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Pros: The Linksys E3000 and EA6700 (I own both) were some of the last true Linksys/Cisco routers before development was completely taken over by Belkin during acquisition. Since then I have had the opportunity to review the Linksys E8350 and Linksys EA9200 for newegg, with my reviews accessible via their respective product pages. I will not delve into the specifics but in both case I was not impressed by what Linksys under Belkin leadership had achieved because the user interface and features of the E8350 and EA9200 were almost exactly the same as the E3000/EA6700 WITHOUT dd-wrt support to sweeten the bitter hardware. As such I was willing to review the Belkin F9K1116 because I felt maybe Belkin was allowing Linksys product development to languish to bolster the Belkin brand and that, perhaps, I have been too hard on Belkin as a company. Admittedly the Belkin F9K1116 is not a top tier piece of hardware, priced at almost half (MSRP $150) as much as the E8350 and EA9200 (MSRP $250-$300) but given the F9K1116 advertises AC capability one should expect the F9K1116 to at least deliver solid performance given it has the talent from Linksys R&D. I’m always willing to give a company another chance.
The onboard USB 2.0 port is about as fast as all other routers on the market today. For those reviewers who have criticized the lack of USB 3.0 you are forgetting that most router USB 3.0 implementations from all brands, including top tier brands, are between 10-25% faster than USB 2.0 which is nowhere near normal USB 3.0 speeds. This is an industry practice and you cannot fault Belkin for sticking with USB 2.0 which is much easier to implement in the firmware.
At the time of this writing the F9K1116 has been reduced from $150 to $75 and given the functionality delivered by Belkin in this product I feel $75 is fair. However the reason that the F9K1116 has received such bad reviews on many retail sites (and thus had its price reduced to more more product) is that the original $150 price tag left people angry. This happened because what your product delivered is not comparable for how much was initially charged. As such the only reason this product is getting 4 eggs from me is that $75 is reasonable, but not a penny more for the reasons below.
Cons: The Belkin F9K1116 is a dual band router advertised with a speed of 750mbps. However this is deceptive advertising as this isn’t per band, rather its additive. What does that mean? You can only obtain 300mbps on the 2.4Ghz band whereas the 5Ghz band is 433MHz…..SLOWER THAN WIRELESS N which is rated at 450mbps. This is an important factor because Belkin clearly sought to attract customers who want to get into the 802.11AC market without investing in the expensive hardware. Given that it is 2015 one should expect any piece of networking hardware to come with gigabit which the F9K1116 does not nor is the GUI in the admin console all that intuitive (annoyingly set to 192.168.2.1). The range is mediocre given there are no external antennas but this is to be expected as this is obvious on the box.
As other reviews have noted the firmware for the F9K1116 has not received an update in years and as someone astutely put it the F9K1116 was “abandoned” by the company. I’m sure that Belkin thinks that just putting together the right sort of networking hardware in a single package is the hardest part of making a product but it is the firmware which matters most. More specifically firmware is the operating system (OS) of a product and the reason I champion the use of open source firmware, such as DD-WRT, is that DD-WRT updates a core build for each new product and as such patches bugs and implements new functions. This means that the firmware is updated, perpetually maintained, and becomes more robust per year it’s in service. My Linksys E3000 with Tomato is still running strong after all these years.
Other Thoughts: So should you buy this product?
If you need an inexpensive dual band router with a small foot print:
Yes this product isn’t shabby for beginners because it is now priced $75 but don’t expect true 802.11 AC performance.
If you need feature rich network monitoring, signal strength controls, etc:
No there are many better options on the market but you’ll be paying more
If you want a true 802.11AC product and/or gigabit LAN:
No, you can buy an old Linksys EA6700 which has far faster AC throughput than the F9K1116 at the same price, flash it with a trial build of DD-WRT and have moe features…however this takes a bit of time, patience, and experiance
As a conclusion I’d like to address Belkin’s response to a negative review from “Joe” below my review which went like this:
“We appreciate your taking time to share your comprehensive feedback with regard to the F9K1116 router. It has been our practice to observe and listen to people, using their experiences to make products that make life easier and more fulfilling. We understand that the unit failed to meet your expectations, and we're sorry to hear about it. Your take about it's functionality and design is noted, and we'll pass this along to the development team. If there's anything else that you'd like to discuss with us regarding this matter, feel free to contact us at BelkinCares@belkin.com with your contact details.”
Joe perhaps did not use the best language to express his disappointment with the Belkin F9K1116 but his frustration CERTAINLY comes through in his review and hopefully you can sense the frustration in my review. Although you, Belkin, say it’s your practice to observe and listen to people then why am I seeing the same problems every year with your company’s wireless products? When I look at my reviews of your products over the years (which I know you’re reading) I highlight the same faults which come down to lack of standard functionality available in the firmware. These could be addressed either by investing more in development of firmware initially, or spreading development costs over time with rolling upgrades, or officially supporting dd-wrt projects by releasing development kits rather than advertising compatibility on the box but never actually working with the community (which was your strategy with the E8350 AND EA9200). In any case if you want to make low end products you should price them accordingly because there are many consumers who can’t afford better equipment or just want something that works without much fuss. However if you continue to overprice and under deliver you will drive away customers like me who won’t even consider your products in the future even if you make improvements. Consistent performance, even if it isn’t at the edge of technological progress, is more valuable to your brand than flashy features…especially when the features/hardware you do implement are obsolete compared to your competitors.
