belkin pre-n report

I have the pre-n router, the card for my laptop, and a card for a desktop.

First, the speed and reach are great. Both are excellent. The speed seems the same as my old wired network.

Having two machines using the router doesn't seem to degrade performance noticeably.

The router software has been easy to use. Overall packaging and documentation is good. I needs a status screen in AP mode. It doesn't say what's going on in AP mode.

This is my first real experience with consumer grade gear of this type. I find the reliance on using the web browser for the initial configuation a big hurdle. It should have a USB port, serial line, or LCD, or something so i don't have to mess with IP addresses on my machine to talk with it.

I use it in AP mode because i have router. I found it a bit confusing about how this should be done. It would be nice to have dipswitch or something to select a mode.

For some reason after talking with the box for a while i could no longer talk to it to get a dhcp address. The request kept timing out. Resetting seemed not to work but i wouldn't know because there is no way to tell if it is reset. I exchanged it at comp usa for another one with no problem. This one worked. I suspect the other one just got wedged somehow. A better class of machine would allow me to see what is going on inside.

The first person in tech support was great. The other two didn't know anything and were just following a script.

I don't like how far the pre-n card sticks out of the laptop. That may be nornal, i just don't know.

I use AES and this just worked on the XP side and on the router. That was nice. I changed the SSID and turned of broadcast, so i feel like i've done what can be done.

The biggest problem i have is with the laptop card. To kill my network access all i have to do is copy a deep directory tree from one machine to another. The kind of thing you do when you are moving to a new machine :-) If i just pop the card out and back in everything is ok. I hope updates in the future will solve this problem. It's not deal killer for me, but i don't like it.

I have rebooted the router once when the network connection was down. I am not sure of the problem.

As after a lot of research it seems every product had a lot of bad comments about them, i am not sure what would be a better choice. I hope the quality will improve over time because it doesn't seem to be a fundamental hardware issue. Personally i would pay a little more for a consumer class product that was easier to use. Not everything has to come out of box of cracker jacks.

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Some random comments (while waiting for XP to install).

That's one of my favorite complaints. Lack of diagnostic information makes troubleshooting and setup difficult. It seems to be a growing trend towards "simplification" of the user interface.

I beg to differ. The default setup is for the DHCP server in the router to deliver a workable IP address and default gateway to any connected client setup for DHCP assigned IP's. Since the first thing I usually end up doing is a firmware update, a high speed setup connection is a good idea. I still remember doing 15 minute firmware image uploads at 9600 baud using xmodem. No thanks. Also, USB setup software usually require some kind of custom setup software that must be installed, such as in the early WAP11 radios.

Actually, it's possible the next degeneration of wireless devices will probably be run totally by plug-n-play. The original purpose of plug-n-play was to autoconfigure such routers. Many wireless routers can (and are) workable right out of the box without tweaking any settings.

Careful what you wish for. Belkin has a setting in the setup of their

802.11b router that switched off the router section and created an access point. I tried it and discovered that it also switched off the entire web based configuration utility. According to the instructions (which I read after screwing it up), I'm suppose to setup the access point exactly the way I want it in router mode, then switch to access point mode. If I want to change anything, I would need to reset the router to defaults, put everything back, and try again. Nice idea, crappy implementation.

It's easy enough to use a wireless router as an access point.

  1. Ignore the WAN port.
  2. Connect a CAT5 cable between your existing router and the LAN port of the wireless router.
  3. Setup an IP address for the wireless router in the same Class C IP block as the existing router, that is unique.
  4. Disable the DHCP server in the wireless router.
  5. Setup the wireless SSID, encryption, filters, WDS, etc. There are a few trick on how to deal with broadcast packets, but it's no big deal.

Dunno. Sounds more like a broken router.

I'm always amazed at the variation in talent I get with various outsourced tech support organizations. It will vary from dismal to amazing. I had a short conversation with someone in India that was apparently an engineering student and knew quite a bit about protocol issues and security.

I'm not sure, but perhaps there are also three antennas inside the plastic cover? I'm curious. Could I trouble you to post the FCC ID numbers of the wireless router and PCMCIA card?

Careful. Some clients like to see the SSID broadcasts. That might be why your DHCP did not renew properly.

Ugh, not good. It's not suppose to do that. I did an xcopy of about

20GBytes of about 5000 MP3 files in about 2 hours via wireless. I think the directory tree was about 5 layers deep. No problems. You should be able to do that without problems. I suggest to try it again with a wired LAN connection instead of wireless to see if there might be something wrong with the computahs involved. If it's a Unix box, watch out for running out of streams buffers.

Then do some light weight testing. Ping the LAN port, ping the WAN port, ping the ISP gateway IP, and ping something on the internet, in that order. That will tell you where the buck, er... packet, stops.

You must be an optimist. My vision of the product cycle is that the features get added faster than the bugs get fixed. Given sufficient time, the result is a feature infested, bloated, and buggy product. With today's short product lifetimes, the replacement products are in development long before the current products are obsolete. The result is that nobody wants to spend the time to fix the "old" product (also known as the currently shipping product). Fixes only happen when some big customer plays a round of golf with the president and tells him that they won't be buying more of his garbage until the existing problems are fixed. Usually, there's only enough time to do one or two firmware revisions before the product is obsolete. I give great credit to companies such as Linksys and DLink that supply firmware updates for products that they've stopped shipping long ago.

