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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

The Plus' wireless settings are the same as those on the N and N1 Vision with the Channel and SSID page containing all controls except wireless security. The Plus properly defaults to legacy-friendly 20 MHz channel mode and has a unique SSID that includes the last six characters of its MAC address.

N+ Wireless Channel and SSID settings

Figure 6: N+ Wireless Channel and SSID settings

Channel selection defaults to Auto, or you can set the channel with the Wireless Channel dropdown. The Extension Channel control is carried over from the N1 Vision. It is properly grayed-out in 20 MHz only Bandwidth mode and active only when the 20/40 MHz mode is selected. 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.

Wireless modes supported are 802.11b&802.11g&802.11n (default), 802.11g&802.11b, 802.11n only and Off. You can also turn the radio off on schedule using the ECO Mode controls found on the System Settings page (Figure 7).

ECO mode radio disable

Figure 7: ECO mode radio disable

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

Wireless Security options include WEP and the PSK (Personal) forms of WPA, WPA2 and a mixed WPA/WPA2 mode. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is also supported in the Plus and in the Plus USB adapter. Multiple attempts at a push-button WPS session reported success with the router ending up in WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK TKIP/AES mode. But the client couldn't successfully lease an IP address from the Plus.

The N+ includes the Guest Access feature found on the N1 Vision, but it has morphed a bit.

N+ Guest Access

Figure 8: N+ Guest Access

Guest Access now provides two options for accessing a WLAN separated from both wired and wireless LAN clients that has its own SSID. The Hotel-style option is a password-protected captive web portal. Anyone associating with its SSID has to open a web browser and enter the case-sensitive password that has been set. (I tried entering a blank passphrase and was prompted to enter a password.) The second mode secures the separate SSID with WPA/WPA2 TKIP/AES PSK. Note that 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.

As with other Belkin wireless routers, there is no "Advanced" wireless screen. So you won't find controls for:

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

More Wireless

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