Keeping the Linksys name alive, parent company Cisco on Wednesday unveiled a new line of wireless routers, the Linksys E-Series. The sleek looking lineup is part of Cisco's effort to streamline its Linksys routers, as well as showcase the company's new Cisco Connect software.
"Linksys pioneered the first home router 10 years ago, and 50 million units later is the world's leading provider of home wireless routers," said Jonathan Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products. "The new E-Series caters to Linksys' core technology-minded consumer base, with a simplified product lineup that is ideal for today's sophisticated home network user."
There are five new routers in all, including the E1000 Wireless-N, E2000 Advanced Wireless-N, E2100L Advanced Wireless-N with Linux, E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N (dual-band), and AE1000 High-Performance Wireless-N USB Adapter. Each one comes with Cisco's Connect Software designed to simplify the process of setting up and configuring settings, such as auto-assigning the WPA security passkey and SSID.
Pricing has been set to $70 (AE1000), $80 (E1000), $120 (E2000 and E2100L), and $180 (E3000).
Belkin, apparently inspired by the "explosion of multimedia content," is adding app support to its new wireless routers, the company announced on Wednesday.
"In a recent IDC survey, 72 percent of respondents own a digital still camera and use it at least once a month in the home," Belkin said. "As such, we can expect that more people will want to share their photos and videos in more places."
Belkin's detective work didn't stop there, and the company cited a Forrester study in which the digital music market has grown to $3 billion in the U.S. in 2008. Looking to capitalize on all this, Belkin's "Surf, Share, Play, and Play Max Wireless Routers" will offer a variety of apps, including Music Mover, which lets users play their entire music library on smart devices.
But it's not all about fun play. The Print Genie app allows uses to wirelessly print from any computer on the network, while the Memory Safe app performs automatic backups of photos and files to an external drive (sold separately, of course). Other apps include:
Self Healing: Automatically detect and resolve network problems
Music Labeler: Automatically identifies and labels tracks with correct title, artist, and genre
Daily DJ: Provides personalized playlists from your music library based on your mood
Torrent Genie: Downloads large media files whether your PC is on or off
Bit Boost: Prioritizes traffic on your network for video, gaming, and VoIP
Not all apps are available on all routers. Look for the new line to be made available in April starting at $50.
Oh, Cisco. What a tease you are! The company's been pumping up the general Internet crowd for a game-changing announcement, one that would--and I quote--"forever change the Internet." I was honestly hoping that said unveiled device would be like, a super-crazy consumer router that would... well. I'm not really sure what it would do. Gigabit speeds are more than sufficient for anyone's home networking needs right now (when I'm looking for this column on a terabit connection in five years, I'll have a hearty laugh.) And it's not like we have a new wireless draft on the way any time soon.
It would have been nice and revolutionary for Cisco to embrace--you guessed it--a more open-source platform for its hardware devices. One, it's what I write about and, two, we're kind of in a hardware lull, don't you think? When it comes to consumer routing and switching devices, there's only so much one can do. Aside from adding on new antennas, shifting antennas around in new ways, or adding more ports to the back of a device, what's really propelling router technology forward nowadays?
Of the three routers we’re taking second looks at, none has changed more than Buffalo’s WZR-HP-G300NH. That’s because Buffalo has thrown the firmware we tested earlier out the window and adopted the open-source DD-WRT.
Comparing our earlier benchmark numbers to the performance we recorded this time out, however, we much prefer the Kick Ass award–earning router we tested in January to the one in front of us now. That router turned in the best throughput we’ve ever seen with our client in our well-insulated media room and in our furthest outdoor location; this one took fifth-place finishes in both tests (in a field of seven). We have little doubt the reason for this performance discrepancy is due to the fact that no matter how we configured the router, we couldn’t coax Buffalo’s WLI-UC-G300HP01B USB client adapter to connect to it at a stated data rate faster than 130Mb/s.
Network hardware vendor TRENDnet on Wednesday announced the launch of its 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabite Router, model TEW-691GR.
TRENDnet says its new router is designed for "extreme performance and unparralled quality of service." It comes with three external antennas broadcasting on the 2.4GHz spectrum, with three spatial streams per antenna.
"The 450Mbps TEW-691GR offers unsurpassed wireless throughput and coverage," stated Zak Wood, Director of Global Marketing for TRENDnet. "If you are looking for the ultimate in wireless performance, look for TRENDnet’s 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router."
