Okay, fine, I didn’t put a $200 router into a tub of water and test if it floated. But the Belkin N1 Vision is the first 802.11n router that I’ve found which works well with Apple’s 802.11n cards (aside from Apple’s of course).
Granted, performance is a bit slower (about 10 mbps on average). I was getting 50-60 mbps from AirPort Extreme, and on the N1 Vision, I am getting about 40-50 mbps on average.
But, the need for a third-party router is a bit apparent if you’ve ever used Apple’s. Apple’s router requires cumbersome (albeit, more secure) software to manage the router (no web-based administration). Furthermore, most of the advanced features that the router are capable of, such as QoS & DDNS, are not yet implemented in Apple’s AirPort Utility.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a DDNS service out there yet that supports AirPort Extreme’s Bonjour Broadcasting, which would be a compelling feature that could greatly enhance home serving (because http://homeprinter.mydomain.com is a whole lot easier to remember).
Oh, and did we mention that the N1 Vision has that nice display on it? It is very mild, not annoying to look at in the background.
Now, here’s the deal-breaker… mine died shortly after activating. It had trouble from the start at pulling an IP address from my cable modem (though that’s very common for new gear). Unfortunately, it didn’t hold the IP, and the router was constantly reporting a lack of an internet connection. So, back in the box it goes… I’ll give it another go once Belkin issues a firmware update. Many other reports from early adopters over the past couple of weeks indicate this is not an isolated incident. The router has been known to crash after tweaking certain settings, and unfortunately, it’s also missing key settings most routers have (like IPSec/PPTP passthrough).
So Belkin, fix your firmware, and watch your return rates drop… and happy customers increase. Did I mention the router is only sold at Best Buy? Great test market, since every sale has a zero-fee return policy attached.