At this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Netgear showed off a new family of networking products that the company promises will simplify many of the complex tasks that consumers now face when attempting to store and access networked multimedia content.
The growing adoption of Internet applications, such as social networking, video streaming, multiplayer gaming, and VoIP, has resulted in the creation of a new backbone technology that is driving both productivity and entertainment in the connected home, noted Netgear CEO Patrick Lo.
"These emerging applications have created the demand for home-networking products that deliver faster speeds over larger areas with greater reliability." Lo said.
To meet this demand, Netgear's latest wireless routers, bridges, and adapters all are based on the latest Wi-Fi specification known as 802.11n, which is capable of delivering signals at faster speeds, and over longer distances, than previous specs. What's more, many of the company's new wireless products feature Wi-Fi Protected Setup -- a technology that allows consumers to connect clients to a network simply by pressing a button.
Priced at $129.99, Netgear's new RangeMax Wireless-N router includes an automatic Quality of Service (QoS) capability for enabling specific home network traffic to be prioritized. With QoS, the data packets associated with time-sensitive applications, such as VoIP or online games, are given first dibs on network bandwidth. In addition to introducing the new RangeMax router, Netgear also rolled out a new 802.11n USB adapter.
All of Netgear's latest 802.11n offerings integrate so-called "metamaterial" technology -- which places multiple antennas in close proximity to each other. The resulting array, according to Netgear, delivers superior range and throughput while avoiding interference from other signals in the vicinity of the network.
NAS for consumers
Netgear also showed off a new family of consumer-oriented network attached storage (NAS) products designed to give consumers the ability to centralize, organize, and share digital media within the home. The ReadyNAS Duo -- which is capable of supporting up to two SATA drives -- will enable consumers to add up to 2 TB (2,000 GB) of raw storage to their home networks.
The ReadyNAS Duo is designed to enable digital entertainment to be downloaded directly to the storage platform without the need for any intervening computer. Featuring integrated support for the popular BitTorrent protocol, ReadyNAS Duo can download multimedia content from the Internet and then stream it to any entertainment center in the home that is equipped with a media adapter.
When the optional second drive is added to the mix, the ReadyNAS Duo automatically mirrors all digital data to prevent a disk failure from resulting in any lost data. Slated for introduction is the first quarter of 2008, the entry-level ReadyNAS Duo platform, which is equipped with a single 500-GB drive, will be priced at $499.