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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Netgear's Dual-Band Routers, Powerline Adapters and Home Theater Dominate CES Showcase

Forget the slow reveal approach--Netgear has dropped a ton of new products all at once at its CES press conference, including four wireless routers, powerline adapters, and wireless accessories aimed at home theater setups. The grand total? 18 devices, ready to pipe high-speed 802.11n and powerline wired Internet throughout your home.

While faster, more reliable routers are always welcome, Netgear has a couple more interesting innovations to show off, like the Netgear Genie which offers “easy dashboard control to manage, monitor, and repair home networks.” And if you’re intrigued by new gear, read on to find out more about Netgear’s Android-powered home security system.


The Netgear N600 Premium Edition is the company’s high-end router, with features that extend above and beyond its basic dual-band wireless N service. The N600 can share files from a connected USB drive to any computer on the network, and will turn any printer connected via USB into a wirelessly accessible device the same way. The N600 Premium also boasts fast HD video streaming from its USB port and dynamic channel selection that will pick out an empty frequency for your Wi-Fi connection.

The USB services are cool, but you’ll only be able to use one at a time since the router has only one USB port. The Netgear Genie feature may not be appealing to power users, but could be the perfect utility for a mom and dad router; it’s designed to simplify the headache that can be router management from a control panel. The N750 will retail for $179.99.

Unlike the premium model, the regular N600 houses a pair of USB ports and integrated modem capabilities for ADSL2+. There’s no genie here, but the same dual-band speed and USB storage sharing is present and accounted for. Look for the N600 Modem/Router at a price of $199.99.

Netgear labels its N750 wireless dual band router as the ideal device for HD video streaming thanks to its speed throughput of up to 450Mbps. It comes in at the same price point as the N600 Premium--$119.99. Finally, the N300 router adds powerline capabilities to the mix. The N300 isn’t a dual-band router, but it does give you the option to access high-speed wired internet in any room in your house with additional powerline adapters. It’ll still give you typical Wi-Fi access from wherever you install the router for an MSRP of $119.99. Curious if Powerline adapters are worth the cost? Will and Norm have you covered.

Wireless Accessories

Netgear’s updated wireless accessories are about what you’d expect--a new Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender to serve as a wireless repeater, and two powerline solutions: the Internet Adapter for Home Theater and the Powerline AV 200 Nano Adapter Kit. The Range Extender runs $99.99 (for that price, you may be better off getting a fully featured router that supports WDS).

The Home Theater powerline kit focuses heavily on performance and Netgear claims it supports data transfer up to 500Mbps, enough for 1080p streaming video in 3D. It costs $169.99, 30 bucks more than the Nano Adapter Kit--which is only rated at 200Mbps.

Storage, media players, and...home security?

Wireless connectivity is par for the course for Netgear, but the company’s got a few devices at CES that fall outside the norm. The DLNA and TiVo compatible ReadyNAS Ultra 2 falls on the low end of Netgear’s network-attached storage line and will presumably be priced accordingly. It comes in diskless, 2TB and 4TB configurations powered by a gig of ram and 1.8GHz Atom processor.

There’s also the $199.99 NeoTV 550 Ultimate HD Media Player, which differs from your typical media player with the inclusion of an eSATA port. Finally, there’s the Home Security Control Screen with IP capabilities. It runs on Android and connects to wireless sensors and cameras for home monitoring. It even has a cell backup for sending emergency signals to an external monitoring center. Who knew Netgear cared so much about keeping us safe?

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