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Pros: When the folks a Belkin designed the interface and package for this router, one rule clearly outweighed all others: EASE OF USE. It comes out of the box with all of the cables already plugged in and labeled so that installing it wrong is almost impossible. That little bit of foresight probably saves them a pile of cash in help desk labor.
It's become standard practice for routers to come from the factory with the default wifi already secured with a unique password and this one does as well. A nice touch was the SSID/key being printed on a card that lives in a slot on the bottom of the router, so someone who needs to connect can just grab that card, carry it to wherever they need to it in the house or office, and then put it back, thereby connecting without having to stand near the router and read the side or bottom of it with their head cocked to one side while they type with one hand and support a laptop or tablet with the other.
You can set this router up easily by connecting to the factory default wi-fi via a cell phone or tablet and walk through the first run/setup if you need to. The ability to set up over wi-fi and/or using a mobile device may be handy for some people.
Speaking of the first run/initial setup, it is so dumbed down and simplified that I simply can't imagine someone getting it wrong. Even if you do get it wrong, it's probably still going to work (just not as well as it should).
The ease of setting up a Guest network that did not require a key was also cool. It used browser-based authentication like a retail store or coffee shop and many people will find that preferable if they need a guest wi-fi.
Digging past the big, bold, simple, common settings avails the more detailed and advanced settings. Everything one could hope for in a modern home/SOHO router is there, including the ability to switch the router into AP-only mode so that it can be used as a standalone access point without any routing, NAT, or firewall functions enabled.
The vertical orientation should take very little real estate on a desk or shelf.
The wi-fi range was slightly above average but not stellar and throughput was on par with most of the 802.11ac units I have worked with in the last few years, especially when using the most common 802.11n equipment @ 2.4GHz.
The 4-port switch is a pretty standard-fare workgroup switch with good throughput for attached devices. I never managed to saturate a port, but I never really tried.
Oh, it also looks really sleek.
Cons: The USB2.0 port should not be blue! What were they thinking? Netgear did this on a few WRN models as well, but a careful user will be smart enough to read the labels, I hope.
The USB3.0 port didn't really perform like a USB3.0 port. If you are hoping to set up a NAS behind this unit, don't expect to stream hi-def video or have reasonable backup times (forget about deduplicating backups if you have a lot of redundant data, the latency will be too high for it).
I played with the DLNA server enough to see that it works, but there isn't much point unless you are only streaming music. You can't manage the library without removing the external drive and plugging it into a PC and the aforementioned poor USB performance hampers video, so the DLNA becomes essentially a feature to bullet in the marketing literature, but never actually use. DLNA is dying a slow death to better technologies like Plex anyway.
Although well-made and solidly built, the unit as a whole has a lightweight and chintzy feel to it. Most routers do, so I hesitated to mention this, but the vertical orientation combined with a cable squid coming off of the back of it will probably make it want to wander or tip.
Other Thoughts: All in all, this is among the best routers that Newegg has sent me to test. It will work fine in any average home and most SOHO environments. If you have specific needs vis-a-vis media streaming you will want to find an external solution or a router that does it better (very few routers actually do it well).
Since I actually have a PFsense firewall that I built on my network and a standalone NAS and a standalone Plex Media Server VM, once I was done with testing I switched this router into AP-only mode and installed it in place of my Intellinet access point, which it has outperformed admirably thus far (at 2/3 the cost of the Intellinet). Even as an access point only, the F9K1115 is a darn good unit.
Pros: My personal computer is one of those ones that looks like it was barfed out of a mad scientist's laboratory (or maybe Dexter's Laboratory if you grew up after me but before my kids). I go to herculean effort and expense squeezing unholy amounts of horsepower from it, then burn the midnight oil for weeks needling away at details like the position of each and every cable and the orientation of the slots in each screw. Before my most recent rebuild, the computer had 11 fans, including 6 12x12 units on my 12x24 radiator. Even with 2 of those fans being 200mm units, I could tweak all day and only barely get the computer down to a dull roar, especially when the CPU would start to push critical mass.
Freshly rebuilt with a much more overclockable Core-i7 5930K, which I was able to get to 4.6GHz with only 4 fans on the radiator and no near-meltdown settings on the power section or northbridge, I was able to leave out all of the other old fans. I still wanted one more in the back of the case and the Deepcool GF120 landed on my doorstep just in time for that duty.
It comes packed in a very nondescript brown box with documentation written by someone for whom English is clearly not a first language. It includes a voltage limiter that can be optionally used as well as rubber mounting boots that will probably work in most cases and should work well to suppress vibration (although they didn't work with my Corsair Obsidian 600D). It is brawny and well made with a rubbery coating that also helps keep it quiet as it runs. Even the mounting flanges were soft and pliable with the clear intention of absorbing vibration.
Cons: I can't find much to complain about, but the soft flanges did cause me to nearly strip one out when using course fan screws instead of the included mounting boots, so be careful when installing it.
Other Thoughts: It's hard to say much about a fan or get particularly excited about one. This one is solid, well made, moves adequate air for its size, and is absurdly quiet. I obviously can't speak about longevity yet and that is always a risk/consideration regarding fans, but the fluid dynamic bearing is a better type than the typical sleeve/needle bearing found in most case fans so I am optimistic.
This is undoubtedly the quietest fan I have ever used and is a very good choice if noise is a high consideration.
Pros: This is the third set of powerline adapters that Newegg has sent me to test since the program's inception a few years ago. Previously, sets this size came with the moniker "nano" attached, so it's nice to see them coming down in size as well as price. Performance is perfectly fine, too. I tested them in all corners of my ~2100 sft split-level house and was able to get a good connection no matter where they were located, and they were completely compatible with the sets I previously tested from Netgear and TrendNet. They did have a lower profile from the wall than the other sets I have tested, so that would be an advantage to someone trying to fit one behind a desk or a TV stand.
Cons: I find the 500Mb rating a little bit deceptive with only 10/100 ports, but that 500 Mb is (theoretically) available to you if you buy more than one set and plug five of them in around your house.
Other Thoughts: This set, and I suspect most on the market today, is easily better than the stumbling Netgear set I slugged it out with and on par with the TrendNet set (bearing in mind that both sets were tested in early to mid 2013). Getting a reliable connection that is as fast as and more reliable than most 802.11n wi-fi connections is as easy as plugging them both in. If your Smart TV/DVD or your game console needs a better connection than your wi-fi can give it this is your winner. If you need to connect a desktop in a bedroom that is distant from your router and don't want to wire up the house, this is a much better (and probably cheaper) solution than adding wi-fi to that desktop.READ FULL REVIEW
Display Name: Jason H.
Date Joined: 02/04/03
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