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CNET First Look
Play Max wireless router from BelkinThe Belkin Play Max Wireless Router seems like a simple and fast wireless router, but its useless desktop software and cumbersome USB-related features make it less appealing than other options.
>>If a play means something but can't be taken seriously, I have something here that's playful to the max. Hello, my name is Dong Ngo and this is the Play Max Wireless Router from Belkin. This is a top model of Belkin's new line of routers that came out just recently. It comes with almost everything you would expect from a high-end wireless router; true dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, guest networking and not one but two USB ports to host printers or storage devices. You can identify this port here on the back of the router together with the router four LAN port and one WAN port. The LAN ports are for wired connections and the one port is to connect to the internet via for example a broadband modem. The router comes in a compact design with all of its antennas hidden inside the chassis. It's designed to work in a vertical position and comes with a detachable base. Unlike other routers, it has no indicator lights except for the power starters on the front. Also on the front you will find the Wi-Fi Protector Setup or WPS button. This button starts a 2-minute window time when other WPS-enabled devices can enter the wireless network. The Play Max is rather confusing to setup. The setup software asks you to enter the default wireless networks name or SSID and password which are provided on a sticker attached to the router. This is rather strange because generally the initial setup process is when it created a network, not logging into an existing one. We also found the setup software is somewhat of a gimmick as all of its advanced functions are just linked to those section of the router's web interface. It actually saved time to skip the setup software completely and use the router's web interface instead. The router comes with many leading features which Belkin calls "apps." Unfortunately, most of these apps are just window dressing for common feature found in many other routers. Most routers with a USB port we've reviewed can work as a print server or host network storage independently without any software running on a computer. Other than that, the router offers fast wireless performance and also has a very long range. To find out if it's worth the $130 or so street price, check out the in depth review at CNET.com. My name is Dong Ngo and this has been the first look at the Play Max Router from Belkin.