Reviews Microsoft MN-700 Wireless 802.11g Base Station Router

Microsoft MN-700 Wireless 802.11g Base Station Router

Product description

Upparralleled eas networking. The Microsoft Broadband Networking Wireless Base Station makes it easy to set up computers in your home or small office. Unique software installation wizard walks you easily through setup. Intelligent software automatically detects your Internet service and modem settings for easy base station configuration. Superior graphical Broadband Network Utility makes it easy to manage your network. Exclusive Microsoft automatic update keeps your software current. Best in class UPnP (universal plug and play) device enables you to easily play games and send voice and video over the Internet.

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Comments:
worked great back in the day

Worked fine and without problems.

Good functioning router for local, home use. Could be a bit challeging to integrate with internet provider/modem, depending on what you use. Don't expect to get top data transmission; too many variables within each network system.

I recently bought my first laptop PC and thought it would be very handy to have a home network to connect to my desktop -- to share the high-speed Internet connection, print, make data backups, etc. I chose the Microsoft MN-700 base station, and I'm very glad I did!
I don't know much about networks, but the Microsoft software set-up makes it a snap. The software walks you through each step of the set-up process, and nothing is very difficult to do. Eg, you have to give a name (anything you want) to the base station, to the network itself, etc. You do need to pay careful attention to the instructions on the screen, because if you jump the gun and do something out-of-order, it may ruin the set-up process.
I did have one bump during the installation procedure. For some reason, when the software was trying to verify the settings that I had input and write them to the base station, it kept failing -- I think it was trying to access the Internet to do something, but I'm not sure. I did have restart the set-up process a few times, and finally, inexplicably, one of my attempts worked! I don't know what I did differently, if anything, during the set-up attempt that "took" but with a little persistence, it worked okay.
I didn't understand about WEP keys, but I chose 128-bit encryption to protect my network. The set-up doesn't make it plain that you need to write down the 26-character encryption key that it generates, because you'll need to input that same string of 26 characters into your laptop when it tries to authenticate for the first time. BTW, I have Windows XP Home Edition on my home computer and laptop.
Once I figured out that I had to transpose the 26-character WEP encryption key to my laptop, but laptop was able to connect to the Internet just fine!
I had a problem with file sharing and printing. I run Symantec's Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2004, and the personal firewall is turned on. In NIS, I had to run the Home Networking wizard so NIS would configure the firewall for my home network. Once that happened, I could print and share files on my network.
If you're running NIS (or another software firewall), you have to turn-off Windows XP firewall -- the setup procedures will give you this chance, so be sure to disable Windows XP firewall.
Also, you have to make sure to turn on file sharing on both the laptop and the desktop. Right click on a folder, choose Properties, then click the Sharing tab to enable folder sharing.
If you're a newbie like me, you CAN setup your own network without too much difficulty. Plan on making at least one phone call to a techie friend or to tech support to get over some hurdle you encounter.
Since I've installed everything, my network runs very smoothly and reliably. For less than $50, this router is an unbelievable deal.
Note: Microsoft is going out of the wireless router business, so don't plan on future hardware upgrades and probably minimal support for firmware updates. But if you get your network up and running, you won't likely be affected by this Microsoft business decision.

ALL PROBLEMS RESOLVED - RECOMMEND PRODUCT - I was about ready to return the MN-700 because I could not keep a connection for more than a minute or two. With a Customer Support person on the line, the connection problem was completely resolved once I was able to stay connected long enough (with the base station utility running) to download and install the latest firmware update. I earlier had used my broadband connection to download the update, but bypassed the router because of the connection problem. However, it turns out that in doing that, only he MN-700 Broadband Software utility was updated and not the firmware. Secondly, prior to resolving the dropped connections problem, Customer Support was very patient and persistent in also helping me to resolve the preliminary issue of my network adapter card not being recognized by the MN-700 installation utility which it turns out was my problem and not the MN-700's because the "winipcfg" command (Windows 98 IP Configuration viewing command) also was not showing it even though it was installed and I had been using it for 6 months with my DSL connection. The recognition problem was resolved by completely uninstalling my network card as well as the dial-up modem card and reinstalling them. Regarding Customer Service, I had mostly very good experience. In the 5 or so calls I made to Customer Service, I was never on hold for more than 1-3 minutes and the calls were very professional, with a case number being assigned on the first call. The only negatives with Customer Service were that one time a representative was to call me back, but did not and another time a telephone connection was lost while talking to a representative. However, I am glad that I did not return the product!!

Jim
Purchased before reading that MS has announced plans to discontinue their Broadband product offerings. However, they will provide two years free 24/7 tech service and support. The MN-700 base station has four Erhernet connections and an Ethernet modem connection. Rated at 54 Mbps and acheives that rating over the 20 foot distence covered by my simple network. Typically bulky power adaptor.
Fairly painless setup in combination with the MN-710 wireless USB adaptor. Uses a reasonably easy to follow wizard, but I found myself scurrying back and forth between PC's to ensure that all settings were the same.
After connecting the Ethernet DSL router supplied by AOL, found out that AOL does not support Microsoft products, specifically their routers. Contacted MS tech support who walked me through the process of setting up a PPoE connection to AOL which is now accessed via Internet Explorer on either PC. Process is more awkward than using the sign-on screen (and I don't have access to my AOL Favorites), but works flawlessly.
Bottom line -- works well and the discounted price is right. With two remaining years of tech support, the product will probably last until the end of its design curve anyway.

