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Linksys enters 802.11n fray, skirts chip-set questions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Cisco Systems Inc. subsidiary Linksys Inc. announced four 802.11n product lines today (April 24) and confirmed that the products would use chips from the three vendors currently supporting the nascent standard. But company executives would not comment on the reportedly questionable performance of early, pre-draft chip sets from Broadcom Corp. and Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

Linksys launched two consumer-class products: the $149 WRT 300N router, which uses the 2.4-GHz band, and the WAG 300N DSL modem-and-router combination, aimed at the European market and priced at 249 euros (about $309). Both products use two data streams and three antennas. Malachy Moynihan, vice president and general manager of Linksys Home Networking, said the WRT 300N is “available at BestBuy.com” now. PC cards for both products are available; the cards sell for $129 in the States.

Two small-business products also debuted: the WAP 4400N access point, priced at $149 and offering a Gigabit Ethernet port, power-over-Ethernet and quality-of-service prioritization, and the WRV 4400N security router, which uses four Gigabit Ethernet ports and adds an intrusion prevention system, protection against denial-of-service attacks and support for secure HTTPS. The router will sell for $199, with PC cards fetching $149.

Asked how Linksys would handle interoperability at such an early phase in the draft-standard approval, Moynihan said the company would guarantee superior performance to 802.11g in all environments and that it would work customers with to ensure the interoperability of 802.11n products.

“We expect 802.11n to quickly become the primary product we ship, at least at the high end,” Moynihan said.

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