The Good The Belkin F7D8301 Play N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router offers fast 5GHz throughput speed and comprehensive guest networking. The affordable router features true dual-band connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet, and two USB ports for connecting printers and external storage.
The Bad The N600 HD router lacks features and support for Macs, and its storage features and 2.4GHz wireless performance are subpar. Most of its special features are just fancy names overlaying common functions.
The Bottom Line With a few major shortcomings, the Belkin F7D8301 Play N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router is only a good buy for non-Mac owners who intend to use the 5GHz band for their primary network.
|Belkin F7D8301 Play N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router||Google Wifi||Asus AC2900 dual-band Wi-Fi router (RT-AC86U)||Asus RT-AC88U router||Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System|
|Price||$271 Amazon.com||$90 Amazon.com||$210 Amazon.com||$305 Amazon.com||$370 Dell Home|
Belkin F7D8301 Play N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router
The Belkin Play N600 HD Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router (Model F7D8301) is the latest in Belkin's Play series of wireless routers, which includes the Play Max N600 HD that we reviewed last year. If the Play Max was mostly disappointing, the Play N600 HD has its own saving grace. It offers stellar close-range throughput on the 5GHz band and comes with the most affordable price for a true dual-band router that has two USB ports.
In the end, however, the router is cheap for a few good reasons: its feature set is lacking and the performance of the 2.4GHz band as well as the network storage function are mediocre. The router's range isn't impressive and you can't use its Web interface to manage all of its features.
If most of your wireless clients support the 5GHz band (meaning they are based on the 802.11a/g/n chipset/adapters) and you don't care much about range, at a street price of just around $80, the N600 HD is a great buy. Otherwise, for better wireless support and performance and more features, we'd recommend spending a little more for the Linksys E4200 or the Netgear WNDR3700.
Five 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers not to pick for your home
CNET editor Dong Ngo picks the bottom five 802.11ac-enabled Wi-Fi routers. These are the ones to avoid when choosing a home router.
Belkin to buyout Linksys brand and products
The company has announced its intent to buy all of Cisco's Home Networking division, including the Linksys brand.
Top five budget routers that won't disappoint
CNET editor Dong Ngo picks his top five affordable routers that will do the job well.
When tech heads need tech support
Apparently doctors make the worst patients. Following that logic, technology journos have got to be among the most stubborn tech support callers.
Skype intros new Wi-Fi phones
Skype announced three new Wi-Fi phones that will allow people to talk over the Internet for free. Photos: New Skype phones
New Wi-Fi chips embedded in Samsung laptops
Samsung will be the first laptop maker to embed MIMO technology, which expands the Wi-Fi range and speeds up performance.
Buffalo Wi-Fi gear extends network range
Wi-Fi equipment maker's latest products connect with Airgo's MIMO to expand reach of networks.
Airgo next-generation Wi-Fi gets global approval
Company's MIMO wireless networking technology gets approval from standards bodies in U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia and EU.
Wi-Fi group: Jumping the gun on gear is risky
The Wi-Fi Alliance "strongly discourages" manufacturers from launching products using standards that haven't yet been approved.
Group proposes faster Wi-Fi specification
Networking consortium submits proposal for faster Wi-Fi, as battle lines are drawn between rival groups.
Belkin looks to speed Wi-Fi products with Airgo tech
Companies say Airgo chipset in Belkin peripherals will quadruple speeds and range currently found in 802.11g products.
U.S. Robotics gives Wi-Fi gear speed burst
The company updates its 802.11g hardware to allow wireless connectivity of up to 125 megabits per second.