Belkin's latest ‘N Class' router, the N+ takes a step back from the remarkable N1 Vision of a year ago. Visually, it's a simpler device, more akin to the original N1 with informative blue icons depicting status - if there's a problem the icon turns amber. It's a single radio 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Certified Draft ADSL router with four gigabit network ports. This is the ADSL version; the plain router version is £20 cheaper.
Like the Sitecom, it masquerades as a ‘green' product. The network ports are energy-saving and you can power off the radio at scheduled times. Quite how much carbon you'll actually save from a low-consumption device such as this we're not sure, but suspect it wouldn't over-fill a pencil or two.
Where the N+ differs from the N1 series is the inclusion of a USB port at the rear. This is strictly for storage devices rather than printers, and it allows you to share storage across a network. This will be handy for sharing music, but to do so you'll need to install the Storage Manager software on each PC. Neither is it as well built as the N1 and, despite its price tag, looks a little cheap.
Once again, Belkin makes setting up the device as easy as falling off a log; complete novices should have no problem with getting the N+ online in minutes. It has nice touches, such as updated firmware alerts and ‘guest' accounts which allow only internet access. It is also a very good performer, managing an excellent average throughput of 76 megabits per second (Mbps) using Iperf.
The Belkin N+ is a fast draft-n router, suitable for both novices and seasoned networkers. It’s a doddle to set up, works well for media sharing, has great throughput and is proof that you get what you pay for.