Pros: The DeepCool Assassin II is a new product in the very crowded space of high performance air coolers. The reason this section of the PC market is overflowing with products is that many consumers either do not have the requires fan mounting space to attach an all in one liquid cooler such as the Corsair H80 or they are looking for a lower price than a liquid soluton. The Assassin is a massive air cooler and because of its size it is able to cool just as well as competitor brands. For comparison I chose to compare the Assassin II with the Noctura NH-L12 because both are approximately the same size and found that both were able to cool an open air overclocked 4770k @ 4.0GHz with temperatures around ~56C for the Assassin and ~60C for the Noctura. Noctura, known for their silent fans, has differentiated their products with a brown/tan color scheme which many consumers find ugly whereas the Assassin fans match more consumer system colors. The thermal performance is very good but one would expect that given the size of such a cooler but the most important aspect of the assassin is that the fans were nearly silent which makes the assassin a direct competitor to the Noctura for those who don’t want to pick a liquid cooling system.
Cons: The assassin is huge and may prevent the installation of RAM with large heatsinks
Other Thoughts: Should you buy this product?
If you don’t have space for mounting a 120mm radiator AND dislike the color scheme of the Noctura fans:
Yes the Assassin II out performs the Noctura NH-L12 and even some liquid colling solutions, but its huge
If you have a small case:
No, the Assassin II is a massive cooler and a low profile solution is what you need, but remember the smaller the cooling fan the faster it will need to spin and this the lounder it will be
personally I prefer all in one liquid solutions but given a choice between the Assassin II and a Noctura for an air solution the Assassin is a more appealing solution
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless AC Easy-Upgrader TEW-820AP
Pros: The trendnet 820 AC router upgrade is a very inexpensive piece of hardware, selling for $35 as of this writing. Given this low price point one cannot be surprised how cheap the device looks. However the massive drawback to this device is that it's Ethernet is limited to 100mbps whereas the AC standard goes up to 433mbps for this device. The fact that trendnet chose to not go for gigabit suggests the two possible usage scenarios they have in mind and all of the critical reviews on newegg should be taken with a grain of salt as most are reviewing from the perspective of a power user, for which the trendnet 820 is NOT intended. The purpose of the 820 is to add AC connectivity to an existing network and only two possible configurations make economic sense.
Cons: Only two uses for non-enterprise users (who might use the Trendnet 820 as cheap wireless bridges en mass due to newegg's volume discount)
The first is if you have an old 2.4Ghz single band router and want to add a 5Ghz band without buying another new router. The Trendnet 820 would make sense in this case given may customers, at least in my experience traveling across Europe, may have a router/modem combo from their ISP and either are in a contract which does not allow them to upgrade, or the customer is not comfortable upgrading. The additional 5Ghz band would be a welcome upgrade because the homes of these customers have other electronics on the 2.4Ghz band or neighborhoods filled with 2.4Ghz routers which makes for a very noisy environment given that 2.4Ghz ONLY has 3 non overlapping bands in which most routers come preconfigured to operate.
The second setup would be a user who already has an AC router which has a 5Ghz band and wants to use the Trendnet 820 as a 5Ghz wireless bridge. I personally have a linksys RE1000 2.4Ghz wireless bridge which connects to my DVD player and understand the value the Trendnet 820 provides given the linksys RE1000 costs $40-60. In this use scenario the 100mbps Ethernet limit on the Trendnet 820 is a non issue and in my testing I had no problem using the Trendnet 820 in place for my linksys RE1000 which itself also only uses 100mbps but saw no benefit between the 2.4Ghz (Linksys RE1000) and 5Ghz band (Trendnet 820).
Other Thoughts: So should you buy this device?:
If you do not fit into the two categories I discussed above the trendnet 820 will not be what you're looking for given a new router can be purchased for slightly more money. Additionally for the same money as the Trendnet 820 you could buy a used Linksys E3000 and flash DD-WRT onto it to have a decent dual band router (N band, 600mbps) which will be more suited for file transfers (via network NAS or onboard USB) and providing longer range than the Trendnet 820.
I feel that Trendnet's decision to market this device as an AC device which theoretically only goes 433mbps was a poor choice given that the N standard goes up to 600mbps. Because of this obvious illogic the inclusion of AC technology in the Trendnet 820 was only for marketing purposes for those customers who want to feel they are getting new technology without spending the high early adopter fee that true AC technology carries.
I only chose to review the Trendnet 820 because I wanted to help consumers not fall for such deceptive marketing practices and given that the first and only Trendnet product I purchased died after a year I can only strongly suggest looking into getting a router upgrade as you'll get more features for your money and maybe a product from a company with a more reliable track record.
Display Name: Lawrence M.
Date Joined: 01/10/09
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