Customer Review

325 of 338 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of router for the price but with a caveat, April 18, 2011
This review is from: Belkin N600 Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router (Latest Generation) (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Updated Sep 06, 2011: Other users have confirmed the issue of permanent authentication with this router. A workaround is to enable its self healing feature, to force a nightly reboot of the router. While this does not fix the issue, it does reduce the time window during which this vulnerability will exist.

This is definitely a lot of router for the price. Its feature list reads like a dream:
# Dual band networks (2.4GHz and 5GHz)? Check!
# Guest network for visiting friends? Check!
# Support for standard features like port forwarding, MAC-based security, MAC address cloning, wireless security, etc.? Check!
# Support for advanced features such as Dynamic DNS services (dyndns.org), or Quality of Service (QoS) manipulation? Check!
# Ability to exercise parental control by tailoring access schedules and allowed URLs, giving me super-Dad powers? Check!
# Support an external USB drive? Check! Serve as an DLNA-compliant server? Double check!
# Ability to turn off all its router functionality and function as a barebones Wireless Access Point? Check!
# Unique aesthetics with lots of power saving options? Check! (unless you prefer your router lit up like a Christmas tree).
# A generous 2-year warranty? Check!

So what bothered me?
###############
[1] The implementation of administrator security seems a bit flawed. The router authenticates a user based on the IP address of the computer you are using to log in, and the admin password you configure.

Unfortunately, at various times in the past 8 weeks, admin authentication has failed to kick in. This allows any computer that had ever been authenticated to this router, to access the admin screens (and view any wireless passwords in clear text) without prompting for the admin password. Even the default 10 minute inactivity timeout for admin authentication is ignored when this happens. The only "fix" is to reboot the router. After the third such occurrence, I returned the router to Belkin for investigation.

See my uploaded screenshot for details (a link is in the Comments below). Notice that admin info is being displayed even though I did not provide an admin password. Also note that the header says "Login" (it should say "Logout" when you are authenticated).

I suspect that the "self healing" option (defaults to ON) masks this problem for most users by periodically rebooting the router.

[2] Unlike my Netgear WNDR3700, this Belkin N600 did not support DHCP Address Reservation. This is a feature that lets you reserve a given IP address for a particular device (such as a wireless printer or security camera) on your network. Without it, a router reboot could assign a different IP address to your device, requiring you to adjust its properties to get it back online. Some devices can be configured to request a particular IP address, but address reservation is a lot simpler.

[3] On the admin console, the SSID and password are on two separate pages, and each change needs to be committed before making the next. A commit requires a reboot of the router, which kicks you off the wireless network!

[4] Any change to the router settings takes 40 seconds to apply. This is perilously close to Windows reboot times!

[5] The router setup software did not work well on one of my computers. See the "additional notes" section below for an easier way to setup this router.

Conclusion
#######

This is a good value-for-money product. It is built well and is fairly stable. I was able to stream video to my PS3, and was able to connect with very decent range on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz network bands.

My favorite router is the solid Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router WNDR3700. However, given that this N600 costs about a third of what the WNDR3700 retailed for when it was first released, and that it costs about half as the WNDR3700 today, I am very impressed by the value that this router represents.

Unfortunately, the security issue was a deal breaker for me, and so I have returned this router to Belkin for inspection. I have returned to my Netgear, which works well, and I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder for abnormal behavior.

Additional notes:
###########
If you have setup a router before, the standard router setup procedure is far easier to follow:
1. Power down your cable modem, router, and computer
2. Connect an Ethernet cable between the WAN port of the router and the cable modem
3. Connect an Ethernet cable between a LAN port of the router and your computer.
4. Power on the cable modem and wait for the lights to settle.
5. Power on the router and wait for the power light to steady.
6. Power on the computer, and navigate to the router (for the Belkin N600: 192.168.2.1)
7. Set up an administration password, and inactivity timeout
8. Set up the wireless SSID and security.
9. On the computer, establish a connection to your SSID, providing the appropriate passphrase.
10. Your computer is now connected on both your wired and wireless networks. Logout of the router's admin console. Else the dreaded "Duplicate Administrator" error is likely to raise its ugly head.

That's it!

Happy Networking!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 12 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 51 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 19, 2011 10:04:29 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 25, 2014 6:06:33 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2011 7:39:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 10:07:26 AM PDT
Hi Belkin Support,

Thank you for taking the time to respond - it says much about your corporate culture.

To better respond to your comments, I performed a hard reset on the router to return it to factory-spec and then went through the setup process again to refresh the steps in my memory.

Here are my conclusions:

1. The Belkin router's login is tied to the IP address of the computer used to authenticate to the router (e.g., 192.168.2.2). Once an administrator is logged in, the authentication status persists even after a reboot of your computer. The admin login behavior is different from others that I've used and led to my confusion on this point.

This also explains why I could open a different browser and immediately access the router's admin console without having to log in. Since it is the machine's IP address being authenticated, accessing the console using a different browser on the same machine was allowed right in.

Finally, this explains the "Duplicate Administrator" error. This can happen when you are logged in as an admin on one machine (192.168.2.2), then turn that machine off, and then try to login as the admin from another machine (192.168.2.3). The Belkin prevents you from logging in, until you turn on the previous computer (192.168.2.2), and explicitly log out from the router's admin console.

