Cable/DSL Gateway Router, Desktop Wireless PCI Network Card & Wireless Notebook Network Card
Wireless Products, go
to the web site
Router - Computer with network card; Wireless Notebook Card
and/or Desktop Card - Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000; compatible
with MacOS X and lower, AppleTalk
$249.99 (router); $103.99 (PCI card); $109.99 (PCMCIA card)
you ever looked forward to something and then when it finally
arrived found that it truly did live up to your expectations?
Maybe I'm a bit cynical when it comes to computers, but in
this case I was pleasantly surprised as Murphy's Law took
a coffee break. Simply put, the Belkin Cable/DSL Wireless
Gateway Router and accompanying wireless desktop and notebook
cards delivered exactly as promised.
allows you to network computers and peripherals with any 802.11b
compliant wireless devices as well as through its built-in,
3 port, 10/100 base-Tx Ethernet switch. In addition the router
comes with a NAT firewall to help protect you from outside
attacks and an IP Sec pass-through for remote access through
a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In my tests I tried both
the remote and wired connections and they performed identically
to installing the Belkin products I had two (sometimes three)
computers networked through a hub, a couple of network cards,
Microsoft's Internet Connection Sharing and a cable modem.
Generally speaking this worked okay. However, setting it up
was hardly a pleasant experience and I've had to fix the setup
on more than one occasion. In fact, just prior to installing
the Belkin products, my laptop had been separated from the
network and try as I might I couldn't get it to share the
Internet connection. Needless to say the arrival of the Belkin
products could not have come at a better time. The products
were reviewed on a cable modem connection, a desktop computer
running Windows 2000 Server and a Dell Latitude laptop running
Windows 2000 Professional.
is compatible with both Mac and Windows platforms. After installing
the router I figured the association with Macs must have rubbed
off and left some Macintosh fairy dust behind, because after
installation, everything actually worked! Okay, Windows products
are better than they used to be, but hey, this was a pleasant
surprise especially given my previous network woes.
barely needed, the instructions for installing the router
and card were very clear. They kind of reminded me of Dell's
how-to-put-the-computer-together sheets - basic enough so
that even a complete novice will have success. Since installing
the products I've yet to experience a single problem. Without
thinking I even popped in the notebook network card one time
after the notebook computer was turned on, a few seconds later
I was on the Internet and surfing away with hardly a hiccup.
The wireless system has a stated range of about 1800 feet,
which was more than enough to cover my entire home and porch
without any signal loss.
the router and cards passed my basic tests with flying colors
I decided to take my examination one step further. At times
I like to use an application sharing program called VNC. It
allows people to see your computer desktop. One drawback to
this program is that in order for it to work, computers outside
your network must be able to see your computer's IP address.
When using a router this presents a challenge because the
outside world can usually only see the router's IP address,
not the internal IP addresses the router assigns to your computer(s).
It's one of the ways a router provides some protection. To
make VNC work you must configure the router so that when it
receives a certain port call it will direct the traffic to
a specific computer in your internal network. Although not
a terribly difficult concept, it is one that countless people
on the VNC mailing list have reported struggling with. After
perusing the users manual I was able to figure out how to
set this up and in less than 5 minutes I had success. I have
to tell you, after hearing the trouble others went through
to accomplish this, this left me just a bit giddy.
line is the Belkin wireless products passed each of my tests
with flying colors. The products were simple to install, worked
right out of the box and performed exactly to specs. Accessing
advanced options was easy and worked as promised. Other than
giving the product away for free, I really don't see much
room for improvement! One final feature, which given the router's
performance seems like overkill, is that each of the products
comes with a lifetime warranty and free 24-hour technical
support. Considering my experience I am guessing that Belkin
tech support people are about as lonely as the Maytag repairman.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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