Accessory maker Belkin has innovated with its latest router in a way that presages some interesting enhancements to product design. Their N1 Vision router jumped off the drawing board with the customary VPN support, gigabit ports, WPA and WPA2 security (plus the bad joke which is WEP insecurity), but adds Plug-and-Play “CD-less” setup and a front panel display which shows:

  • Download/Upload Speedometer
  • Network Bandwidth Usage
  • Number of Connected Devices
  • Guest Access Network Key
  • Date and Time

The front panel displays the Real McCoy, a significant standout. Just like Nokia’s Communicators added the outside display to the inside widescreen LCD, a feature then adopted by laptops, subnotes, and UMPCs, this display on a router relieves the PC of the need to run Yet Another Memory Robbing, Cycle-Robbing Process, and it eliminates the need to develop these features in a bloated software driver.

Is this advantage over blinking lights intriguing and possibly sales-enhancing?