January 09, 2012
| by Steven Castle
Networking company Netgear is introducing a number of products at the Consumer Electronics Show to help people maintain robust networks for both computers and streaming content, including a media storage router, a Wi-Fi extender and a device to network home theater and gaming applications over a home’s existing power lines.
“The average household now has more than six network connected devices, and more than half the traffic in the home is real-time videos, says David Henry, vice president of Netgear’s retail business unit. “This demand on the network is new, and what we need is a network upgrade,” he adds.
Chief among Netgear’s announcements is the WNDR4700 Media Storage Router, a combination 2-terabyte network storage device and router that can backup media and computers connected to it automatically. It supports both Apple Time Machine backup and Windows PC backup services, and includes Netgear’s ReadyShare Cloud solution for remote access from connected devices and from tablets or smartphones. A media app for iOS and Android devices will enable consumers to use their smartphones or tablets to manage and stream media files stored on the router to any DLNA-enabled device in the home. It will be available this summer, with a price to be announced.
A WN2500RP Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender extends dual-band Wi-Fi coverage for a home network in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands concurrently, reducing the effects of WiFi interference. It can be set up with a push of an authentication button and has four Ethernet ports for devices like a set-top box, Blu-ray player, TV, networked DVR or other entertainment gear. It is available now for $90.
The XAVB5101 Powerline 500 Nano instantly converts a standard electrical wall outlet into a high-speed network connection for up to 500 Mbps speed for HD and 3D HD streaming, multimedia, multiplayer gaming and other home theater applications. It will be available this quarter for $120.
For consumers who want to connect multiple devices in a room, including TVs, media players, game consoles, PCs and other Ethernet-enabled devices, the WNCE4004 N900 Video and Gaming 4-Port WiFi Adapter connects up to four wired devices to a Wi-Fi router at top speed. It will be available this summer for $80.
Netgear also announced that Hulu Plus is now available on the company’s NeoTV Streaming Player. Intel’s Wireless Display technology (WiDi) will be added to future NeoTV streaming players. With Intel WiDi, users can wirelessly display content from their laptop screen on their TV, in up to 1080p full HD video.
Henry said that networking products using the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi spec, which provides 1 gigabit per second speed, will be available this year.
Netgear also showed its Smart Network Cloud Application Platform that will allow users to download apps from a variety of categories to their Netgear home network products for media, gaming, security, energy conservation, and managing smart home devices such as wireless thermostats for energy efficiency, ensuring priority and performance for streaming media entertainment.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates