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Belkin Double N+ Wireless Router F6D6230au4 review: Belkin Double N+ Wireless Router F6D6230au4

Belkin's latest router performs adequately, but not quite well enough to justify its asking price.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

Design

The Double N F6D6230au4 is housed in the same casing used for Belkin's previously reviewed N+ wireless router. That means you don't get the interesting visual display of the N1 Vision line of routers and instead get something that looks like it means business, full of flashing lights and severe black monolithic status. An embedded base on the router means there's only one way to mount the Double N, and that's vertically.

7.8

Belkin Double N+ Wireless Router F6D6230au4

The Good

Decent 5GHz performance. . Simple set-up. . Gigabit Ethernet ports. . UPnP support. . BitTorrent support. . USB storage support.

The Bad

2.4GHz performance is ordinary. . Vertical orientation only. . Comparatively expensive.

The Bottom Line

Belkin's latest router performs adequately, but not quite well enough to justify its asking price.

Features

As the name suggests, the Double N router operates in a dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) capacity, offering up two 802.11n networks at once. By default these are both entirely open and unsecured, but WPS is an option with security support up to WPA2.

The router supports the usual raft of QoS and NAT features you'd expect from a modern router, along with a few tweaks. A single USB port on the rear of the unit supports file sharing and UPnP, as well as opening up the router's simple BitTorrent capability. For those with an eye to mixed wired and wireless support, the four ports on the back are gigabit ready. The top blinking light set on the front acts as a download speed meter, although if you've got multiple clients using the router at once, the utility of this is questionable.

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Performance

Setting up the Double N was simple enough, with very clearly marked sections within the router's web-based configuration utility for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. Sensibly, the sharing/UPnP/BitTorrent facilities won't operate until a compatible USB drive is connected. Belkin's web interfaces are generally adequate without being hugely novice-friendly and the Double N is no exception.

It's no secret that 802.11n has so far failed to live up to its lofty marketing claims in our real-world tests. Still, our current speed champion just happens to be this unit's direct predecessor, the N+ Wireless Storage Router, so our hopes were high for this unit's performance credentials.

Signal strength: 2.4GHz

Distance from router Belkin Double N Router F6D6230au4 Asus RT-N16Asus RT-N13UiiNet BoBNetComm 3G18WnBelkin N+ Wireless Storage Router
5m 71% 93% 87% 90% 83% 88%
15m (minor walls) 44% 62% 60% 55% 59% 63%
15m (multiple walls) 46% 65% 59% 54% 59% 62%

Signal strength was down compared to our top five 802.11n models, with a noticeable drop in reception once distance and obstacles were in the Double N's way.

Throughput: 2.4GHz

Distance between PCs Belkin Double N Router F6D6230au4 Asus RT-N16Asus RT-N13UiiNet BoBNetComm 3G18WnBelkin N+ Wireless Storage Router
2m, no barriers 17.36Mbps 29.75Mbps 25.63Mbps 21.5Mbps 27.6Mbps 31.75Mbps
20m, multiple walls 18.03Mbps 28.19Mbps 25.38Mbps 21.5Mbps 27.6Mbps 31.35Mbps

The Double N's 2.4GHz performance wasn't much to get excited about. We've certainly seen worse out of supposedly 802.11n routers, but it's still well below expectations. The 2.4GHz band is rather crowded; however, with plenty of other devices and potentially competing networks providing interference. We were keen to see if the Double N's 5GHz band could offer better results.

Signal strength: 5GHz

Distance from router Belkin Double N Router F6D6230au4 Asus RT-N16Asus RT-N13UiiNet BoBNetComm 3G18WnBelkin N+ Wireless Storage Router
5m 76% 93% 87% 90% 83% 88%
15m (minor walls) 38% 62% 60% 55% 59% 63%
15m (multiple walls) 36% 65% 59% 54% 59% 62%

5GHz signal strength often suffers in comparison to 2.4GHz and the Double N is no exception. Note that some of the top five competitors don't offer 5GHz bands and their 2.4GHz figures are included for comparative purposes only.

Throughput: 5GHz

Distance between PCs Belkin Double N Router F6D6230au4 Asus RT-N16Asus RT-N13UiiNet BoBNetComm 3G18WnBelkin N+ Wireless Storage Router
2m, no barriers 28.2Mbps 29.75Mbps 25.63Mbps 21.5Mbps 27.6Mbps 31.75Mbps
20m, multiple walls 22.8Mbps 28.19Mbps 25.38Mbps 21.5Mbps 27.6Mbps 31.35Mbps

At 5GHz, the Double N picks its throughput game up considerably, losing only a little bit of oomph along the way. Again, the comparative figures largely come from 2.4GHz only routers, which are typically a little cheaper than dual-band models.

Conclusion

The Belkin Double N is a good router, but at the asking price, it would want to be. The inclusion of dual radios, gigabit Ethernet and USB storage/sharing/BitTorrent do mark it out as an enthusiast router, but it's well worth noting that it was beaten out in speed and throughput terms by a number of older and cheaper 2.4GHz-only routers, including its own predecessor.