Network in Style – Belkin N600 DB Review

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Jun
22
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I remember the days where you had to dial in your ISP, the beeps and bops of the modem as it connects and finally, the 54Kbps speeds surfing the Internet. These were times where I had one PC which needed to be placed right next to the telephone line where it was connected to the PC.

Thank goodness those days are gone. We have now past the Megabit connection speeds at reasonable prices as well as having multiple PCs, TVs, and game consoles wanting Internet access. It has now become a necessity to have a router to share the Internet connection to all these devices.

The Belkin N600 DB, that was sent to us by their local distributor MSI-ECS for review, is a far cry from its predecessors when it comes to looks. As routers become more ubiquitous, looks does start to matter – Linksys is already doing that with its E-Series routers. The N600 DB stands like a black rounded monolith that blends into the modern home at the least and a conversation starter at best.

Where traditional routers have multiple lights flashing, the N600 DB only has one LED light that isn’t distracting.

As with most routers these days, it comes with as CD that will guide you through setting up the N600 DB. For more seasoned users, you can skip the CD guide and go straight into configuring the router. And here is where we notice a snag. No matter if you’re configuring wirelessly or through Ethernet, there is a noticeable lag when using the browser interface.

The N600 DB has a USB 2.0 Port which you can attach an external USB drive and turn it into a network drive where you can access it to any connected PC. The N600 DB is also DLNA compatible. This means that any DLNA compatible device such as a TV or smartphone and access media from the external drive. You can also connect a USB printer to the USB port and print wirelessly through the router.

Another feature of the N600 DB is the +4 Apps which includes four apps, Self-Healing, Video Mover, Print Zone, and Memory Safe. Self-Healing automatically detects network errors and resolves these errors. It also does regular scans to give you the clearest channel. Video Mover lets you access your movies through the TV as well as gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and even supported Blu-ray players. Print Zone allows you to configure wireless printing when a printer is attached to the USB port of the N600 DB. Finally, Memory Safe backs up your important files from your PC to the attached drive on the N600 DB.

While all 4 Apps worked as advertised, the N600 does not have a Torrent app where you can download torrents without having a PC on.

With the N600 DB, the DB stands for Dual Bandwidth because the router can simultaneously broadcast in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Each frequency has a theoretical transfer speed of 300Mbps. This also allows for a dual wireless access point setup where you can have your private wireless connection that no one can access and a second access point for guests to use when they come for a visit. While I didn’t use the Guest mode as advertised, it was perfect for setting it up as a second access point for older wireless devices such as my Nintendo DS which does not support WPA and WPA2. This allows for a secure network that I use for all of my PCs while still having the DS connect to the Internet using WEP.

Overall performance is pretty good but not great. The transfer bandwidth on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz is enough to stream HD content wirelessly. Unfortunately, the N600 DB does not support Gigabit Ethernet. You’re still stuck with 10/100. It’s perfectly fine for Internet use as local Internet connect is still far from reaching 100Mbps but for those that transfer huge files within the network, you may find the N600 DB’s transfer rate lacking.

Specs:

  • Antenna Form Factor: Internal integrated
  • Bandwidth: Dual Band, Dual Concurrent Radio 2.4GHz and 5GHz ISM (WiFi a/b/g/n)
  • Connector Type: 4 pin USB Type A
  • Data Transfer Rate: 300 Mbps
  • Integrated Switch: 4-port switch
  • Interface Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX
  • WPS Push Button Security

Plus: Good Performance; Excellent Design; Dual-Band, Dual-Access Point

Minus: Slow Browser Interface; No Gigabit Ethernet; No Torrent App

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