Cisco rolls its first Linksys 802.11ac WiFi router and bridge, kicks off Connect Cloud app platform (video)

Cisco won't be the fastest out of the gate with an 802.11ac WiFi router, but it's certainly one of the most ambitious. The dual-band Linksys EA6500 and a companion, single-band Universal Media Connector network bridge hike the bandwidth up to 802.11ac's 1.3Gbps peak, each of them carrying their own quartet of gigabit Ethernet jacks. A pair of USB ports on the EA6500 should make sharing storage that much faster as well. If you ask Cisco, however, the real highlight is the new Cisco Connect Cloud app platform. Not unlike Novatel's MiFi apps, the software helps either manage the router itself (think parental controls) or tap into other devices around the home, including AirPlay sharing and remote camera monitoring. There's even a new SimpleTap hardware integration platform that will pair third-party WiFi gear like Onkyo receivers to a router through Android and iOS smartphone apps. Eventually, that should include a gentle NFC-based nudge.

A Linksys Developer Community is starting now with six app developers already lined up, and support is due for any access point Cisco deems worthy of the Smart Wi-Fi Router name. That said, you'll have to wait awhile if you want the 802.11ac tag attached to that router at the same time. The currently-without-a-price EA6500 doesn't hit shops until early August; you'll have to wait until September for the equally priceless Universal Media Connector. %Gallery-159086%