After a nearby lightning strike, I found myself in the market for a new wireless router for my home computer network that supports five computers via a DSL connection. My previous router, a Linksys, had served me well, but being on a budget, I was looking for an economical replacement. After all, the wireless router was not the only item needing replacement after the electrical storm. I had two cordless phones, one television, a pool pump timer and a lawn sprinkler system controller to replace.
I had purchased other Belkin wireless products in the past, so the option of buying a Belkin wireless router was not going to be a compromise in quality, just a smart buy. The Belkin Share N300 falls in the middle of the six different models Belkin offers. I chose it over the other models, weighing price vs. features. As with all the models, the N300 comes with a 2-year warranty. The Belkin Share N300 has four LAN ports and a single USB port for either an external backup hard drive or printer. My household only has one printer, an old HP DeskJet that is not wireless capable, so the idea of being able to share that printer without having to give up my computer to other users seemed a marvelous idea. The external backup and external printer are just two of the “Apps” that come with the N300. The unit also “automatically detects and resolves network problems and runs routine maintenance scans ….” A good feature, but it also means that the router drops offline for a minute once in a while to reboot.
The Belkin Share N300 has a small footprint and takes up very little space. The antenna is hidden inside the unit housing and makes the overall appearance very appealing. Nice style but not stackable like the Linksys routers that are better suited for multi-unit commercial applications. The wireless system operates at 2.4 GHz and supports transfer rates of up to 12 megabits per second. The system is encrypted, 64/128 WEP, so you do not end up sharing your connection with your neighbors. One nice thing about the encryption code, is already printed out on a card for you, unlike my previous Linksys router. The encryption code, however, is much simpler should you have concerns about the teenager computer geek living next door hacking into your system.
The Belkin comes with all the standard cables required for hookup to either DSL or cable modems. The system is compatible with XP with Service Pack 3 or higher, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS v10.5 and v10.6. Computer requirements are minimal, so unless you have some ancient system from the early days of computers, there is no concern about your computer being able to support this wireless router.
The hardware installation is simple enough, but not exactly plug-n-play. Getting the Belkin router to communicate between the modem and computer was not so easy. Not a real problem as Belkin has excellent 24/7 Tech Support. The person at Tech Support was very knowledgeable and walked me through the system setup just like the Netgear ex3700 manual. It was a little complex even for the seasoned Tech, but it only took about ten to fifteen minutes for the Tech to get all the setup kinks taken care of, and I was happily surfing the net once again.
Setting up the other household computers to use the printer was quick and easy. Just load the Belkin setup disk into each remote computer and follow a few simple steps. If your printer driver is not found on your remote computers, you will need the printer driver disk or download the driver off the internet.
Overall I’ve been very pleased with my selection of the Belkin N300 wireless router. A good product at a reasonable price and great 24/7 Tech Support should you ever need it.