THIS LITTLE ROUTER fits the bill for an unobtrusive, competent and cheap wireless router that is placed in a corner and then forgotten. This router was the smallest of the nine that we tested, but that did not mean it performed badly. The standard assortment of four LAN, one WAN and the power port just about fit on the back panel, and the dark grey and black color scheme makes this router blend nicely into a dark corner.
The Web interface is easy enough to use, though Netgear and Dlink outdid it aesthetically. The feature set is absolutely standard, with no extra features. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the target audience is unlike to want multiple SSIDs, and advanced VLAN features. All the features that home users need, including port forwarding, WPA2 security and the like, are present. The blank password is a slight security issue though, and we'd like the router to prompt us to change the password the first time it's setup. It does ask, but since you can just leave the password blank and continue, it's not the best design.
The router did very well in our performance tests. It does not support draft-N, but the 802.11 G performance was solid, topping out at 11.1 Mbps for data transfer between two clients placed ten feet away from the router. This was good, but more impressive was the performance at a distance. Forty feet from the router, with walls in between, this little router averaged 4 Mbps. This was the second best result in the shootout, and the router that won this test, the Zyxel NBG-334SH, had a much bigger antenna, and costs nearly twice as much as the Belkin. It did take a bit of hit with WPA2 security enabled, with the performance dropping by about twenty percent, but that was the only flaw in an otherwise stellar performance. The low price adds the icing, and Belkin takes a worthy second place in our shootout.