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SMC Networks introduces 2.4 GHz Certified Draft N router, USB 2.0 adapter: The $60 router includes gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi Protected Setup support. The $40 USB adapter looks nicely compact, too. Prices have now dropped to what 802.11g hit in about 2005.
Another firm joins the Wi-Fi Alliance certified Draft N parade: SMC has achieved certification for its gigabit router and its USB 2.0 adapter. You have to navigate quite a ways down in the SMC support system to find the firmware download. Here’s the link for the WGBR14-N router, and for the WUSB-N dongle.
Read my review at Macworld.com of the new gigabit Ethernet version of the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n (Extreme N): Apple updated their Extreme N last month with auto-sensing gigabit Ethernet on all four included ports, but that’s not all they goosed. As I suspected, the internal 10/100 Mbps Ethernet support limited the device’s top rate, which I measured at about 90 Mbps whether a single stream from an 802.11n-equipped Mac to another such machine or to a wired LAN Mac.
With the new gigabit Ethernet base station, the maximum Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi speed remains the same, but the Wi-Fi-to-LAN rate shoots up to 140 Mbps when gigabit Ethernet is on the hardwired side. That’s in 5 GHz with wide channels, which is the ideal case. I had poorer rates in 2.4 GHz, but that was because the RF environment where I was testing apparently got worse since February, when I reviewed the first version of the base station.
Speed was improved overall, including in LAN/WLAN to WAN (that’s Wi-Fi over the WAN port or LAN Ethernet over the WAN port) when network address translation (NAT) is enabled from 30 Mbps with Wi-Fi and 60 Mbps with Ethernet to 50 Mbps and 70 Mbps, respectively. If you’re using the base station as an access point, handling NAT elsewhere, then the speed isn’t capped at all.
This is a Wi-Fi base station through and through now, by the way; as noted a few days ago, Apple updated their firmware to a certified Draft N release.
The Cisco Aironet 1250 Series will ship next month: The device is Draft 2.0 (certified Draft N) and it’s the first of its kind for the enterprise market. More will follow, from what I hear.
Apple has released firmware for its AirPort Extreme with N base stations that bring it to certified Draft 2.0: A few days ago, I noticed that Apple’s N base station was listed as being a Wi-Fi Draft N certified product. Apple has now released the firmware that brought them that certification. The 7.2.1 release can be downloaded through the company’s AirPort Utility, which provides automatic updates to their firmware.
The Wi-Fi Alliance lists a few dozen products from major manufacturers that have achieved Draft N certification: The certification program uses the Draft 2.0 that’s the current circulating set of understandings about what 802.11n will comprise. It’s unlikely to change much before completion next year. The Wi-Fi Alliance made some noise in late June when chipmakers had their reference designs certified, but as you can see by following the link, Apple, Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link, Intel (Centrino products), Lenovo, Linksys, NetGear, and SMC all have one or several products that have reached certification compliance, too.
Draft 2.0 products are starting to flow: SMC is shipping three new 802.11n devices with Draft 2.0 support, the most recent agreed-upon set of principles on which next-generation Wi-Fi is being built The SMC Barricade N Wireless 4-port Gigabit Broadband Router is $175 (list) includes WPS and a stateful packet inspection firewall. It also supports printer sharing via a USB 2.0 port. SMB also released an access point, the EZ Connect N Draft 802.11n Wireless Access Point/Ethernet Client—naming consultant, stat!—which can be used to extend a network without needing all the routing functions, or can act as a client adapter for Ethernet-only equipment or devices with older Wi-Fi standards embedded. It’s $115. Finally, their USB 2.0 adapter ($63) brings Draft 2.0 to any Windows system with a USB port.