This article first appeared in HWM Dec 2011.
Designed to be mounted vertically, the Belkin N750 showcases a sleek black frame and silver accents. It’s safe to say this fashionable router won’t be an eyesore on any desk. And like its minimalist predecessor, there’s just a lone LED on its front panel, which lights up in blue once the router is connected to the internet.
As a bonus, the N750 comes with two USB slots for printers or external drives. An attached label suggests the N750 also comes preconfigured with SSIDs and tedious passwords for its WLAN and Guest Access, which thankfully, can be altered as you deem fit. Savvy users can tweak the router via browser interface, while those less savvy can rely on the bundled Router Monitor software for basic setup tasks.
Once again, Belkin has fancy names for simple features. For instance, applications such as “Memory Safe” actually denotes the use of an attached USB drive as a backup platform, while “Video Mover” refers to the router’s ability to stream videos to gaming consoles or DLNA devices.
Other features include an access point-only mode, firewall, QoS and DDNS to name a few. Some are, however, let down by limited modification choices. For example, the router only supports a single DynDNS service with a rather generic QoS configuration to boot.
The N750 is a true dual-band router with discrete radios. It is also equipped with Belkin’s Multibeam antenna technology, which builds upon the existing MIMO system to minimize dead spots. Powered by Ralink chipsets (RT3883 and RT3092) and armed with five internal antennas, how does it perform?
The Belkin N750 managed an average downlink throughput on the 2.4GHz band as follows: 74Mbps at 2m, 44Mbps at 10m and 30Mbps at 25m. Alternatively, downstream figures on the less noisy 5GHz spectrum are: 84Mbps at 2m, 59Mbps at 10m, and 51Mbps at 25m respectively. As this is a 450Mbps router, we’d say these numbers are above average at best.
The N750 was clearly unable to attain blistering speeds on the 5GHz band like the ASUS RT-N56U did, but it does offer a relatively stable throughput across all ranges. Enabling the WPA2-PSK encryption didn’t alter the results by much either.
Generally, Belkin’s performance can be likened to the Linksys E4200, although the Linksys router is marginally faster on the 2.4GHz band. And with Linksys reducing their price tag for the E4200 further, that brings it close to the price point of the S$229 Belkin N750. It looks like these two dual-band models are headed for a face-off as the festive season looms.