Belkin 802.11g Wireless Access Point reviewed

Other Features

The 7130 provides both wireless bridging and repeating to up to four other WDS-based APs. Figure 5 shows the setup screen.

Belkin F5D7130 - Wireless Bridging

Figure 5: Wireless bridging controls
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Although bridging it enabled by default, I couldn't get it to work until I checked the "Enable only specific Access Points to connect checkbox" and entered the WLAN MAC address of the other AP into each AP. I left the "Disable ability for Wireless Clients to connect" box unchecked, but you'd check it if you wanted pure AP-to-AP bridging with no client connection.

I tried out this feature using two 7130s and it worked just fine. After getting both 7130's setup and confirming that they were wirelessly connecting (I just unplugged one from its Ethernet connection and pinged its IP address), I left one connected to my LAN's switch and moved the other to an upstairs room. I was able to connect my wireless laptop to either AP and keep a nice strong signal as I moved between floors.

I especially liked being able to still wirelessly connect to the admin pages of both APs while they were bridging / repeating instead of having to physically plug into their Ethernet jacks as is necessary in some other inexpensive repeaters. But, as with other wireless repeaters, you'll lose about half your throughput for each repeater between your client and an Ethernet-connected AP.

Status and Monitoring

The biggest disappointment is the 7130's total lack of monitoring capability. This means no Transmit and Receive stats, no logging, no list of associated clients... no nothin'! I asked Belkin whether they had any plans to correct this and the reply was "No plans for the near future".