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Wireless Reviews

Internal details

Figure 3 is a shot of the N150's main board. It uses Ralink's RT3050 1x1 802.11n Router/AP SoC combined with 2 MB of flash and 8 MB of RAM. The RT3050 includes a four-port 10/100 switch, 10/100 Ethernet WAN port and 2.4 GHz transceiver / MAC / BB. Since the radio is in the RT3050, I'm guessing the device hidden under the shield is an RF amplifier.

Belkin N150 board

Figure 3: N150 Main board

Figure 4 shows the companion Belkin N150 Wireless USB Network Adapter (F6D4050 v2) board. I made a composite of the top and bottom views of the board to show the mini RF connector on the bottom side. You can't tell from the photo, but a closeup photo in the FCC ID file shows a Ralink RT3070 single-chip USB 2.4 GHz 802.11n1x1 radio used.

Belkin N150 USB adapter board

Figure 4: N150 Wireless USB Adapter board

Routing Features

Figure 5 shows the N150's Status page, which is just like you see on Belkin's other wireless routers.

N150 Status Page
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: N150 Status Page

If you look carefully you'll see the Internet Settings Connection Type set to Static. I had to resort to this setting when the N150 refused to pick up WAN IP information via DHCP (Dynamic WAN connection type) from the D-Link DIR-655 A4 that I use as my primary router. I haven't had WAN DHCP lease problems with a router in years, but it appears that I have found them in the N150. I told Belkin about the problem, but didn't hear anything back.

Updated 6/19/2009
Belkin has reported that they have duplicated the WAN dynamic IP lease problem and are working on a solution.

As with all of Belkin's routers, the N150 has very basic routing features:

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra BigPond/OptusNet Cable 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 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

Routing Performance

I tested routing performance using our standard router tests. All tests were done with the client in DMZ. The results are summarized in Table 1 below.

Test Description N150
Throughput
(Mbps)
WAN - LAN
50.5
LAN - WAN
92
Total Simultaneous
97.9
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 48
Firmware Version
2.00.04
Table 1: Routing performance summary

The reason for the low WAN > LAN performance is shown in the IxChariot plots in Figure 6. All that bouncing around comes from the WAN to LAN test, which shows the lousiest routing throughput performance that I have seen in a very long time. It's a shame, too, since upstream performance is nice and smooth at around 92 Mbps.

N+ routing performance
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: N150 routing performance

When both up and download tests are run simultaneously, the numbers show average throughput of 75 Mbps up, but 23 Mbps down. Simultaneous sessions maxed out at 48, again, the worst I have seen in awhile. This is clearly not a router to be used with high-speed fiber connections.

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