New York - Belkin today announced four new wireless routers, each
geared toward a consumer with a specific technological skill set.
Instead of utilizing the old good, better, best strategy to
differentiate the products, Belkin has divided them up by usage, dubbed Surf, Share,
Play and Play Max, said Rob Fleck, networking product manager.
All begin shipping in April.
Each router is designed to appeal to a consumer with a specific
networking task in mind and their technological ability, he said. The routers are also positioned by the
software applications that come bundled with each.
Fleck said this method also creates a clear upgrade path for
consumers who may already have a router that handles simple tasks, like the
Surf, so they can easily see what to buy next to meet their expanding needs.
The $49.99 Surf version will simply get a person's network onto
the Internet and has a redesigned three-step process to make installation easy
for even the most novice user, he said.
The directions are printed on the box; the router and two cables
are literally tagged with directions to follow, and the cables themselves come
already plugged into the router so the end user only has to connect them to the
computer and electrical outlet, Fleck said. In addition, the router comes
preset with wireless encryption and a password already installed, and this
information is provided on a piece of paper that tucks underneath the router so
it can be easily found.
The Surf is an 802.11n dual-plane antenna model. The bundled
software is an app to inspect the health of the home network and advise the
user if there are any issues.
The $79.99 Share model adds a USB port, enabling the user to
install a printer or hard drive that can be shared across the network, Fleck
said. It comes with printing and backup software and the same pre-configured
network security as the Surf.
The Play segment contains two SKUs. The first, $99.99, features dual-band
802.11n Wi-Fi for data-transfer speeds up to 300MBps, the company said.
Play models are for consumers with technological needs that
include managing music lists, and finding and labeling songs so they can be
easily viewed on devices such as a PlayStation3 console, Fleck said.
All of these support VPN.
The Play Max router, $129, adds a second USB port, is a universal
plug-and-play server, has gigabit ports, and its software can help manage video