Belkin N1 Vision Wireless Router Hands On

belkinrouter_front.jpgWho knew a lowly router could be so sexy? We got our hands on one of these 802.11n draft 2.0 Belkin N1 Vision routers today, and it looks just as smooth, aerodynamic and downright alluring in our hands as it does in its publicity photos. We're especially attracted to its interactive network display, showing us exactly what's going on all over our local net—who's downloading what and how quickly—blasting out more info than we've ever seen on a consumer router. Nice.


In addition to that 802.11n draft 2.0, it's backward-compatible with an alphabet soup of Wi-Fi protocols including 802.11g, 802.11b, although it won't do A because it lacks 5GHz band support. And if all that wireless folderol doesn't suit your fancy, there are four gigabit Ethernet ports, too.

But just look at this thing! Its display has readouts for time and date, downloads, up/downloads, and also shows the client names of each computer with each one's download speed listed alongside. There's also a mode for viewing each client's usage over the last 24 hours. There's also a toggle for Guest mode.

One slight lameness: It ships without any passwords enabled, not even a default password for the doofuses. Could trip up a noob here or there. Oh, and switching settings on the router often requires a one-minute reboot. Kind of annoying. While it can work in DHCP mode, it can also function as a mere access point.

That said, its out-of-box experience is exemplary, and the setup is easy. Best of all, it's the goddamn best-looking router we've ever seen, making that Apple Airport Extreme look downright dumpy. To be fair, the Airport Extreme has that nice 5GHz N mode, but its looks can't hold a candle to this one's beauty and helpful functionality. [Belkin]

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