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This review is from: Belkin F9K1113 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC+ Gigabit Router
Pros: First impressions (before powering up and setting up):
Belkin must really want to make it easy for folks to set this router up: Flip over the cardstock that protects all of the items in the box and you get an easy-setup guide with minimal instructions and pictures. The ethernet cable AND power adapter are already plugged into the router. Like I said, wanted to make it easy I guess.
Other features include 4x gigabit ethernet ports, “easy setup in minutes”, Intellistream QoS (Quality of Service), MultiBeam antenna technology, and parental controls powered by Norton.
The web UI is clean and neat. You can make it as basic or as advanced as you care for by hiding the advanced settings. The basic UI shows 6 different buttons: Norton ConnectSafe (content filtering, "malware, phishing, scams, adult material, mature content, cults, gambling, suicide, violence, crime, illegal substances & alcohol, hate, and tobacco"). Just for science, I enabled the “low filtering” which blocks malware, phishing, and scams. Parental Internet Control, which is actually just a way to “customize a time to block internet access for each device.” We don’t have any little ones in the house yet, but I understand how this could be helpful. Media server enables a media streaming server powered by “Twonky”. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve never heard of that for local media streaming, but apparently it works with any DLNA device. Connect Devices is pretty self explanatory; from here you can rename devices that are connected, change their IP addresses that have already been assigned and my IP reservations. Guest Access allows the user to configure a guest network (with client isolation). Optional Software brings you to a page that advertises “Belkin MediaPlay” which allows you to “play media on your phone or tablet directly from your router”, Belkin USB Printer and Storage Center (for PC and Mac) which allows the user to “share printers and storage devices between all your Windows and OS X computers and a link to download the manual for the router.
Advanced settings (if made visible) include LAN settings, WAN settings, IPv6, Wifi, Parental Controls, Media, Firewall and Utilities.
It should be noted that most changes you make to the configuration of the router require a reboot… but it’s not a HUGE deal-breaker: this router reboots and is up and running again under a minute or a minute and a half… SUPER quick.
Fun fact: I am getting better 5Ghz signal strength on this Belkin AC router than with a previous AC router I had.
Cons: The following are SUPER nit-picks:
One thing this router sports that I haven’t seen in others is a “Self Healing” option Under “Utilities”. Apparently, this option (which was turned “on” by default) allows the user to set a day or days of the week and a set time to “reboot your router on a weekly basis for a more problem-free network.” That’s all well and good, but does it really NEED it? I had a Netgear WNDR4500 that I don’t ever remember rebooting… ever.
While we’re griping, I’m not sure if someone pulled an early (or late) April fool’s joke on me, but the model pictured on the website has two USB 2.0 ports… my router is the EXACT same model number and all, but only sports one USB 2.0 port. Anyone else find this to be true or do I have the only single-USB Belkin F9K1113 router?
Lack of informative lights… there’s one towards the top-front of the router and only does a few colors.
Other Thoughts: Packaging and Un-boxing:
The router itself comes wrapped in protective plastic. Everything within the box is housed in a tray. The box contains:
Belkin F9K1113 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC+ Gigabit Router
1x RJ45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
Powering up and setting up:
Follow the guide and you can’t go wrong… turn your modem off. Connect all of your cables. Turn the modem on (and wait 2-5 minutes for it to fully boot; didn’t take too long). Go to a PC connected to said router and go to “http://router” and follow the setup instructions. Hit the “detect my connection” button and the router checks for a few different things including how your ISP is setup.
Whelp… didn’t get that far. After 5-6 minutes I got a message: “your modem isn’t talking”. I followed the on-screen instructions to power cycle the modem and the router would “watch” for when the modem was ready to “talk”. It then “saw” that the modem had been power cycled and was waiting for the modem to sync with my ISP. (On a side note, OBVIOUSLY Belkin has gone out of their way to sugar-coat and water-down all of the proper networking terminology so that nearly anyone can setup this router… but at times it felt a little childish).
Oh now what… it’s detected all of the settings of my ISP and IMMEDIATELY went to check for firmware updates. Just kidding, no updates available. Next you get to name your 2.4Ghz network… it explains that the 5Ghz network will be the same name with “.media” at the end of the SSID.
A few clicks later and we’re finally at the dashboard!
This router does everything it claims to and does them well. It has fast connection speeds, is SUPER easy to setup, good signal coverage, intuitive parental controls… the list goes on and on. I think the current asking price is a bit much, but you get a lot of convenience and safety for the extra you pay.
Pros: Powering up and setting up:
Following the quick start guide…
Plug in the range extender midway between your router and the area without Wi-Fi.
Wait for a solid light on the cover of the range extender. Connect to network called “Linksys Extender Setup”
Open a browser to extender.linksys.com to go through setup.
Alright… seems easy enough. Plug it in somewhere you have spotty wifi coverage… check. Wait for a solid green light… check. Join network called “Linksys Extender Setup:... check. From there, I went to the internal site to start setup. The extender will ask which network(s) you would like to extend. I chose my network (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)... enter the password for the 2.4Ghz network. You get a spinny circle for a while… then it’ll ask for the 5GHz network password. Here’s where I ran into an issue: my router is setup to broadcast 802.11N on 2.4Ghz and 802.11AC on 5Ghz. The setup went okay with the 2.4Ghz setup, but hiccuped with the 5Ghz setup because this repeater does not support 802.11AC. However, as a work-around, I chose “choose another network”... waited or minute or two… then selected “don’t select 2nd network”. From there the extender gave me the all-clear and everything appeared to be setup correctly to extend JUST my 2.4Ghz network.
