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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

The Vision maintains its basic approach in its wireless settings. Figure 6 shows the Channel and SSID page, which keeps things simple. The router properly defaults to legacy-friendly 20 MHz channel mode and has a unique SSID that includes the last six characters of its MAC address.

N1 Vision Wireless Channel and SSID settings
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Figure 6: N1 Vision Wireless Channel and SSID settings

Channel selection defaults to Channel 6, or you can set the channel of your choice or Auto mode with the Wireless Channel dropdown. The Extension Channel control has a unique feature that I haven't seen in any other draft 11n router. It is properly grayed-out in 20 MHz only Bandwidth mode and active only when the 20 MHz+40 MHz auto mode is selected. (Note the absence of a "40 MHz only" mode.) But when your Wireless Channel selection allows it, it lets you choose between two extension channels!

For example, if the Wireless Channel is set to 1, then there is only one choice, i.e. 5, for the Extension Channel, which is always four channels away from the Wireless (Primary) channel. But if the Wireless Channel is 6, then you can choose Channel 2 or 10 as the Extension.

Another handy feature is the Use as Access Point option. This saves you the hassle of moving LAN cables and disabling the DHCP server to use the Vision's wireless with an existing router. You just enable it and enter an unused IP address (and subnet mask) outside your existing router's DHCP server range. You can even use the Vision's switch ports, which will be automatically uplinked.

Figure 7 shows the Wireless Security options, which include WEP, WPA, WPA2 and a mixed WPA/WPA2 mode. Only the PSK forms of WPA/2 are supported however, which shouldn't be a big deal for the Vision's intended consumer customer.

N1 Vision Wireless Security settings
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Figure 7: N1 Vision Wireless Security settings

Two other security-related features are worth mentioning. The Guest Settings mode, which is available only when using WPA or WPA2, provides a second SSID and Pre-Shared Key that provides wireless Internet access only. This would be handy for a small office to provide secure Internet access for visitors, without worrying about them accessing network shares. The Guest connection also doesn't provide access to the router admin screens.

The second feature is the Vision's support for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). Figure 8 shows that both PIN and PBC methods are supported along with manual configuration information for clients that don't support WPS. Unfortunately, that includes Belkin's N1 Wireless Notebook Card, which I had to set up manually.

N1 Vision WPS settings
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Figure 8: N1 Vision WPS settings

On the downside, there is no "Advanced" wireless screen and you won't find controls for the following:

  • Transmit rate
  • Transmit power
  • Base advertised rate
  • Client isolation (wireless-to-wireless)
  • WDS bridging / repeating
  • Frame bursting
  • RTS threshold / Beacon, DTM interval

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