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Belkin Play Max dual-band wireless router

Router booster?

Yes, you can set up static IP addresses on all your LAN machines. Doable, but hardly “It Just Works” territory. A more promising idea seemed to be to substitute a plain internet router that actually does know how to handle DHCP properly, and use the Play Max as a secondary device, retaining its wireless, torrent downloading and media serving functions.

Belkin Play Max Wireless Modem Router

When configured other than the main router, the Play Max didn’t connect with an Internet time server. With no option for manual time-setting, the Play Max falls back into Life on Mars mode and date stamps any files its saves accordingly.

It’s easy enough to switch it into access point mode, or you can just leave the WAN port unconnected. But it seems that Belkin’s software team hasn’t thought this through: the Belkin Router Monitor app provided for your Mac or Windows machine to control all the song’n’dance functionality stops working in AP mode. It needs to know where on the LAN the Play Max is to be found. It looks for a device named “router” - and can’t find it!

Surprisingly, although Belkin’s own software loses track of the Play Max in AP Mode, Vuze’s “offline download” feature does suss out its IP address and transfers downloads to the Play Max if the client version of Vuze goes offline.

Belkin tells me a firmware fix is promised RSN, so it’s good to know they’re paying attention.

Verdict

The Belkin Play Max is potentially useful hardware, and easy to set up as a basic wireless router. But the impression that the software was patched together out of a bunch of open source functionality without properly thinking it all through doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the device. ®

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Belkin Play Max Wireless Modem Router

Belkin Play Max dual-band wireless router

The Play Max's quirks outweigh its potential. Nothing that a firmware update couldn’t fix... but do you feel lucky?
Price: £115 RRP