In addition to the staggering 450Mbps theoretical throughput, the TEW-691GR also boasts Multiple Input Multple Output (MIMO) technology to boost wireless coverage, signal strength, and throughput speed, TRENDnet says.
TRENDnet says its new router will start shipping in May for $160.
Cisco has managed to shoot a special radiation-hardened router into space, next step global domination. The space router is part of the US Department of Defense's Internet Routing in Space (IRIS), and reached orbit by sharing a rocket with an Intelsat satellite. The goal is to use IP routers in space to deliver voice, data, and video via a satellite network the same way land-based lines are used now.
How does this differ from current satellite data routing? Currently, data is sent to satellites via radio waves from specialized ground substations. By deploying IP routers in orbit, Cisco believes that communication can be accomplished using standard internet protocols.
Now that the IRIS system is in orbit, the US government gets first crack at it. They will spend three months examining possible military uses for the system. After that, Cisco will allow businesses to test the system for one year. Possible issues with latency aside, this could open up an entirely new market driving cheap, flexible communication access around the globe.
Trendnet’s TEW-639GR 802.11n router is an ugly duckling that will never grow into a beautiful swan. It also just happens to be the fastest router we’ve tested in some time. It performs well at range, includes a Gigabit Ethernet switch, and with an $80 street price, it’s cheap, too!
The three external antennae aren’t to blame for this router’s homeliness—in fact, we welcome that design choice if it accounts for the router’s excellent performance. Rather, it’s the ultra-cheap plastic shell and the glowing indicator light that screams “wireless router!” like the vacancy sign at a no-tell motel that make this device look so cheesy.
Before we dive into a discussion of what this router can do, let’s cover any limitations that might be deal-breakers for you. This is a single-band router that operates on the 2.4GHz frequency band only, so if your air space is crowded with other people’s APs or you’re looking for a router to pair with your dual-band media streamer, look elsewhere. Likewise if you’re using a VoIP device, since the router’s quality-of-service features are limited to enabling Wi-Fi Multimedia. Lastly, Trendnet didn’t outfit the TEW-639GR with a USB port, so you can’t set it up to function as network attached storage or use it to share a printer over your network.
Routers, while essential, aren't particularly sexy. Most of them stick out like a sore thumb, like the Linksys WRT54GL, an old favorite among power users who like to use third party firmware (like Tomato), but might be put off by the ugly blue casing.
That's the dilemma Lego fanatic Luke Anderson found himself in, so what did he do about it? He gutted it and decked out the assembly in Legos, of course!
"My goal was to recreate, as much as possible, the stackable design of the original WRT54GL case while maintaining full functionality of the router (buttons, LEDs, ports). I also wanted to keep some air flowing through the case to avoid overheating the board," Anderson wrote in his worklog.
Anderson spent a couple of days designing his custom case and about $60 in parts, which is roughly $20 more than he paid for the router to begin with. But it's hard to argue with the end result. And the coolest part? He's packaged all of the design documents and images under the Creative Commons license, so if you get the itch (and have the scratch), you can dress up your Linksys router exactly the same way.
It gets better. Qisada sent the contraption to the FCC, and according to the filing, the router comes with an odd mix of features. We can justify the touchscreen, but a speaker? Apparently it will come in handy when you're watching YouTube videos or tuning into FM radio stations on a device we've traditionally relied on to keep quiet and push our packets to the right PC.
As a router, it boasts 802.11n Wi-Fi, but only one spare Ethernet port. It also includes a USB port and mini USB port.
Check out the FCC page with plenty of related PDF docs and pics here.
Bummed that there's no such thing as an LTE (Long Term Evolution) router? Don't be, because ZyXEL, the China-based maker of various networking gear, today announced the ZLR-2070S, laying claim to the world's first LTE CPE/SOHO router.
"ZyXEL is excited to lead the LTE revolution by bringing innovative solutions to service providers," said Brian Feng, senior VP, Key accounts business unit for ZyXEL. "We are proud to offer service providers the ability to bring wireless high speed Internet access to millions, including those in under-served markets."
The new device comes with two VoIP ports, home networking capabilities via a four-port, 802.11n wireless switch, a USB port for printer sharing and storage devices, and data rates up to 50Mbps.
No word yet on price or availability, but ZyXEL did say it plans to demo the new unit during CES next month.