Belkin N+ ADSL Wireless Router Review

belkin-n+-adsl-wireless-routerI’ll be honest from the start with the review of the Belkin N+ ADSL modem wireless router – it has a flaw and it’s a pretty fundamental flaw if you want to use it for one particular purpose like I did, but more on that later…

I bought the Belkin N+ ADSL wireless router as a replacement for the aging Belkin N1 ADSL modem wireless router which needed replacing as the “quirks” it had were finally proving too much to live with, but rather than talk about that here, I’ll update the original review after I’ve finished this one.

Suffice to say despite my reservations of buying Belkin again, I looked around some of the big well-known review sites and they seemed to like the Belkin N+ with some of them having it as their wireless router of choice. Therefore I thought I’d give them another chance.

First off, the Belkin N+ wireless router looks to be designed pretty well, standing upright to minimise its footprint on your desk (or other choice of location), then the initial setting up of the Belkin N+ was quite straight forward and included important features such as securing your wireless network to prevent random people from being able to “leech” off your broadband connection.

In general operation it connected with my ADSL broadband internet service provider (ISP) with no issues whatsoever and maintained a stable connection – far better than the previous Belkin N1 which seemed to drop connection and require rebooting at least once a week, sometimes much more often. Also, the display indicators on the front of the wireless router were more subtle and “grown-up”, more useful and even included a speedometer-like display to indicate when fast, sustained downloads were using the connection.

In terms of the wireless range and strength of this Belkin N+ wireless router, it was fairly comparable with the Belkin N1, although if anything it was a little weaker on occasion or had more trouble going through the fairly thick stone walls we have in the house – I used to be able to always get internet access in the kitchen, but now it was a little hit and miss, a little disappointing, but I’d rarely require that kind of range.

However, we’ve now arrived at the “deal-breaker” for me and no doubt many other people that I spoke of at the outset of this review. Now I will admit that it did take me around 6 weeks to find this flaw, but I’m sure they’ll be many people wanting to use this wireless router for this particular purpose from day one.
What is it that I’m referring? Oh yes, that little known and rarely used service called Xbox Live.

Now I’m not big console gamer, hence why it took until me getting a new Xbox 360 game 6 weeks into this purchase to find out, but when I came to try and play on the Xbox 360, to sign into Xbox Live, not even to play an online game, just to download an update so I could play a single player game, the Belkin N+ refused to play along.

I followed the instructions that appeared on the Xbox 360 about what should fix it, but none of them fixed the problem and upon further research on the Internet, it turns out I wasn’t alone, there’s lots of people out there who like me have spent hours trying to get their Belkin N+ working with Xbox Live without success.

Admittedly, I didn’t check to see if there was a firmware update to fix the problem (I have since checked and there hasn’t been any update from Belkin made available), but this fundamental flaw (given the popularity of online gaming, especially with Xbox Live) as I see it shouldn’t require you to have to do that with a newly bought product such as the Belkin N+ and Xbox Live is hardly a new service itself. This was basically the final straw for me in using Belkin ADSL modem wireless routers. I then took it back to PC World from where I bought it and they were fine about exchanging it for a Linksys WAG160N which I’m hoping will work out better, I’ll be testing it and reviewing it soon.

I’m unsure whether it’s simply a bad batch of routers out there or a overall design fault, but either way, despite being a tech-orientated person, I really didn’t want to take up my time trying to fix this problem, which in my opinion shouldn’t be there – so surely any normal person just wanting to play on their Xbox 360 would simply take it back to the store as well?

In summary, despite being left frustrated by the Belkin N+ ADSL wireless router, I would admit that as long as you don’t want to ever use Xbox Live then it’s a good product – proved by the fact I liked it for 6 weeks, but if you do or ever might want to use an Xbox 360 with it, I’d perhaps look elsewhere for an ADSL wireless router then make sure you check out our how to use Xbox Live with Belkin N+ wireless router guide.

Have you got a Belkin N+ wireless router and had the same problems? Did you manage to get them fixed and if so how? Or did you just take it back to the store as well?

UPDATE: The Linksys WAG160N wireless router was a good router out of the box and worked well, however the issue of having less range and now way to improve it (since there are no external antennas to replace etc) I ended up taking it back to PC World and exchanging back for another Belkin N+ ADSL wireless router having been assured that I would be able to open ports and get Xbox Live working.

I did some further research and found out how to get the Belkin N+ wireless router to work with Xbox Live! Having solved that issue with Xbox Live, I would therefore recommend this ADSL wireless router to anyone who is looking to replace their existing one!