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NETWORKING HARDWARE

Belkin Advance N900 Wireless Router Review
By: wubayou
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    2012-04-25

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    Today we will review the Belkin Advance N900 wireless router in terms of its design, features, and performance.

    Belkin Advance N900 Wireless Router

    Belkin describes the N900 as the most powerful router the company has ever created.  With such a history behind the company, that is a pretty bold claim.  It is said to cater to the modern home with its design, features, and performance.  Is the Belkin Advance N900 ideal for your home, or is your money better spent elsewhere?  With a price tag of $199.99, you will want to make an informed decision, so keep reading to find out.



    Before delving into its features and performance, it is hard to overlook the Belkin N900ís unique design that is very easy on the eyes.  Jet black in color with a glossy finish, this is one router that will attract those seeking style to power their homeís wireless network.  Tidiness is maintained not only via the routerís compact body, but also in the way that it packs the antennas completely within its interior. 

    The router stands vertically on its narrow base, which could lead to some falling over if you are not careful.  The router will seem sturdy when you first test it out on a flat surface, but once you start plugging in wires, you will definitely notice that it can get topsy turvy at times.  If, for some reason, you plan on touching the router a lot with your fingers to make adjustments, keep a cloth handy, as the glossy finish will attract fingerprints almost immediately.  Solid connectivity is provided on the routerís back panel in the form of a modem port, four gigabit ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a power port.  Some air vents also dot the body to help keep the N900 cool while processing.  All in all, it appears as if Belkin designers did a good job of packing plenty of physical features in a rather tight space.

    As it is a dual-band router, the Belkin N900 offers a configuration that includes two wireless networks.  The default names and encryption keys of both networks are clearly printed on the routerís base.  With this information readily available, you can take a quick path to gaining connectivity by turning the router on and connecting it to an internet source through the WAN port using a CAT5 cable that comes right out of the box.  Belkin even went as far as plugging the CAT 5 into the appropriate port to help out networking newbies eager to start connecting.  Should you want to customize your network names and their encryption keys, the easy to use Web interface will come in handy.  This can be accessed via the Web browser of your choice by entering in a specific IP address.  If you are not too tech savvy, the Belkin Router Monitor program will help you set things up.  Overall, the Belkin N900 deserves praise for its user-friendly nature that should accommodate a wide range of users.



    Now that we have the Belkin Advance N900ís design covered, it is time to move into its features to see what it has to offer in terms of bells and whistles.  For $199.99, you should expect some nice bells and whistles in addition to solid performance.  Luckily, the N900 delivers in this regard. 

    First, the router gets its N900 name from its ability to use the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands simultaneously.  As each band offers up to 450Mbps, you get 900Mbps data power.  Now, it should be noted that since most Wi-Fi clients at this time do not support 450Mbps, the chances of you seeing such power firsthand is not very likely.  Still, it is there for Belkin to tout.  So, while that may be a bit of a letdown, such is life at the moment.  On the bright side, the Belkin N900 does support pretty much any Wi-Fi device you will currently find on the market, so your compatibility concerns should be minimal.  Another networking feature worth mentioning is the N900ís ability to supply an extra guest network in addition to the two main wireless ones.  This network could come in handy when you want guests to be able to surf the internet.



    If you are big into streaming media, the Belkin N900ís Video Mover feature should interest you.  It is rather basic, but it does allow you to stream media when you connect an external storage device into the router via USB cable.  This is definitely a feature that is home-friendly and is a nice little plus to have at your disposal.

    Another feature that makes use of the N900ís USB ports is Memory Safe.  This works in conjunction with Belkinís included software to allow you to use an external hard drive as a backup for any computers connected to the network once it is plugged into the router via USB.  Going down the list of features on the N900 we find Access Control, which lets you restrict internet access for certain network computers.  Lastly, Belkin includes Self-Healing, a function that automatically restarts the router at a scheduled time.

    Winding things down in this review of the Belkin Advance N900 wireless router is the deviceís performance.  When used with 450Mbps clients on the 5GHz band, the router performs admirably in terms of range and speed when compared to similar devices.  It is not as impressive when paired with 300Mbps clients, however.  The story is relatively the same in tests on the 2.4GHz band.  As for comparing range between the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, range is much longer with the 2.4GHz band.

    In the end, is the Belkin Advance N900 wireless router worth purchasing?  If you are looking for a compact design, some nice extras, and solid performance, then yes, you should go out and pick this router up.  What might stop you?  Obviously, the $199.99 price tag is rather steep for most casual home users.  If you have the cash and want a solid router, however, you cannot go wrong with the Belkin Advance N900.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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