CES 2013: Linksys targets 'smart' homes with new router series

Summary:The latest wireless routers from Linksys aim to be "smarter" as well as faster in connecting consumers with their devices at home.

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LAS VEGAS -- Linksys is jumping onboard with the all-around smarter home configuration with the introduction of its new wireless router series for consumers.

Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi portfolio is being expanded with three new 802.11ac powered Smart Wi-Fi Routers and a compact 802.11ac USB adapter alongside some new features and apps.

Based on the way Linksys has designed and framed these routers, the Cisco-owned company's idea of a smarter home appears to center around making multimedia content transferable and accessible as near instantly as possible while being manageable from desktop and mobile interfaces.

Here's a rundown on the three new wireless routers:

  • Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro, EA6700: Designed for "power users" with 10 or more connected devices while support HD streaming on anything from smart TVs to smartphones. The dual-band AC1750 is supposed to deliver Wi-Fi speeds up to 1,300Mbps on a 5GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
  • Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1600 Video Enthusiast, EA6400: Designed for homes with five to seven connected devices.  This dual-band router is intended to offer Wi-Fi speeds up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
  • Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1200 Advanced Multimedia, EA6300: Intended for smaller homes with three to five connected devices such as smartphones, desktops and even smart TVs, the AC 1200 offers up to 867Mbps on 5GHz band and up to 300Mbps on 2.4GHz band.

Beyond the 802.11ac technology, these routers do share some more common traits that focus on simplifying content transfer. For starters, all of them sport Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports for connecting USB flash drives, hard drives, and other devices for providing another medium to transfer files among connected devices such as smartphones and laptops.

Additionally, Linksys integrated beamforming technology to speed up the transfer speeds while boosting the network's range.

Linksys is also planning to tie in some new apps that take advantage of the Smart Wi-Fi platform's ability to remotely access storage connected to the router.

One dubbed FileFinch might be of most interest for business purposes being that it sets up a personal, secure cloud solution using the owner's own hardware. Users connect a USB flash drive or hard disk to a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router and click to link their accounts. At that point, they should be able to access files from anywhere.

The new Linksys 802.11ac powered Smart Wi-Fi Routers, the Linksys AC 580 USB Wi-Fi Adapter, software features and Smart Wi-Fi mobile apps will begin rolling out this spring.

While these releases provide some coloring about the future of the company on the product side, the business side is a bit more cloudy. As a reminder, it was reported in December that Cisco was planning to jettison Linksys, a company it purchased for $500 million in 2003. However, there hasn't been much of an update on this front since then.

Image via Linksys

Topics: CES, Cisco, Hardware, Networking, Unified Comms

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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