, with its interactive installation assistant, ISP guide, and Smart Setup wizard.
If you're running Windows 98, Me, 2000, or XP, simply put the included start-up CD into the computer connected directly to your cable or DSL modem, run the Easy Install wizard, and follow the onscreen instructions. The router does all the work, and the wizard offers helpful pictures and detailed descriptions of what to expect along the way. All aspects worked well, except that the software twice had to run a 30-second check on our Internet connection before we could proceed with the installation. If you're using an operating system that's not listed above, you can set up the router using the Web-based configuration tool, but you'll need to refer to the user manual for instructions.
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