Full credit to Belkin for coming up with a router that stands out from the crowd. Based on the N1 model this N1 Vision stands vertically, so that you can clearly see the LCD display.

Belkin has ditched the usual array of flashing activity lights and instead has used a monochrome LCD display to keep you up to speed with the doings of your router, starting with the initial configuration. It's much easier to check the power is on and the cables are plugged in when you have a message that spells out the situation.

Once up and running, the display allows you to monitor upload and download speed, see how much bandwidth is being used, allow guests access to your secure network and check out who is connected to your network without referring to the Belkin Networking Utility on your laptop. The guest feature is very neat, as the press of a button will generate a temporary password for visitors to your home or office that allows them access to the network with the minimum of hassle.

Easy to set-up

The most useful features of the N1 Vision come into play when you're setting up the network; so once you're finished the screen loses a part of its value, but that's no problem as you can switch the display into a different mode and it becomes a digital clock. The fact is that most routers would benefit from a switch to disable the array of flickering activity LEDs, but Belkin has made it a reality.

The router part of the equation is an excellent example of second-generation Pre-N or Draft-N hardware that provides good coverage in conjunction with the F5D8053 USB adapter.

You can plug the adapter directly into your laptop or you can use the one-and-a-half metre extension cable, which has a solid base that stands the adapter vertically to give it the greatest possible chance of sniffing out a wireless signal.