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Wireless Reviews

Routing Features and Performance

Belkin's routers have never had a strong feature set and neither does the Vision. I'll summarize the routing features here and you can hit the slideshow if you want to see screenshots: (Wireless features will be convered shortly.)

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra BigPond and Multi-PPPoE WAN types
  • Built-in Dynamic DNS client for DynDNS
  • WAN ping blocking (default enabled)
  • Single port and Port Range forwarding
  • Simple schedulable outbound port filtering
  • Remote management enable with single IP restriction and port setting
  • System and firewall logging
  • UPnP (default enabled)
  • MAC address access control for wired clients

Missing are some useful things like:

  • Firewall controls like SPI disable and Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cookie blocking
  • IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough enable/disables
  • Triggered port forwarding
  • DHCP reservations
  • HTTPS admin access
  • Bandwidth control / QoS for Internet traffic
  • Parental controls
  • Syslog support and traffic logging

Check out the slideshow See the Slideshow for admin screenshots and more

As I do with Netgear, I have to take Belkin to task for its lack of innovation or even change in its routing feature set. While it's nice that Belkin is trying to make setup easy for people who don't want to futz with router setup screens, I think that Belkin needs to knock some of the features off the "missing" list above and pump up some of the features that it does provide.

My votes would be for the addition of QoS and Bandwidth controls and better access / parental control and reporting. And it certainly would be nice if the Bandwidth Speedometers and other status information available via the front panel display were also available in the Web admin GUI!

Routing Performance

I tested routing performance using our standard router tests. All tests were done with the client in DMZ to accomodate IxChariot's finickyness with SPI+NAT firewalls. The results are summarized in Table 1 below.

Test Description Throughput
(Mbps)
WAN - LAN
106
LAN - WAN
112
Total Simultaneous
109
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 180
Firmware Version
F5D8232-4_WW_1.00.11
Table 1: Routing performance summary

The ~110 Mbps throughput isn't bad and is certainly enough for any available WAN connection. But the Vision ranks last in routing throughput among Draft 11n routers with gigabit WAN and LAN ports. But in the more important test (to at least gamers and Torrent users) of simultaneous connections, the Vision does very well with 180 supported.

Figure 5 shows a composite of WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous up/down IxChariot routing throughput tests. Throughput is generally well-behaved, except for the periodic large dropouts and spikes. I should note that when the router was running full-blast in these tests, the web admin interface and front panel GUI would not respond. Once the test finished, however, they came right back.

N1 Vision routing performance
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: N1 Vision routing performance

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