Features - more
The real weakness here is in port forwarding. You can set only 20 single port forward rules, but at least you can specify source and destination ports (if you're into that sorta thing). If you need to forward port ranges or trigger ports, you can't.
There is also no way to filter outbound ports to block access to services. No web keyword filtering either. So if it's parental controls you're looking for, better move on.
VPN passthroughs are limited to just PPTP and IPsec; no L2TP. There are no controls exposed for these, so if you want to disable them, you can't.
On the wireless side, you get a single guest SSID with its own wireless security setting, but on the 2.4 GHz radio only. There are no wireless client isolation controls and no transmit power adjustments. You can shut off each radio, but not on a scheduled basis. The 1.00.40 firmware added a software switch to convert the router to an access point, but there is no hardware switch.
An interesting feature is Self-Healing. I'll let Belkin explain via its online help file entry:
Self-Healing is an automatic maintenance function that keeps your network running smoothly and efficiently without the need for any user interaction. The router reinitializes itself at a set period of time on the days of your choosing, this frees up the routers memory and ensures the user is not required to restart or switch off the router. Clients may lose their connection to the router for a few seconds during the self healing cycle, although all should reconnect once it's complete. That's why it's best to select a time the network is less busy or not in use.
It's refreshing to see a manufacturer admit that its product should be rebooted on a regular basis and even makes it easy. Note that this feature is disabled by default.
USB drive sharing works only with FAT, FAT-32 and NTFS formatted drives. The Video Mover feature is just Belkin's way of saying that UPnP AV / DLNA media serving can be enabled from attached USB drives.
I tested file transfer speed with our trusty Iomega UltraMax Pro drive attached and FAT formatted, using my standard Windows filecopy test from our NAS test bed. Write speed measured 6.0 MB/s, while read came in at 8.2 MB/s. Not the fastest USB sharing option I've seen on a router, but not atypical.
Browse the gallery below for a tour of some of the admin screens with additional commentary.
Routing throughput running the latest 1.00.40 firmware and our router test process measured a very high 793 Mbps WAN to LAN, 819 Mbps LAN to WAN and 825 Mbps total with up and down tests running simultaneously. That ranks it #3 on the Total Simultaneous Routing Throughput chart, behind the ASUS RT-N56U and Cisco RV 220W.
Maximum simultaneous connections weren't quite as impressive, topping out at numbers indicating an 8,192 limit.
The IxChariot composite plot in Figure 5 shows upload speed lower than download in the simultaneous routing test, a typical result.
Figure 5: Belkin N750 DB routing throughput summary
Wireless Performance - 2.4 GHz
I thought I was prepared for three-stream N testing, having purchased a Lenovo x220i Thinkpad with Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 card and the three-antenna option. I should have checked it before now, but I've been pretty busy trying to keep up with the inflow of review product.
When I went to start testing, however, I could not get a 450 Mbps link rate. Long story short, the x220i came with the 6300 card, but not with the three antenna option! So it'll be a few weeks before I get one that's made properly and can run a full set of three stream tests on the 5 GHz radio. In the meantime, I ran all the two-stream tests.
The N750 DB is Wi-Fi Certified and properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode in 2.4 GHz on power-up. The 5 GHz band came up in Auto 20/40 mode. I was able to run a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) pushbutton session with my Win 7 client that resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection to the 2.4 GHz radio. All tests were run with this secured connection using our wireless test process.
I ran a 2.4 GHz Wireless Performance table (Figure 6) for the Belkin and two other dual-band "750" routers, the Cisco Linksys E4200 and NETGEAR WNDR4000. Note that the Cisco and NETGEAR both use Broadcom BCM4331 three-stream chipsets for their 5 GHz radios.
The N750 DB seems to behave more similarly to the Cisco Linksys E4200 than the WNDR4000 when it comes to lower signal performance. In fact, the Belkin produces some of the highest throughput I've seen, if not the highest, in Locations D, E and F.
Highest throughput of 83.7 Mbps was seen running downlink in 40 MHz mode in Locations A and B. I was able to measure 105 Mbps running simultaneous up and downlink tests in Location A and 40 MHz mode.
Figure 6: Belkin N750 DB Wireless Performance summary - 2.4 GHz
Throughput stability was generally good with no multi-second deep dropouts observed in strong signal locations. The IxChariot 20 MHz mode downlink summary plot in Figure 7 is typical of what I saw during testing.
Figure 7: Belkin N750 DB IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Here are links to the other 2.4 GHz plots if you'd like to check them out.
- 2.4 GHz / 20 MHz uplink
- 2.4 GHz / 20 MHz up and downlink
- 2.4 GHz / 40 MHz downlink
- 2.4 GHz / 40 MHz uplink
- 2.4 GHz / 40 MHz up and downlink