Like most of its peers, Cisco's Linksys badge started off modestly in the 802.11ac WiFi world last year, offering just one router and one bridge for early adopters. It's taking the complete plunge in 2013 with three new routers and a USB adapter. The AC 1200 (EA6300), AC 1600 (EA6400) and AC 1750 (EA6700) routers all introduce beamforming, which optimizes the signal path and theoretically doubles the real-world speeds versus many past routers. The trio likewise carries gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 to maximize the speed for wired and shared devices, although you'll need to upgrade to higher-end models to enjoy brisker wireless speeds. The AC 1200 tops out at 867Mbps on 5GHz airspace, while springing for the AC 1600 or AC 1750 supplies the 802.11ac spec's full 1.3Gbps capacity; Linksys' lone USB adapter, the AC 580, tops out at a relatively pokey 433Mbps.
A few software tricks are also up the company's sleeve with the new routers. It's possible to set up any of them with a phone or tablet, in addition to a tap of an NFC-based card that's now included in the box. Life gets easier once everything's up and running, too -- a new visual network map provides a better sense of just where any bandwidth bottlenecks might be. Linksys hasn't given pricing for any of the upgraded WiFi devices, although it's just as well when they won't ship until the spring.
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New Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Solutions Improve Home Wireless for Consumers with New Features, Higher Speeds, Longer Ranges and Additional Apps
Cisco Linksys is expanding the Linksys® Smart Wi-Fi portfolio with three new 802.11ac powered Smart Wi-Fi Routers, a new compact 802.11ac USB adapter, new features and new Smart Wi-Fi apps. Together, these innovations give consumers a smarter way to control their wireless home network and connected devices.
With the new Smart Wi-Fi Routers, consumers will enjoy incredibly fast Wi-Fi speeds with exceptional in-house Wi-Fi coverage. Consumers will also notice simplified installation that can be completed in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the routers offer new tools for home network monitoring and control, and new mobile apps for anytime, anywhere remote access of files, photos, videos and music. The new Smart Wi-Fi Routers and compact USB adapter are expected to be available in the spring.
"Today's smart homes and smart devices deserve a smart home network," said Brett Wingo, vice president and general manager, Cisco Home Networking. "With the introduction of our new, powerful hardware and continued growth of Linksys Smart Wi-Fi, we are changing how people think about and use routers in the home. The router is becoming the hub of the smart home allowing parents to control their kids' screen time, ensuring streaming media devices get the bandwidth they need for top video quality, giving consumers an easy way to store and serve up music and video and much more."
Smarter Routers for Smart Devices
With more smart devices entering the home, consumers need Wi-Fi that is powerful, easy to use and can maximize their connected experiences. Linksys' latest additions to its Smart Wi-Fi Router portfolio include the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC1200, AC1600 and AC1750. All three of the new dual-band Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers are equipped with the latest 802.11ac technology, offering fast wireless speeds-up to three times the speed of wireless-N, excellent range and backwards compatibility with 802.11b/g/n.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro, EA6700– The most powerful Smart Wi-Fi Router in the Linksys portfolio, the AC1750 is designed for today's power users with 10 or more connected devices and streaming HD in the home. The dual band AC1750 delivers Wi-Fi speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. This router also offers broad compatibility with the latest devices including, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, game consoles, Smart TVs, Blu-ray players and wireless cameras, among other devices.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1600 Video Enthusiast, EA6400– The dual band AC1600 is an ideal option for homes with five to seven connected devices. This router has Wi-Fi speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1200 Advanced Multimedia, EA6300– Offering up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band, the dual band AC1200 is the perfect fit for a small home with three to five connected devices such as a PC, smartphone and Smart TV.
All three of the new routers are also equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. The USB ports allow for storage devices such as flash drives or hard drives to be connected to the router. With Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports the routers can rapidly transfer files between the connected storage and other devices – ideal for using the router's USB storage capabilities to securely back-up media from consumers' smartphones, tablets or notebooks.
Linksys is also adding Beamforming technology to all new 802.11ac routers to deliver better network range and faster Wi-Fi speeds in the home. Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers with Beamforming technology will precisely adjust, steer and monitor the direction and shape of the Wi-Fi signals in order to send data back and forth over the optimal path, resulting in up to two times the speed of routers without this technology in place.
The Linksys AC 580 USB Wi-Fi Adapter allows consumers to connect their laptops or computers to 802.11ac networks at up to 433 Mbps on the 5GHz band or up to 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
Easier Management and Setup
To make home networks easier for consumers to monitor and control, Linksys is also introducing a smart map. This Smart Wi-Fi tool that will be made available for new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers. The smart map displays a visual representation of the home network and all of the connected devices to give users valuable information about network connectivity and current bandwidth usage so they can easily resolve any possible connectivity issues and get the most out of their home network.
The new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi products are also designed to be even easier to use. To further simplify setup, Linksys' new Smart Wi-Fi Routers can be installed from most tablets and smartphones or from a browser on a PC, without the need for a setup CD. Consumers simply connect to the router with their computer, tablet or smartphone then follow the simple set-up wizard to complete the installation. An optional Linksys Smart Wi-Fi account can be created following the set-up process to provide easy control of the home network, including settings, connected devices and Smart Wi-Fi tools on virtually any device, anytime, anywhere.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Apps
Among the apps coming for Linksys Smart Wi-Fi are a number that will take advantage of the platform's new ability to remotely access storage connected to the router. Four of the apps using this new capability are expected to be available in the spring:
- FileFinch from Fresh Consulting
FileFinch helps users create a personal, secure cloud solution using their own hardware. Users simply connect a USB or hard drive to a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router and click to link their account. They can then access their files anywhere.
- Qnext for Facebook from Qnext Corp.
Qnext lets users privately access and share large files, without uploads, with Facebook friends from a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router.
- HipPlay from Axentra Corporation
HipPlay allows users to access, play and share pictures, music and videos stored at home from anywhere on a mobile device.
- save@home from Xoriant
With save@home users single click to save pictures from a smartphone to their personal cloud at home rather than "backing" up pictures.
To simplify connecting devices to the network, SimpleTap™ is now available with all Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers. SimpleTap simplifies the processes of connecting devices to a home network making it as easy as one touch of a button or a quick tap of a card. With SimpleTap users can take advantage of Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) in a number of ways such as using the NFC card shipping with all 802.11ac enabled Smart Wi-Fi routers, pushing the physical WPS button on a router or pushing the WPS button in the router's browser or app interface.
Linksys plans to begin rolling out its new 802.11ac powered Smart Wi-Fi Routers, software features and Smart Wi-Fi mobile apps in spring 2013.