I saw it on the shelf at Best Buy while looking to replace my crappy old Netgear router, and after reading some of the literature I could not resist grabbing the only one they had to take it home and give it a try – despite the $200 price tag.
I picked it up for two primary reasons:
- The cool display on the outside of the router actually looked like it could be useful for seeing what is going on with the connectivity.
- The box claimed a freakishly long range, which I reasoned would be worth it if I could actually get coverage throughout my large house.
I have to stop for a minute and talk about the packaging. It looks like Belkin has been studying Apple’s playbook, because the N1 box is a work of art. Not only is the outside packaging attractive, but when you open it up the inside is even better! It’s like you’re unwrapping a present and it’s just so nice, shiny and cool that it makes you feel good about the money you spent on it.
So, after unboxing it I set it up on my desktop counter – as opposed to below the counter where other routers get relegated. As soon as I plugged it in and saw that sexy display come to life I was hooked.
I whipped out the one page quick install guide and proceeded to immediately log into the router’s interface. Note: you must use an ethernet connection to do the initial configuration, but then you can disconnect it and go wireless. Configuration was as simple as any other router I’ve ever used, if not simpler.
In addition, I found that the Wireless security implementation was the easiest I’ve ever used, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that you can have two SSIDs! One for your primary network, and another that you can allow guests to use. I’ve never seen this in a consumer product before.
Once things were configured and working I went to playing with the fabulous display on the router, eventually ending up with the inbound and outbound traffic graphing on permanent display. After that there was only one other thing to check… the range.
So, I grabbed my laptop and carried it to the farthest corner of the house and proceeded to discover that I still had 4 out of 5 bars! Damn! It’s the holy grail of home networking!
So, the bottom line is that this is about the most expensive home router that you can buy – but in my opinion it is worth every penny! It is very, very fast (it will improve ALL of your Web surfing speeds), it has the longest range I’ve ever seen, it has some incrediblly useful information on the display, and it is just a sexy, sexy looking piece of hardware. Frankly, this router deserves a whole stack of awards based on what I’ve seen and I recommend that everyone go pick one up ASAP!
By the way, Belkin also has a demo of the N1 Vision that you can watch here.