Belkin Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router

In today’s society, speed is one of the major factors whether you are working from home or in an office. We all want things faster, quicker and easier on the second tier of the internet that surfaced in the use of broadband. Ten years ago a handful of people where accesses the web on 14000bps modems, today half the country is on the internet all accesses at speeds of 56k or more. Anyone who runs a small business or works from home has broadband. Things just keep on getting faster.

Then you have networking. On the wireless front, most people if they are using the technology are using 802.11b. And for the home use - this is probably as fast as you would need to transfer files from one computer to another. But ask anyone using a 56k modem before they went onto broadband and they would say the same thing. Fast enough for me, until you’ve tried the next faster new and improved system

In steps 54g technology, purporting to be five times faster and backwardly compatible with the current 802.11b and you’ve got a system that you’re not going to leave once you get used to it.

Of course wireless technology or Wi-Fi has always been touted as the technology that will get us back outside again. After all with no networking cables, the technology gives you the capability to supposedly work anywhere within a 100m of a base station.

Belkin has decided to launch one of the first 54g wireless network systems offering a cable-free networking solution through a Wireless Cable/DSL gateway router

The router, which is about the size of a DVD box offers WAN/internet connection, four 10/100Mbits/sec network ports for connecting to a wired network, a factory default reset switch and two antennae for directing the wireless capabilities. On the front of the box, there are plenty of status lights to let you know exactly what is going on. The device comes with a promise that you’ll be up and running within 3 minutes of getting out of the box. That’s a tough claim but one that we can say the system lived up to.

The router can set up on your system so quickly, efficiently and effectively by analysing your current setup and transferring the details to the router. This way, you don’t have to worry about knowing IP addresses, DNS suffixes or anything that might seem remotely confusing to a new user who just wants to get the most of out the technology.

-That said, the system can be changed to suit advanced users via the web-based control panel within the hardware and this allows you to configure every facet of how you access and connect the network together.

Okay so the menu system is a blue colour, tenuous link I know and everything can be changed and accessed via the setup menu including its firmware version, IP settings, WAN address, and security settings--right at your fingertips. Along the left side of the page, you'll find a series of individual configuration choices set up in a logical and easy-to-read column. Going through the list, you can change DNS addressing, SSID, WEP encryption, and IP addressing (static, dynamic, or PPPoE).

Furthermore for the security conscious the system also offers a NAT-based firewall uses stateful packet inspection to identify common hacker attacks, such as IP spoofing, land attack, ping of death (PoD), denial of service (DoS), Smurf attack, TCP null scan, and UDP flooding. In addition, the system supports port forwarding and IP or MAC address filtering. For sensitive applications that require unfettered access to the Web, such as online gaming or videoconferencing, you can designate one client as a DMZ host.

For parents hoping to bring the wireless network into the home, the system comes with 6months free use of Belkin’s parental control software allowing you to block specific sites from the little ones. While this is ideal and saves you money the software is relent on Belkin’s servers to be running at the time. If they go down for some apparent reason then the sites can be accessed. However there is supposed to be a fix being worked on at the moment to allow sites to be saved onto the PC.

Verdict

Overall the system was very easy to install, works straight out of the box and is ideal for new comers and hardened networking buffs alike. Once you've got your router set up, adding other Belkin wireless networking products to the system was easy. Data transfer is fast, but was effected by the route and distance to connecting PC's with walls, doors etc affecting the performance. That said it would be no problem in a small office or home situation.