While last year saw the announcement of the “ac” high-speed improvement to the 802.11 standard, this year has been all about loading it into devices, and Belkin and Linksys look ready to compete with an 802.11ac product of their own.
The new router from Belkin’s networking brand is purely that – a router, no modem sadly – and has been designed to bring speeds up to 1300Mbps to people with 802.11ac devices, and 600Mbps maximum speeds for everyone else with an 802.11n device, though the router should also be compatible (just not at these speeds) with 802.11 a/b/g devices, too.
Named the AC1900 (though found with the model number EA6900-AU), the new Linksys routers sports both a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port, as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports for plugging devices in and keeping them quick across the network.
Interestingly, it’s also a router aimed at offering more antenna control, with three external antennas included designed the spread the network across more space.
“With Australians consuming streaming media across a wide range of connected devices in the home, there has never been more pressure on the home network,” said Brendan Sparks, Head of Marketing and Product Manager at Belkin in Australia and New Zealand.
“The introduction of the new Linksys Wireless Router delivers an easy to install, extremely fast solution to consumers while introducing new features such as the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi platform.”
The Smart WiFi platform is really the final piece in the WiFi router puzzle for Belkin and Linksys, relying on an account created at Linksys and apps for iOS and Android to let you control the network from anywhere, with parental control, guest access, and networking apps. It’s this platform that makes the router “smart,” though Linksys has also made it possible to install the router from devices that we consider “smart” these days, such as smartphones and tablets, making it PC-less router.
As we said before, not all devices will be able to get the high speeds of the router, though there are a few 802.11ac devices in the market that can be found, such as the HTC One, the latest Apple MacBook Air, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, Samsung’s bigger Galaxy Mega 6.3, and this year’s Apple iMac, too.
If you have a computer without 802.11ac, however, Belkin and Linksys are releasing a USB wireless AC adaptor (WUSB6300-AS) to let devices without the in-built goodness of 802.11ac jump on board.
Both devices should be available from this week in Australia, with the AC1900 router coming in at $349.95 recommended retail price, while the wireless adaptor will come in at $99.95.