Setting up Belkin's Pre-N Router is easy, and the helpful printed guide in the box walks you through the process. You connect the router to your broadband modem and to a computer via the included Ethernet cable, then you pop the included CD into the computer's optical drive. An installation wizard on the CD starts automatically. The wizard detects your computer's network settings then leads you through a series of prompts. We had the router set up in just less than seven minutes from the time the wizard started. Belkin's well-written user documents and well-designed setup wizard give the Pre-N Router one of the smoothest setup packages we've seen.
The Belkin Pre-N Router also has an excellent security offering. The unit includes a firewall that blocks a wide array of attacks and lets you block access based on a computer's hardware, or MAC, address. You can protect the wireless LAN with either WEP or WPA.Fast maximum throughput is nothing to sneeze at, but the real test of a wireless router's performance is whether it can maintain high speeds at a distance. If a wireless router delivers blazing data rates at 10 feet but drops the connection as soon as you leave the room, you might as well just use an Ethernet cable. Delivering speed at long distances is where Belkin's Pre-N Router excels; in fact, it blows its predecessors out of the water. At 200 feet, the router still manages to kick out a whopping 36.4Mbps, three times faster than our previous long-distance champ, the Netgear WGT624. At 300 feet, long after all of the other routers we tested had dropped their connections, Belkin's router was still kicking out more than 30Mbps.
As its benchmark, CNET Labs uses NetIQ's Chariot 4.3 software on a console system with clients running NetIQ's Performance End Points 4.4. Our throughput tests measure the transfer speed of a file that a user might send across the network. This is known as the payload throughput and does not include packet errors and other data that might be transferred over a network. Payload throughput can vary widely from the bandwidth speeds that vendors advertise, and it is a much better gauge of what you're likely to experience with a standard file transfer. For more details on how we test networking devices, see the CNET Labs site.
|Throughput in Mbps|
|Throughput in Mbps|
|Thoughput in Mbps measured indoors at 200 feet|