MICROSOFT HAS PULLED OUT THIS PRODUCT. So, I don't think this review counts. Anyways, unless you are getting this one for FREE, DON'T BUY.

Well, I read all the reviews on Amazon and was almost on the verge of concluding that ONLY LINKSYS is the real wireless router and the others are just cheap imitations. Thankfully i didn't rush to buy a $100 router and bought this cheap router from "unreliable" microsoft as many would put it. Its nice looking too instead of looking like an alien with two long antennae. The setup is easy if you read the instructions first!! I hooked to the ethernet connection of my computer for setup. i think its just better that way. I had a hiccup in the beginning coz the software probably didn't load correctly. happens, its Microsoft. so i uninstalled it, rebooted and reloaded the software where in the options it showed me the basestation setup option. it wasn't available on first attempt. i think my compy had a grudge then. anyway, the setup is easy, asks you what you want to do, how to setup and all that. I had the mixed mode default for wireless. It has MAC Filtering (is that an option??) and 128/256 bit encryption that i use from my notebook to the basestation just in case some peeping tom wants to see what i do. A thing to note though, when you try getting that key from the base station utility, the textbox doesn't show the whole damn key so i fought for about an hour on my notebook blaming everyone and everything around me and in this world for the mess till i read that the key is 26 characters and the one i had was smaller. Now i started blaming myself and yes, Microsoft. anyways, i connect perfectly. even when you run that utility, it will tell u your IP, your base station, whether you are connected to the internet and yes, any other network shared devices. i have two desktops on the ethernet connections and a laptop and i share the printer on one of the desktops, fax software on the other. so am pretty happy and content with the setup. the speed is pretty good too. i copied a huge file, about 600MB from my laptop to my desktop and it was pretty fast. I use an Asante FriendlyLAN 802.11G card for
my notebook FYI.
Update: I had dropped connection problems too but then i found them to be with my wireless card since I use it at work too sometimes. I figured that i have to use its own software to choose the profile instead of allowing windows to automatically connect since Windows tries to be oversmart and disconnects often.

I got it installed within an hour including applying a huge patch for the base station. I was uncomfortable abt the fact that microsoft might want to issue patches now and then as usual and we have to keep patching it up.
Pros:
1 Easy to install
2 Works as wired and wireless
3 With wifi pda it would be real fun(not tried)
4 No wire clutter
5 Has WPA which is next thing in wifi
6 Wifi certified
7 Feeling of sitting with a laptop in any room is awesome
8 Good speed though might diminish with distance
Cons:
1 The network adapters for computers costs as much as base station
2 The xp and windows 2000 interface for the network card is different and might be confusing at the beginning though the base is same.
3 If wep or wpa is not configured by the user any one can use the network and access the shared files folders
4 Microsot might keep sending patches and one has to install it diligently
5 Concern about creating more radio waves in your environment without knowing the effects on ones health - phones work on similar frequency but they are for short conversations and not running 24 hrs
6 Not much flexibility in setting up of the firewall
I havn't tried any more esotoric options in the networking workd like vpn etc. I did download files while cooking and watching the download. I havn't tried any distances more than the 1000 ft apt area. Prospects of checking email in the restroom is awesome - onestep closer to microsoft's plans to bring computers to public toilets.
Bottomline is I am keeping my wifi. 4 stars instead of 5 because of fear of many more patches coming down the way though some will be nice upgrade and some for bug fixes.
Disclaimer:
I am not related to the company in anyway except as a customer. Every user may not have same experience as me. All persons reading this review read it and deceide for themselves their choices.

JD
This is my first introduction to wireless networking. I just got this router in January of 2004 and have no disconnection problem reported by other users. I did do an update during setup. It has worked in every way I expected to be. I picked MS MN-700 over the competition, because I heard it is very easy to use.
The setup,
I am a novice and didn't want to be hassles by a lot of informational inputs. This device worked on the first try with Wizard setup. I first plugged it straight to a network card with a cable it worked fine. I have a window 98 and a win2000 computer on. I am using Linksys's Dual band A&G on my XP laptop and all I had to do is enter the network key on the card and it will work. You might have to plug the router with an ethernet cable before you can set up the wireless connection; that is what I did.
Conclusion,
I read that you can not extend the range with a wireless bridge with the MN-700 and I was a little bum (never had to also). If you want to compare performances with this device to other go to CNET first. This is a simple device, which doesn't have much configuration to play with. The exterior design is nice; I like how it looks standing up or sideway on my desk. Most of my friends said go with D-link, but I am happy with this pick.

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