Belkin 802.11b Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router & 802.11b Wireless Desktop Network Card

Reviewed by: Jeff Matthews, send e-mail
Published by: Belkin Corporation, go to the web site
Requires: Cable or DSL Internet account, Windows ME or higher recommended
MSRP: $159.99 (router); $74.99 (card)

One of Belkin’s newest products in the wireless market is the 802.11b Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router. The router is only $159.99 and contains many bells and whistles. When I took the router out of the packaging I noticed that the device was light as a feather - so light that I somehow doubted it could be powerful. (Ed Note: Why do we equate physical weight with quality?). The router is also a space saver and comes with an accessory stand that lets you position the device on its side.

My network setup for this review consisted of two desktop PCs. I installed the optional network card in one of the desktop PCs. Make sure you read the instructions that come with the card before you install it as it may malfunction with inappropriate handling. Make sure you follow the directions closely because if you don't you will run into trouble.

There are a few things to check before you do the installation. Make sure all firewalls are disabled. I called tech support to ask them a few questions and they told me McAfee Antivirus includes a firewall as well which might cause problems. Also make sure to take a good look at the back of the router for the stated configuration. If WAN on the router is not lit up then you will have a problem.

The other PC was connected to my cable Internet service provider through the Belkin Gateway/Router. If you don't get it set up the first try don't worry because some Internet Service Providers including Optimum Online may require a special configuration. For example, I had to go to this site:

and follow the set up and connection instructions before I was able to use the router. If you run into trouble during installation, check the Belkin knowledge base or contact Belkin’s friendly tech support. Make sure the router is connected directly to your cable modem (or DSL modem) and your PC. Check the installation guide for the correct way to make the router work with your particular cable modem. The two antennas of the router must be up. The whole setup should take less than 20 minutes.

The router is suitable for many places including homes and small office. Beginners shouldn't have a problem as Belkin’s easy installation wizard shows you pictures of what to do with your router at each step. Setup automatically detects the IP and configuration, so little input from the user is necessary. The PC containing the wireless card found the network automatically. I was immediately surfing the web and checking my e-mail.

The router will detect and work with most 802.11b wireless network cards for desktop computers, laptops and PDAs (such as wireless enabled Pocket PC and PalmOS devices).

Pro: Belkin kicks butt again by making installation a breeze. For $159.99 the 802.11b Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway Router is definitely a steal. It is made by a superior company. Running wiring throughout your house is not necessary. Easy setup wizard for both beginners and advanced users makes installation quick and flawless (~20 min). Using the router you can share an Internet connection with multiple computers as well as share printers and other peripheral devices. If you have more than one computer in your house it can lower your high speed Internet bill by sharing your cable or DSL Internet service with all of your computers. Recommended.

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