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Belkin router refresh leads with gigabit modem

Belkin Play Max modem router sports dual-band wireless-n and gigabit ethernet

A refresh of routers and modem-routers from Belkin includes a flagship model that is one of the first to combine an ADSL modem with gigabit ethernet and 802.11n wireless in the same box.

The Belkin Play Max features one WAN and four LAN ethernet ports specified to gigabit (1000Mb/s) operation. For wireless LAN connection, there's 802.11n, promising a 300Mb/s connection, on 5GHz as well as traditional 2.4GHz frequency bands.

And unlike the standard version of the Play modem, the Play Max offers two USB ports to allow the connection of external storage or printers.

The Play Max (£119.99) also includes the most comprehensive selection of Apps - built-in or installable programs that aim to expand the functionality of the router.

These include Bit Boost, which allows you to select and prioritise particular types of network traffic, and Torrent Genie, an app that promises the capability to continue downloading from torrent networks when your PC is switched off.

Belkin's selection of apps are designed for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Both Play models also boast cross-platform apps such as Daily DJ, to automatically compile personalised music playlists, and Music Labeller, which can explore your music archive and fill in missing track info.

Belkin's new lineup of wireless routers and broadband modems aims to take the pain out of installing and setting up. Belkin's Easy Start process is said to reduce the number of stages by 60%, compared to earlier models.

Belkin Play Max router

The new Belkin routers feature a rounded case with no visible antennae

There are three main models of modem in Belkin's new range: Surf, a simple four-port wireless-n modem router at £69.99 (£49.99, cable); Share, which adds a USB port and VPN support, for £89.99 (£69.99, cable); and Play, a dual-band device for £99.99 (£79.99, cable). For power users, the Play Max at £119.99 (£99.99, cable) includes two USB ports and gigabit ethernet.

All models are available as modem-routers, or as just wireless routers with no ADSL modem, with a £20 saving in each case.

The range should appear in the shops in early May 2010.

See also: Belkin Surf, Share and Play Wi-Fi routers

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