Peripheral specialist Belkin has launched four new routers bearing the monikers Surf, Share, Play and Play Max which aims at integrating more features to a device that was until now only used to manage internet access.
All models come either with or without modem (with the former version costing £20 extra), offer wireless 802.11n connectivity and extensive VPN Support.
The top of the range model, the Play Max, offers an ADSL modem, four GbE ports a SRP of £120. Belkin has included a slew of applications for the latter including a torrent client, one that can prioritise traffic depending on the content, an automated backup system and one that acts like the iTunes Genius.
It also has two USB ports that will allow users to plug in external storage or printers thereby converting it into an adhoc printer server and even allows for the scanning functionality.
Belkin has also tweaked its routers to simplify the installation process; this means for example that you won't need a computer to configure them, they are already secured out of the box (unlike most of the routers of the market) and promises to detect and resolve network problems by itself.
It is not known whether Belkin has plans to introduce other applications although this shouldn't be discounted. The price of other wireless routers starts from £50. Expect the routers to go on sale within weeks.
Belkin is right to rethink the way a router works out of the box. It is ridiculous to have a computer turned on for P2P purposes for example and one can only applaud the fact that they've decided to convert their routers into micro computers. Expect more from them.