This is not a restriction I'm used to - so it's definitely annoying - but is far less problematic than what I feared it might be.

2. I had mis-remembered the steps required to change the SSID and password using the supplied software. The actual issue I was trying to articulate was that the SSID and the passphrase live on two separate pages in the router configuration. What this means is that changing the SSID/passphrase combination is a lot more involved. For instance, I wanted to change both the SSID and passphrase from the factory defaults (belkin.343/xxxxx) to what the devices in my home are configured with. Unfortunately, changing the SSID automatically reboots the router. But because the password has not yet been changed, I have to go through another cycle of connect to the SSID with the factory password, change the password, and then reboot.

Again - a minor annoyance but not as big a deal since you'd do this only when you reset the router, which hopefully won't happen too often.

I've updated the rating to 5-stars and will update the main body of the review with this text.

Regds

Posted on Apr 24, 2011 3:38:06 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 25, 2014 5:58:16 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2011 7:07:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 10:07:34 AM PDT
Hi VendiVidiEdi,

Based on the manual - this device does not support a hub attached to the USB port. In fact, if you choose to attach a printer to the USB port, you must also install the USB Print and Storage Manager software on any computer that needs to be able to print to that printer. Connecting a USB hard drive on the other hand does not need the software to be installed.

BTW - I'm really concerned about the admin password for this router. Thanks to your question, I tried to access the router from my laptop, and discovered that even though I wasn't logged in as an administrator, I was able to do things such as enable the guest network. This concerns me - and I'm about to email Belkin Support about it. I'll post my findings back here.

Regds

Posted on Apr 24, 2011 7:47:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 10:07:41 AM PDT
I've contacted Belkin Support with the following issue:

When a user is not logged in, the top right of the admin page shows a link called "Login" and this changes to "Logout" once authenticated.

I have sent screenshots where I have accessed the QoS page, and even restarted the router, while the text at the top right of the admin page still shows "Login".

In other words, even though I've set up an admin password, I can access the admin screens without authenticating to the router. Needless to say this is a critical defect.

I'll update this review when I hear back.

Regds

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 6:43:00 AM PDT
Review will be updated above with this text:

I was advised by Belkin Support to download and install the firmware file on the Belkin site - even though the router came with the latest version installed. I, very sceptically, did that last night. However, after a 6-minute process, the router was up and running with none of the authentication problems I'd experienced. Very usefully, the router now respects the administration timeout setting (10 minutes of inactivity by default). This means that once signed in, a computer is no longer indefinitely authenticated to the router. Fingers crossed.

Posted on Apr 30, 2011 5:08:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2011 5:13:23 AM PDT
rlew says:
yes i have to say ive found this router to be a pain as well it all started so well then a went soooo bad... i got after awhile ..the self healing would screw up my windows 7 computer log on to the network every time it ran and the admin log off issue was a problem for me as well...make sure you set bandwidth to 20 40 to get max range ..overall it is a very touchy router ive never seen one with so many quirks but once you get it tuned right it has great range and is very fast..but if you dont have any computer ease dont buy this router it will drive ya nuts

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2011 12:09:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 10:07:49 AM PDT
Hi rlew,

I agree with your assessment.

Now that I have it setup just the way I want it, it seems to work just fine. I have almost all my networked devices online (except for a couple of finicky pieces of equipment that I don't have the time to baby sit, like an Iomega IConnect hub.)

There are still some quirks that I run into once in a while such as a DLNA protocol error on my PS3 (2104) that I didn't experience before this router. However, the PS3 is able to play media such as MP3 files without problems - so I'm still trying to diagnose this issue.

BTW - I didn't enable the Self Healing option (which reboots the router on a preset schedule). I'd rather not tempt fate.

Regds

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2011 1:14:27 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 25, 2014 5:58:26 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2011 4:46:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2013 10:07:56 AM PDT
Hi John:

Yes, what you are describing is the expected behavior. And, you have the same firmware that is installed on mine.

To see a screen shot that describes what I'm experiencing, browse to:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/customer-gallery/A3FEGTOLCWXSV4/ref=cm_aya_bb_lists

Move your mouse over the image to see my notes.

In particular, note that I'm not logged in. (Once an administrator is logged in, the text in the header changes to Logout instead.) However, I can access information that should not be visible to me. Also note that my timeout is set to the default 10 minutes.

To return to the expected behavior, I must click Login, enter my admin password, and then click Logout. Now, the router works as expected and prevents me from any further unauthenticated access. At least, until the next time it flakes out on me.

Do note that I set up an admin password as soon as I installed the router (step 6 in my list of instructions above), and even turned off the Self Healing option (which resets the router every once in a while). So I'm not sure what causes it revert to this rogue state. This seems to happen once every month or so and was exactly the problem that was supposedly fixed with a reset of the firmware.

What I don't know is whether this problem is limited to my router. I hope it is.

I debated my course of action for a very long time - it seems unfair to talk down a product, esp. when others seem to be so happy with theirs. But given the severity of the problem, I could do nothing else.

The router has since been returned to Belkin Support for inspection.

Regds
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next ›

Review Details

Item

3.4 out of 5 stars (472 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (198)
4 star:
 (70)
3 star:
 (40)
2 star:
 (34)
1 star:
 (130)
 
 
 
$79.99 $51.93
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 371