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Pre-11n Leads Linksys Intros

Linksys will show a full range of products from routers to Skype phones this week at CES.

The company will have three networking entries, the WRT600N dual band N gigabit router with StorageLink, the WPC dual band wireless N notebook adapter and the WRT330N wireless N gaming router.

The first WRT600N and WPC600N support both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands allowing consumers to optimize their network for either entertainment or data usage, said Eric Deming, Linksys’ senior product marketing manager. The router, which will be upgradable to the full 802.11n specification when that is finalized in 2008. Pricing and shipping have not been set.

For gamers Linksys has the WRT330N gaming router. This has a special, high-powered processor to create a network that will satisfy gamers, Deming said. The unit gives priority to gaming data packets, over data and VoIP, on the network, so there is no drop off or lag. Typical data rates hit the 150GB per second rate, he added.

“We hope to prove to gamers that Wi-Fi will work for them,” Deming said, adding the simplicity of constructing a wireless network for a LAN gaming party, compared to using wires, should appeal to the hard core gamers.

The gaming router will carry a $199 suggested retail price and will ship in early January.

Linksys is also about to start shipping PLE200 PowerLine AV Ethernet Adapter. This is based on the HomePlug AV standard and under the best circumstances will deliver a data rate of about 100MB per second with a normal rate of 30MB per second. The kit will come with two adapters and the Ethernet cable needed. Initial pricing is $179, but Deming said this should come down over time due to the competition between the four vendors now making Powerline chipsets.

Linksys believes Powerline now holds a great deal of potential, particularly the models based on the HomePlug AV specification those are the types most likely to be adopted by consumer electronic vendors.

One new product that ushers Linksys into a new segment of the networking category is the NAS200 network storage system. The device comes with two empty 3.5-inch hard drive bays and has two USB ports.

Deming said the company decided to offer the NAS200 without drives to enable customers to get the most storage for their money, particularly with storage pricing so volatile.

“This gives them an entry into NAS for a low price. It lets them buy the drive they want at the best price,” he said.

Pricing has not been set.

Another new product is the WPSM54G Wireless-G PrintServer. The products primary feature is it gives access over the network to all a multifunction printers features, such as scanning and faxing, Deming said. In addition, since the server operates on the network it gives this access at all times, not just when the network’s primary computer is on.