updated 06:41 pm EDT, Wed June 27, 2012
Invites developers to design apps for cloud platform
In a trio of related announcements today, Cisco unveiled a new next-generation Wi-Fi router, a media sharing hub, and an ecosystem meant to support both devices. The new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router and Universal Media Connector will work in conjunction to allow users greater device interoperability, at speeds up to three times faster than current Wi-Fi routers. Cisco hopes that the two new devices will find support from developers, and the company has also rolled out a new community aimed at nurturing an app ecosystem to take advantage of the two new devices' capabilities.
The Smart Wi-Fi Router features draft 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, the forthcoming standard in Wi-Fi transmission, which is several times faster than current routers. The new router is backwards compatible with wireless networks and devices using 802.11a, b, g, and n. The device operates on the 2.4GHz band at up to 450Mbps, and the 5GHz band at up to 1,300 Mbps. It features two USB ports, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port.
The Universal Media Connector allows users to connect Smart TVs, game consoles, and other devices to a Wi-Fi network and stream HD 3D content wirelessly. The Connector features four Gigabit Ethernet ports and operates in the 5GHz band, allowing for a clearer Wi-Fi signal. The Media Connector also features 802.11ac capability and is backwards compatible with 802.11a and n devices and networks.
The two new devices will be compatible with the Cisco Connect Cloud, which is designed to eliminate most of the technical aspects of home media sharing. Connect Cloud includes a mobile app allowing users to access its features using a mobile phone. One major feature in Connect Cloud is SimpleTap, which allows users to connect devices to a Smart Wi-Fi router with a single button tap or by scanning a device or tag.
Cisco also debuted six mobile apps that integrate with Connect Cloud. These apps allow users to beam online videos to Smart TVs and AirPlay-compatible devices, remotely access home monitoring cameras, and place parental controls on Internet access remotely.
Finally, the Cisco announced the roll-out of its new Linksys Developer Community, which is aimed at getting developers to make apps to take advantage of the Smart Wi-Fi Router's capabilities. The aforementioned Connect Cloud apps were developed by the inaugural participants in the Developer Community, and the company hopes that more developers will join the fold soon.
The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA65000 and Universal Media Connector will be available later this summer at select major retailers. The devices will also be available online at the Linksys store.