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Linksys Intros New 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi Routers

A few weeks ago, we got an early glimpse into what Linksys plans to showcase during CES 2013 in Las Vegas. The big theme during the meeting seemed to be Beamforming, apps, and making the overall setup super-simple and CD-free. Now we can safely talk about the company's Spring 2013 lineup which will be on display at the show.

Slated to launch in Spring 2013 are the AC1200, AC1600 and AC1750 802.11ac dual-band Smart Wi-Fi routers, and a super-compact USB adapter. All three routers will feature a CD-free setup, an App Center for locating and installing apps developed specifically for Linksys Smart Wi-Fi routers, SimpleTap to easily add NFC-enabled devices to the network, and easy account management in the home and from a mobile device on-the-go. But wait, there's more!

"To make home networks easier for consumers to monitor and control, Linksys is also introducing a smart map," the company said. "This Smart Wi-Fi tool that will be made available for new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers. The smart map displays a visual representation of the home network and all of the connected devices to give users valuable information about network connectivity and current bandwidth usage so they can easily resolve any possible connectivity issues and get the most out of their home network."

Here's a bit more on each router, provided by Linksys:

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro (EA6700)
The most powerful Smart Wi-Fi Router in the Linksys portfolio, the AC1750 is designed for today’s power users with 10 or more connected devices and streaming HD in the home. The dual-band AC1750 delivers Wi-Fi speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1600 Video Enthusiast (EA6400)
The dual band AC1600 is an ideal option for homes with five to seven connected devices.  This router has Wi-Fi speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. 
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1200 Advanced Multimedia (EA6300)
Offering up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz band and up to 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band, the dual band AC1200 is the perfect fit for a small home with three to five connected devices such as a PC, smartphone and Smart TV. 

All three routers provide five Gigabit Ethernet ports and an unspecified number of USB 3.0 ports (likely two), the latter of which can be used to share printers, external drives and more across the local network. Even more, these attached devices can be accessed outside the home so that videos and images can be quickly uploaded to make room for more on your mobile device.

All three Smart Wi-Fi routers will also offer Beamforming technology to deliver better network range and faster Wi-Fi speeds. "Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers with Beamforming technology will precisely adjust, steer and monitor the direction and shape of the Wi-Fi signals in order to send data back and forth over the optimal path, resulting in up to two times the speed of routers without this technology in place," the company said.

The Linksys USB dongle, the AC580 (AE6000) will be dual band as well, offering speeds up to 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It will have a "mini" form factor, meaning it won't protrude like a huge finger from the side of your laptop, but the drawback is that it won't support the faster transfer speeds of USB 3.0 unfortunately.

Finally, the company has revealed several apps that will take advantage of the new 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi routers including FileFinch from Fresh Consulting, Qnext for Facebook from Qnext Corp., HipPlay from Axentra Corporation, and save@home from Xoriant. Linksys said in the December meeting that more than 50 developers are creating apps focused on access control, media control, home monitoring and remote media.

"Today's smart homes and smart devices deserve a smart home network,” said Brett Wingo, vice president and general manager, Cisco Home Networking. "With the introduction of our new, powerful hardware and continued growth of Linksys Smart Wi-Fi, we are changing how people think about and use routers in the home. The router is becoming the hub of the smart home allowing parents to control their kids' screen time, ensuring streaming media devices get the bandwidth they need for top video quality, giving consumers an easy way to store and serve up music and video and much more."

Linksys plans to begin rolling out its new 802.11ac powered Smart Wi-Fi Routers, software features and Smart Wi-Fi mobile apps in spring 2013. The SmartMap feature showcased in the new routers will also be rolled out in an update to all Linksys Smart Wi-Fi routers in Spring 2013.

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