is straight forward: plug the Belkin into your wired network
using a standard CAT5 Ethernet cable. If you're using DHCP, the
unit should pick up an IP address and you probably won't have
to do anything else! Generally, setting up an access point is
the easiest step in creating a Bluetooth network. Just connect
to it with your Bluetooth-enabled Palm OS PDA, Pocket PC or another
computer running Bluetooth. The Belkin will assign your PDA an
IP address and DNS info and you'll be ready to surf the Net.
For details on how to configure your PDA, check out some of our
PDA adapter reviews and your manufacturer's instructions.
you don't use DHCP, you'll use the web-based adminstration tool
to change your settings. You can manually assign an IP address,
DNS server, subnet, domain and router address using the LAN settings
option. You can also set maximum connections from 1 to 7 (even
$500 access points don't generally support more connections).
The Utilities section allows you to flash upgrade the access
point, do a ping test, remotely reboot the router, and reset
it to factory specs. As you can see from the screen shot, the
folks at Belkin made the administration screen PDA-friendly— cool!
access point security isn't as much of an issue compared to
WiFi. Why? The range of Bluetooth devices is generally more
limited, so strangers won't be cruising outside your home or
office hoping to join your LAN. Bluetooth devices can bond
in trusted pairs and use 128 bit encryption. But the Belkin,
like most network access points and routers, does use web-based
administration. You wouldn't want anyone typing in the IP address
of your access point and changing its settings. If you're concerned
about this, you can assign a password so that only users who
know the password can change access point settings. While the
unit does have a username field, it isn't used, and is left
blank. If you do assign a password, you'll need to reboot your
access point for the change to take effect (the printed mini-manual
doesn't mention this).
can also create up to 8 users, each with their own passwords,
if you wish to specify which Bluetooth devices are allowed
on your network. Some Bluetooth devices require a password
before they'll connect, and with the Belkin, you can either
use the default password, or change it if you wish.
you'd like to share a USB printer with Bluetooth-enabled Windows
PCs you can install the USB print server utility provided on
the included CDROM. You'll need to install the printer driver
(if you haven't already done so) as a local, not network printer,
then select the Bluetooth serial port for that printer. This
uses the Serial Port Profile, which should be provided in your
computer's Bluetooth software, and creates a virtual COM port
for the printer. It works quite well! I haven't tested this,
but in theory, if you have a program like PrintPocketCE which
support Bluetooth printing, you should be able to print via
a Pocket PC as well.
you've got a Bluetooth-enabled PDA that you want to use to
surf the Net and do emails, this is a great, affordable solution.
It's much easier and faster than using Windows connection sharing
if you want to get your PDA online. Setup is quick (you may
not have to do anything at all to setup the Belkin) and simple.
I tested it with the Belkin USB adapter, a Dell Axim X5 using
the Belkin CF card, an iPAQ 3970 and a Clie NZ90 and it worked
like a charm. I even used the iPAQ and NZ90 to administer the
access point! While I didn't get the advertised 300 foot range,
I had no trouble getting a signal anywhere in our small offices,
and could even go outside about 30 feet when using it at home.
Belkin, www.belkin.com $169
main administration screen, PDA sized!