Review by Kelly Keltner
I have a love/hate relationship with routers. I love what they do and the freedom they give me; hate that they never quite live up to my expectations. I’ve been through numerous routers over the years and have yet to find one that truly impressed me. However, Belkin’s N750 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router ($130) might be the first that I’ve had a good overall experience with right out of the box.
Setup with the N750 DB is ridiculously simple. Without a doubt, this is the easiest router I’ve ever installed (and I’ve installed many). In fact, the N750 nearly installed itself. The accompanying setup CD did most of the work for me.
It’s a dual-band router, broadcasting on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands simultaneously; this means you should have at least one path to the ‘net functioning perfectly at all times, even if one band sees interference — a perfect companion for Netflix or playing games on OnLive.
As far as speed, the N750 is probably comparable with most other routers within its range. It seems to handle large file downloads and streaming about as well as most other routers, so you won’t find it doing any sort of grand hocus pocus there — though if you have a really fast pipe, the N750 is able to handle speeds of up to 750 Mbps.
The N750 was also able to handle numerous devices simultaneously without interruption. I’ve tested this router with a MacBook, a Windows laptop, an iPhone 3Gs and a Kindle all connected simultaneously to the router over wifi and there was no interruption of service with any of the devices. Each device connected automatically and stayed connected when the other devices connected to the network.
The router’s range was also impressive — I couldn’t find any dead spots within a nearly 150 foot radius, and my laptop kept an excellent-to-fair signal throught that radius; no doubt this has something to do with the N750’s whopping five antennas — more antennas than any other router in Belkin’s N line.
Another great thing about the N750 is that the router’s diagnostic firmware updates and security are all handled through the software packaged with the router. Since I’ve had the router, the software has updated my firmware at least once, notifying me of the update when it became available. Through the software, you can also set up easy guest access for family or friends who pop over.
Finally, the N750 includes a media-sharing capability. Two USB ports located on the back of the router allow you to attach an external hard drive (or thumb drive) and share files, basically turning the router into a network-attached storage device; or plug in a printer and you’ve got wireless printing from an older printer that isn’t so wireless. The streaming works well (even for movies); like many NAS devices, it’s a little slower than a direct connection though. Also, it’ll only stream over the local network — there’s no way to stream over the Internet.
It’s pricey. There’s a lot of bang for buck here, but for some the features and power will be overkill.
This is it: the whole shebang, the supreme burrito, the U.S.S. Enterprise. The N750 is stuffed with features, does what it’s supposed flawlessly, with numerous devices and without a fuss. Of course, all that comes at a fairly steep price; but if you live in a large house, need an all-in-one router/NAS solution or are a heavy streamer of games and movies, the N750 is a great choice.