Belkin kills two birds with one stone with the Belkin F5D7132UK – it can act as an ordinary 54G access point as well as an extender.

Another bonus – the Belkin F5D7132UK is the the cheapest Wi-Fi extender we've seen.

The Belkin F5D7132UK is pretty easy to set up. The Belkin has an Auto Connect button. Press this for about 10 seconds and when the Searching LED on the front goes out, the Belkin is now joined to the closest, most powerful wireless network, having adopted the same SSID.

After that, the Belkin F5D7132UK appears as a clone AP (access point) except with a different MAC address.

Of course, if any encrypted connection is in use, which is the more likely scenario, you have to set up the Belkin F5D7132UK manually, using the supplied CD. Again, doing it this way is fairly painless.

Once it's setup, you can disconnect the Belkin F5D7132UK from the wired network and place it where it is needed. It's always an act of faith when you power it up on its own, in another part of the house, but when the 'Searching' LED goes out, you know it is connected to your wireless network, a reassuring 'confidence feature'.

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Belkin F5D7132UK Universal Repeater: Specs

  • Wireless Ethernet - 11 Mbps IEEE802.11b, Wireless Ethernet - 54 Mbps IEEE802.11g
  • Access Point
  • Range Extender
  • requires Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
  • 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, AES, TKIP, WPA, WPA-PSK, WPA2
  • Wireless Ethernet - 11 Mbps IEEE802.11b, Wireless Ethernet - 54 Mbps IEEE802.11g
  • Access Point
  • Range Extender
  • requires Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
  • 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, AES, TKIP, WPA, WPA-PSK, WPA2

OUR VERDICT

With a decent feature-set and largely solid usability, the Belkin F5D7132UK represents good value for money.

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