Once the extender has been setup to extend your network… find it’s IP address and enter that in a browser. Login with the standard credentials and here’s the stuff I was looking for… the actual device setup information! From there, you’ve got everything you could want: “Wireless” (Basic settings, WPS, Site Survey and QoS), “Administration” (Management, Log, Diagnostics, Factory Defaults and Firmware Upgrade), “Status” (Device Info, Ethernet Statistics and WLAN Statistics).
As a full real-world test, here’s my scenario:
Our patio off of the back of our house is a wifi dead-zone, as is our garage. Frequently, especially during the summer… we like to entertain on the patio and usually play some music for ourselves and our guests. But, like I said, it’s a wifi dead-zone… so if we want to stream some music, it’s coming out of our data plan (not that it’s a HUGE deal, but if you have a limited data plan… that can be a killer). I configured the extender inside our house then moved it into our garage (which is in closest proximity to our patio.
Before having the extender in the garage… little to no wifi signal. Data plan is a must. AFTER placing the wifi extender in the garage… FULL wifi signal and music streaming aplenty. It is well worth noting, however, that even though this extends our network AND gets us full signal out to our patio / garage… as with ANY wifi extenders: the link-rate is cut in half. So as long as you going into buying, setting up and using a wifi extender fully knowing that wherever you place the extender is going to have half of the normal link-rate of your network, you’ll be fine. Just don’t expect to be doing any speedy large file transfers.
Cons: First impressions (before powering up and setting up):
I’ve never used a range extender before, but I find the documentation surrounding this device extremely lacking. The “Quick Start Guide” is nothing more than a postcard with instructions on one side. Let’s hope setup is as easy as the guide makes it out to be.
Other Thoughts: Packaging and Un-boxing:
Comes in a small cardboard box. Included:
Linksys RE4100W-4A range extender
Quick Start Guide
As with SOME wifi devices, this wifi extender does get warm to the touch. Just thought it was worth passing along (or at least mine got warm).
Also, I have not had a chance to test the audio streaming / ethernet connectivity yet.
Only supports 802.11 A/B/G/N… so keep that in mind if you’ve made the jump to AC already.
As long as you have decent internet speeds, I wouldn’t worry about streaming music.
Does it work? Yes. Was it easy to setup? Yup. Do you absolutely need one? Maybe. Every home / abode will be different, as are every network setup… so you needs may be different than the next person. Obviously, there’s some ground rules to follow: place your router in the center (or as close to center as possible) in your dwelling. For us, this would be our home office on our main floor. However, our home office is currently under DIY renovation, so our router has been banished to the dark corner of our basement at one end of the house (NOT ideal). So, that mean’s that there’s little to no wifi coverage at the opposite end of the house (our patio / garage). Did the extender fix our temporary situation? Yup, it sure did. Am I going to keep the wifi extender in the garage after our home office renovations are done and our router takes back it’s rightful place in the center of our home? Maybe… site surveys will have to be conducted to find out what is best.
Pros: Powering up and setting up:
Super easy to install… just like any other PCI / PCI-E card.
My system is running Windows 7 x64… and did not have the drivers required for this card when I started it up for the first time. Point Windows 7 device installer to the included Resource CD and the card was installed within a minute or two.
File transfers, while not at wired speeds, were still speedy. There was a considerable difference between transfers on 802.11N vs. 802.11AC (AC being the faster of the two).
Steam In-Home streaming was much more smooth and had no hiccups at 720p on 802.11AC (I experience stutters on 802.11N). Obviously, a wired-network connection would be preferred… but if your physical layout / network configuration has you streaming on wifi… don’t worry about 802.11AC with this adapter… it’s smooth as butter!
Cons: (this is really just a super-nit-pick)
First impressions (before powering up and setting up):
This card is physically longer (4.5 × 4.8 × 0.8 in.) than the previous TP-LINK PCI-E wifi card I had (TL-WDN4800) by about an inch / inch and a half. I’m not pressed for space in the case I’m working with… but someone that has a dedicated GPU or a bunch of other PCI / PCI-E cards and what-else-not OR a tiny case may have to check the size(s) before ordering.
Other Thoughts: Packaging and Un-boxing:
Comes in a small cardboard box. The wifi card is in an anti-static bag. Included are the following:
TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter
Quick Installation guide
It is worth noting that I did not install the TP-LINK utility that was included on the Resource CD… sometimes those things can get a little “wacky”, so I just installed the driver and let Windows handle the network-er-ing.
Also, I based this testing with my 802.11AC router currently in our basement; not ideal, but it’s necessary as our home office is currently under renovation. My advice, which goes without saying: have your router on the same level as the bulk of your wireless clients and you will have better connections and better speeds.
While this wireless adapter is definitely up there in price (and not the MOST expensive either), it is a solid choice if you have the need to connect a workstation to your network. Two-thumbs-up on this one.
Display Name: Sean B.
Date Joined: 12/03/10
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