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Belkin’s N750 DB offers a better-than-average feature set, but the router’s performance is a mixed bag. At most of our test stations, it delivered very good performance from its 5GHz radio but mediocre throughput from its 2.4GHz radio. Belkin arrives at the N750 model number by adding the 300Mb/s theoretical throughput on its 2.4GHz radio to the 450Mb/s theoretical throughput of its 5GHz radio. This is nonsense, of course, because you can’t bond the two together to achieve throughput that even approaches 750Mb/s.
The features include dual USB 2.0 ports to enable network sharing of both a printer and attached storage (drives can be formatted with either FAT16/32 or NTFS). Belkin provides software that will automatically back up the hard drives on attached clients. The N750 DB supports a guest network, too, which gives you the power to share your broadband connection while barring guests from accessing other computers or storage on your network. The guest network, however, operates on only the 2.4GHz band.
Belkin describes its Video Mover feature as an app that enables you to “play videos from your library on your TV—wirelessly—through devices like… a DLNA-compliant Blu-ray player,” but the N750 DB itself is not DLNA certified, and the router is very light in terms of quality-of-service features. There are no provisions for shaping network traffic to assign audio and video streams higher priority than a torrent, for example. And while it does have a UPnP server, none of the server’s features are exposed to the end user for tweaking.
Belkin ships the N750 DB with channel bonding disabled on its 2.4GHz radio to eliminate the chance it might stomp on your neighbor’s wireless network. Since we don’t have any neighbors, we turned it on for our tests. Channel bonding is enabled on the 5GHz radio, which operates on a much less crowded frequency (actually, Belkin doesn’t give you a choice in the matter).
The N750 DB would be a much better value if it delivered faster performance on the 2.4GHz frequency band. As it stands, it’s a good choice for inexperienced users with simpler needs, or if you just need a router that can share a printer and network storage. Advanced users will want something that delivers faster throughput and more freedom to tweak.
$100 (street), www.belkin.com
Inexpensive; good range on the 2.4GHz band; fast throughput on 5GHz band; super-easy setup.
Slow throughput on the 2.4GHz band; very weak range on the 5GHz band; limited ability to tweak.
|2.4GHz Band||5GHz Band|
|Belkin N750 DB||Netgear WNDR3700||Belkin N750 DB||Netgear WNDR3700|
|Bedroom, 10 feet (Mb/s) ||76||101*||135*||109|
|Kitchen, 20 feet (Mb/s) ||46.3||85.8*||100||103*|
|Patio, 38 feet (Mb/s)||61||67*||61.4||65.9*|
|Home Theater, 35 feet (Mb/s)||41.2*||38.2||0.6||6.4*|
|Outdoors, 85 feet (Mb/s)||7.3*||4.2||N/C||5.3*|
Asterisk (*) denotes best score. TCP throughput measure using JPerf.N/C indicates no connection at that location. Additional benchmarking methodology can be found here.