Belkin has done a good job to help the customer with initial setup. The power supply cord and the supplied Ethernet cable are both clearly labeled. In fact, as shown in Figure 3, both cables are already plugged into the router. All you have to do is plug in the wall wart and plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into your DSL/Cable modem.
Figure 3: Power cord and Ethernet cable come plugged in
The setup utility is supplied on a CD that works both on the MacOS and Windows platforms. Of course, if you have a netbook, you’ll need to copy the installation files onto a USB key, or, if you have one, plug in a USB optical drive. Perhaps Belkin should consider Cisco's approach and put the files on a USB key, at least for the top-of-line Play Max.
For my initial installation, I used my netbook and installed the software without a problem after transferring it to a USB key. The Play Max arrives pre-configured with different network names for the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios. My review unit was named Belkin.5567 and the 5 GHz network was named Belkin.5567_5GHz.
A secure guest network, in this case named Belkin.5567.guests, was also enabled by default on the 2.4 GHz band. (I’ll talk more about that later.) A unique pre-shared WPA key has also been assigned. This information is printed on a card that is attached to the side of the router. After you use this information to set up your router, you can store the card in a slot on the bottom of the router.
The setup utility first prompts for your country. After entering that, you are prompted for the network SSID and WPA key from the information card as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Wireless security info on side of router
A screen then appears informing you that it is attempting to communicate with the router, and advises that it could take a couple of minutes. Shortly thereafter, if all goes well, you are rewarded with a congratulations screen shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Basic setup completed
Clicking on Advanced Tools on the screen above takes you to the screen shown in Figure 6. Each of the entries is merely a direct link into a corresponding page in the web user interface.
Figure 6: Advanced Tools provide direct links into the web UI
At this point, the basic router configuration has been completed, and an application that runs in the system tray (Figure 7) has been installed, along with the applications included with your particular model.
I'll point out that although the wireless network is secured, the setup process does not require that the blank default router admin password be changed. Belkin should consider changing this long-standing tradition if they really want to ensure a secure installation.
By default, the LAN / secured WLAN network is 192.168.2.0/24. You can reach the router admin page by using the advanced setup menu above, by entering 192.168.2.1 into your browser, or typing http://router into your browser. All land you at the status page shown in Figure 7. Note, anyone on the subnet can view this page, as no password is required to see it. Only if you attempt to change any settings are you prompted for a password.