An affordable upgrade for any broadband router
The routers supplied with broadband connections are often basic and ugly, so the Belkin Surf N150 is a low-cost alternative. It will appeal to people who want the latest, fastest 802.11n wireless standard, but don't want to pay a lot.
Versions of the N150 are available for cable (Virgin Media and BT Infinity) or ADSL connections – make sure you order the correct one, as the routers and the boxes they come in are almost identical. We looked at the cable version.
On the CD is a setup wizard that can be run on a wireless laptop or a desktop PC connected to the router with a network cable. A small card slip stored beneath the router provides the wireless network name and password for this – these can be changed later if necessary.
The network cable and power cable are already connected when you take the router from the box, making it easy for everyone to use.
The setup wizard was very good, automatically detecting and configuring the connection, before installing a small status monitoring tool.
The router itself was small and compact and on the back are four network ports using the 100mbits/sec speed rather than the faster Gigabit speed. At the front is a small blue status light and a WPS button which allows automatic configuration for devices and computers that also support WPS.
Advanced configuration can be done by clicking a link from the status monitoring tool. The menu was quite technical but it was relatively easy to navigate. The 802.11n wireless network that the router creates will connect at up to 150mbits/sec.
In our tests, at one metre away it achieved real file transfer speeds in excess of 40mbits/sec, which is not bad for a budget model.
However, 25m away it excelled, easily maintaining speeds of 20mbits/sec, twice as fast as most other routers we have tested. Belkin uses clever antenna technology called Multibeam to improve the range, and it seems to work.
For the price, the N150 is a good choice for those with only basic requirements, but who want to take advantage of 802.11n wireless speeds and need excellent range.
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A very basic router, but with excellent range and performance: a great upgrade for those on a tight budget
Small and compact; excellent range and performance; very easy to set up; low price
Basic features; configuration menu quite technical; no fast network sockets
Phone 01933 352000
£30 (cable version); £50 (ADSL version)
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