Belkin Makes Networking Fun Again

Belkin Makes Networking Fun Again

Belkin Combines Funky Apps With 802.11n Routers

Belkin International has been flying under the radar ever since their primary operations in Asia Pacific have been relocated to Hong Kong. With today's launch, however, it's nice to see the networking titan jumping back into the game with four consumer-friendly 802.11n routers. Held within the premise of a mock home environment here in Clarke Quay's Central, Mr Louis Lye, Belkin's ASEAN Region General Manager, flagged off the event with some keynotes such as the corporation's focus on product innovation and the importance of producing easy to use networking gadgets. What's more interesting, however, is the company's intention of diving into the Powerline business (watch out Aztech) as hinted by Mr Lye. Instead of producing 200Mbps Ethernet adaptors like those commonly found in the market, Belkin has plans to dish out 1Gbps alternatives before the year is over. That said, let's check out the cool access points unveiled today.

Belkin has already established itself as the number one provider for iPod and iPad accessories, according to Mr Lye. In the networking field, the company is turning its attention on delivering simple yet efficient tools for consumers.

Meet The Kids

Copious amounts of apps are already abundant on mobile phones and televisions. Why not routers? So here they are, and instead of using confusing naming conventions, Belkin has labelled the four N-routers simply as Basic, Surf, Share, and the flagship Play Max. Notably, all wireless units come with integrated applications such as preset security encryption options and unfussy setup dubbed as Easy Start. Positioned as an entry-level device, the Basic model is essentially riding on the lower 802.11n standard with a throughput cap of 150Mbps. The rest will offer fuller features such as 2 by 2 MIMO 802.11n operations (300Mbps) and applications such as Self-Healing which detects and resolves network issues.

The new routers are ranked as Basic (not shown), Surf, Share and Play Max with the latter being Belkin's flagship model for their freshly baked 802.11n suite.The wireless routers are priced at S$49, S$75, S$119 and S$199 respectively.

To make it easy for you, here's a slide which reveals which particular feature each router holds. The Basic and Surf models would be ideal if you require an AP without the bells and whistles.

At the top of the tier is the Play Max champion; a dual-band integration designed for media streaming. The dual-radio bad boy comes with tasty apps such as Music Mover to stream music files via gaming consoles, and Memory Safe, an application which automatically backs up media files to a USB drive plugged into the router. True enough, they might not be ground breaking improvements, but we think it is commendable that Belkin has repackaged them as less daunting features. By the way, there are also modem-router combos for each model mentioned, and they are already on local retail shelves as we speak. Surf on!

Belkin has harnessed all of their best capabilities into the dual-band Play Max iteration. With Gigabit ports, dual radios and cool apps such as Torrent Genie, Music Mover and Memory Safe, we think this router is almost a steal at $199. Its modem-router sister is priced at $249.

Miss Shirley Wong, Product Manager for Belkin (Networking Divison), explains the strengths and weaknesses of each product under Belkin's new wireless router line-up. Complementary USB adaptors are available as well.


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