Belkin Wireless Reviews
Belkin 54g Wireless Network Access Point
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Use: Connect your network/PC to a wireless network
Wireless products are now becomeing more widely avalaible the technology has recently been approved from the previous draft standards and now vendors are supplying updates to mensure full compatability to comply with the IEEE 802.11g specification. (If you are buying wireless products, it is worth checking the vendors site for any updates.)
What you get:
|Wireless Spec Standards||
IEEE 802.3 10Base-T Ethernet (WAN)
|Radio Technology||Direct Sequence Spectrum (DSSS)|
|Operating Range||Up to 1500ft|
|Ports||1 10Base-T RJ45 port|
The unit looks very similar to a router, but obviously it isnt. This is ideal for home or office use where a traditional network is in place. This access point allow you to connect it to your LAN to allow access for PC's or devices which are wireless enabled to communicate within the office or home, and to access the LAN if desired.
The design of the unit is in my opinion fairly ordinary. The top of the unit is a dark silver with the underside being black in colour. The casing is made out of plastic this does make the unit fairly light but it does look rather plasticy.
On top of the unit either side of the Belkin text are two air slits to help keep the unit cool. At the front of the unit you have a LED panel which has three lights for power, WLAN, and LAN.
The rear of the unit has a power connector and LAN connector and two directional antennas.
Setup & Installtion:
Installing the unit was very simple, no drivers are needed all you need to to is connect this to your network. I connected this directly to my router and then followed the instructions in the manual.
Belkin do not include a cable for this so you will have to find or buy one to connect it to your hub, router or bridge.
Firstly you need to setup the access point to be administered through the web interface this takes about a minute to do and then when you enter http://192.168.2.54 into your browser you can now access the access point directly and setup security permissions and further options.
Once you have entered the above address you should be greated by a screen like this:-
Once you are viewing the interface the first thing i would suggest you do is to setup a password to restrict access to the interface, then once this has been done you should setup WEP security options to help keep security secure.
The menus are clearly laid out with more information and help options on hand, you cant really go wrong with this as their are only a couple of menus which deal with the setup the others include the ability to check for firmware updates and to take a backup of the configuration.
Once you have setup any permissions to the access point you just need to log off and ensure your connections are active and your access point should be active.
If you prefer to have you access points vertical than you can use the supplied plastic stand to do this. It simply slots into the end of the access point.
I used the below 54g card to seek out the access point. It found the connection striaght away after entering the WEP key and prompted me for a connection name. Once i was connected and i had enabled any share and domains to be viewed to the laptop machine a refresh later and the folders were avalaible and i could browse through them at a normal speed. I didnt notice any real latency between looking through folders through the wireless connection compared to viewing through the traditional connection.
Why would you choose this product?
Well the main reason has got to be that if you have a ethernet network currently maybe in the home or office. And you would like to use the benifits of wireless networking, maybe you have a laptop that you would rather use in the lounge or at the table. If you didnt have wireless you would have to within cable reach or have meters of CAT 5 all over the place.
With this you could connect the access point to your hub or router and then connect a laptop or another PC to it via a PCMCIA card or USB which ever you preferred.
Another wireless vendor producing a great product, although most hardware is almost identical, it is worth noting that Belkin products come with a lifetime warranty and free technical support. This access point although slightly larger than i may of preferred is roughly the same size as a standard router. There isnt much that can go wrong or be tampered with outside the box as you just have the two antennas a power and LAN connector on the unit along with three LED indcator lights. Looking at the price it seems to me to be slightly expensive, but this is likely to be because it is 54Mbps previous 11/22Mbps versions are cheaper by around £20-30.
Ease to use and setup, Belkin lifetime warranty
& support is a nice bonus.