Linksys unveils networked storage and its fastest WiFi router yet

Linksys EA8500 router

You knew that Linksys wouldn't sit idly by while competitors like ASUS and Netgear rolled out extra-fast WiFi routers -- sure enough, the Belkin-owned networking giant is coming to CES 2015 with some speedy wireless of its own. The company's EA8500 promises brisk, interruption-free 802.11ac at 1.73 Gbps thanks to both multi-user antennas (which keeps the speed up when the network is crowded) and a relatively quick 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. It's also loaded with frills, such as four Gigabit Ethernet jacks as well as ports to share your eSATA and USB 3.0 storage. The EA8500 will be expensive at $280 when it ships in the spring, but it'll be accompanied by the $180 WRT1200AC if you're willing to settle for "just" 1.3 Gbps while maintaining similar features and hackable firmware.

To top it off, Linksys is also diving into network attached storage through its new WRT Network Storage Bay. The enclosure will share two desktop hard drives (plus any drive you hook up through eSATA or USB 3.0) with your home network. The $130 box won't break new ground when it arrives in the spring, but it's worth a look if you want your backup hub or media server to match a Linksys router sitting on top.

Linksys WRT Network Storage Bay