I don't buy much Belkin hardware. However, the little I do have usually is stuck on the original shipping firmware version or perhaps one revision beyond. Unless Belkin want to capitalize on being the first Pre-N vendor, and build a reputation on this product, my guess(tm) is that what you see is what you're stuck with.

Take a look at how DOCSIS cable modems are setup. EVERYTHING comes from the CMTS via DHCP. The parameter table is truely huge. Wireless and routers could be setup in a similar manner. I've proposed such an arrangement several years ago, but was told it was too expensive to deploy. I'm not sure you would want it that way as the primary purpose was not to make things easy to install, but to enforce user count and traffic restrictions at the client end. As I said, careful what you wish for.

Reminder: FCC ID numbers please.

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Jeff Liebermann

That's fine. Just have complified interface as well.

But i don't want it to be router or a dhcp server for machine.

So you would congifure your client first with the security parameters?

You can't dump an idea for stupid stuff like that :-)

Yah, easy :-) I just want it to work. Flip a switch and it knows what general mode to come up in.

Where would i get them from? I poked around XP a ltittle and didn't see them.

How would i have turned off broadcasts before actually connecting to the box?

I've done that numberous times over the wired network and works fine. Interestingly downloading large files over the internet isn't a problem. It;s just local machine to machine copies.

I'll try that next time.

The alternative isn't worth the effort.

I thought radius was going to be the configuration master?

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Some routers will work with a normal cable between two routers via LAN port. This feature is referred to as Auto-Uplink, or MDI/MDX. Some will need a crossed cable.

(Jeff said to use a crossed cable somewhere around Jan 2.)

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No. The router gets configured first. What's not obvious is that if the ISP cooperates and populates the ISP's DHCP server with all manner of settings that are currently applied manually, and the router has the required features, it would be possible for the ISP to autoconfigure the router for you. You do nothing. Then, when you fire up your wireless client, it also loads the requisite using Universal Plug-n-Play to setup everything.

From the UPnP Forum web pile at:

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UPnP technology is all about making home networking simple and affordable for users so the connected home experience becomes a mainstream experience for users experience and great opportunity for the industry.

It might happen, but don't hold your breath.

Do you want features or simplicity? You can't have both.

Sigh. On the serial number labels. It will be in the form of XXX-XXXXXX. The search part of the FCC web pile a giant pain and barely works. Searching by manufactory and model number should work, but doesn't.

Easy. Y'er suppose to setup the router with a wired connection. It can be done via wireless, but methinks it's easier and better via a wired LAN connection. Don't even think of trying to update the firmware via wireless.

RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) is for authentication, not for parameter setup.

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Jeff Liebermann

But you can. Make it simple. Make easy features easy. Make impossible features possible. Thank you perl.

FCC IDs: Laptop card: SA3-AGN1023PC0200 Router : SA3-AGN090IAP0100

I would prefer a LCD screen to bootstrap the device.

It has stuff like your vlan in it and can have arbitrary parameters. I thought cisco was going this way.

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Jeff, here is a link to photos of the pre-n card.

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Duh. No wonder I couldn't find it. It's listed under Airgo instead of Belkin. Thanks much.

PCMCIA card |

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'SA3-AGN1023PC0200'Most of the PDF's are "damaged". Blank cover letter. How convenient.

wireless router. Incidentally you turn the "1" into an "I". |

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'SA3-AGN0901AP0100'Nice photos of the insides: |
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Unfortunately, the photos of the PCMCIA card insides are "damaged" so I can't determine if it really has 3 antennas in there and how they're arranged. Oh well.

Noted. However, my experience with setting up HP LaserJet printers and plotters, which have a nifty LCD screen and allow for front panel setup is that I'm the only person on the planet that uses that method. Imagine punching in the IP address, gateway, and netmask by punching the buttons literally hundreds of times. The newer firmware makes it easier with an accelerated hold feature, but it's still somewhat tricky. Of course, everything on the panel is abbrev. Most people use the web based setup.

Maybe. Most DOCSIS modems can be loaded in stages. DHCP to setup communications and RADIUS to authenticate and load additional numbers. At this time, it's mostly DHCP. That also the way the dialup return works for a cable modem. However, most of it is done with DHCP. See: |

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a partial list of parameters that can be passed. I'm doing battle with this one: |
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supplying lat-long and floor number (or altitude) information via DHCP.

If you wanna see what your DHCP server supplies, download the free DHCP query utility from: |

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bottom of list). You don't even need an IP address to use it. When I tried it on an experimental wireless box at the local university, it belched almost everything on the extended DHCP parameters list, although most of the values were nulls.

Anyways, in my never humble opinion, the trend will be toward gross oversimplification, Universal Plug-n-Play, self-configuration, and ISP based control of routers. However, it may take a few years to happen.

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Jeff Liebermann

It's small writing :-)

BTW, on the laptop card problem i changed the router configuration to use immediate ack and the connection is reliable, if somewhat slower. I had configured it for burst ack thinking that would perform better. It did, but for large files or simultaneous activity it didn't work.

Tech support didn't seem to know anything about the router at all and asked me no questions about the router configuration.

That puts ISPs in a role they probably can't handle.

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It's the same with Brocade fabric switches. Without a full keyboard, an LCD setup is just slightly more useful than DIP switches. At least with a LaserJet, you can review the existing settings by doing a printout. With a router, you have to step through the same LCD screens one at a time, checking your work... oops, changed that one while trying to look at it. I prefer http, telnet, serial, in that order. And serial costs money, as does an LCD. The telnet where you can force-feed an initial IP address to a MAC, used on Lantronix, among others, is handy.

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