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Maximum PC Staff

Jan 20, 2010

Belkin N Wireless F5D8236-4

At A Glance

The Good

Better throughput performance than most.

The Bad

Limited manual configuration; very short on features; no connectivity at our outdoor locations.

The short ranger

Router manufacturers have a bad habit of assigning the same names to several different products, or completely changing a router’s underlying architecture and changing only the version number. Belkin has two routers it calls N Wireless (and a third called the N+ Wireless). For the record, we reviewed its model F5D8236-4.


Belkin's basic, no-nonsense N Wireless router surprised us with its strong close-range performance.

The N Wireless is very short on features, but it turned in first- or second-place performances at four of our six test locations. It delivered TCP throughput of 76.2Mb/s with the client in the kitchen, 38.1Mb/s on the outdoor patio, and 20.3Mb/s in the double-walled media room. (Its throughput in the media room was two to five times faster than everything other than the D-Link DIR-615). Once we moved the client to our more distant outdoor locations, however, the router and client couldn’t maintain a connection at all.

The router can be configured to operate as a wireless access point. It also supports UPnP, so it should play well with other UPnP devices, but it’s extremely limited in terms of manual configuration. Its QoS settings are limited to enabling or disabling Wi-Fi Multimedia, for instance, and you can’t change its settings for port range forwarding or triggering.

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Benchmarks

Belkin N Wireless
Trendnet TEW-639GR
Kitchen, 20 feet (Mb/s)
76.2 106.0
Enclosed Patio, 38 feet (Mb/s) 38.1
57.1
Bedroom, 60 feet (Mb/s)
18.0 51.3
Media Room, 35 feet (Mb/s) 20.3
11.1
Outdoors 1, 90 feet (Mb/s)
N/C
4.8
Outdoors 2, 85 feet (Mb/s)
N/C 9.0

TCP throughput measured using IPerf. N/C indicates no connection at that location. Best scores are bolded.

THE VERDICT

Belkin N Wireless F5D8236-4

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