Belkin introduces wireless routers with apps

Belkin announces four new routers that come with applications that help enhance users' wireless networking experience.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
3 min read
The new Play Max wireless router. Belkin
Of all electronic and computer devices in your home, the wireless router might be the one that's least appreciated. That is because despite it tireless 24-7 job of connecting all your devices to the Internet, it only gets attention when you need to add a new wireless device to the network or when it's not working properly. Belkin has decided to change this.

The company announced Wednesday a line of wireless routers that is designed to help you do more with digital content than just silently connect devices. Belkin's new line consists of four wireless routers: theSurf, Share, Play, and Play Max.

According to Belkin, all of the routers have applications that let you play music, games, and HD videos as well as share photos and print wirelessly.

There are also apps that help improve your wireless networking experience. For example, the Self-Healing app automatically detects and resolves network problems and runs routine maintenance scans to make sure you are using the clearest wireless channel. This app is available for four new routers.

Other apps include:
  • Memory Safe: Automatically backs up photos and important files to your external hard drive. (Available on Share, Play, and Play Max).

  • The back of the Play Max wireless router. Belkin

  • Print Genie: Print wirelessly from any computer on the network. (Available on Share, Play, and Play Max).

  • Music Mover: Play MP3s from your music library on your home stereo wirelessly. Connect an external hard drive that has music stored on it to the router and stream music to your stereo through devices like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. (Available on Play and Play Max).

  • Music Labeler: Automatically identifies and labels your track with the correct title, artist, and genre. (Available on Play and Play Max).

  • Daily DJ: Get daily personalized playlists from your music library based on your mood. (Available on Play and Play Max).

  • Torrent Genie: Downloads large media files like movies, music, and games, even when your computer isn't on. (Available only on Play Max).
  • Bit Boost: Prioritizes traffic on your network for video, gaming, and VoIP, letting you easily select your most important data streams for seamless network traffic. (Available on Play Max).

Obviously, you can already do all of what these apps offer with other software using any existing wireless routers on the market. However, according to Belkin, these new apps will make the job much easier for novice users.

Other than the applications, the new routers also incorporate Belkin's dual-plane antenna positioning and unique implementation of MIMO technology that provides three-dimensional coverage. According to Belkin,  this translates into a consistent signal, even through walls and floors.

Of course, traditional networking features are also supported by the new routers. The high-end Play Max router supports Gigabit Ethernet, simultaneous dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz), a USB port to share a printer or a storage device, UPnP, and Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Other routers have fewer features and are priced less accordingly.

All of Belkin's new routers will be available in April. The most expensive and feature-rich wireless router, the Play Max,  is slated to cost $130. The most affordable is the Surf wireless router, which has the fewest number of features, is just $50.