Ciscos MIMO Router Delivers Faster Data Speeds

The new Linksys 802.11G wireless broadband router for home and small business use is powerful enough to raise security issues.

Cisco Systems Linksys division Tuesday announced a powerful new 802.11G home/small business wireless broadband router for local area Internet networks that is expected to deliver data speeds "a magnitude" faster than current G-level routers, an industry analyst told

Linksys newest Wireless-G (802.11g) Broadband Router uses MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) and so-called smart radio and antenna technology with standards-based Wireless-G to deliver data speeds "right around the 54M-bps level," IDC networking analyst Jean Kaplan said.

"To put this into perspective: Realistically, most (802.11) B-level routers are supposed to transport 11M bps, when in reality they only move 1M bps most of the time," Kaplan said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about what notebook vendors are doing with MIMO wireless technology.

"G-level routers are supposed to get up to 54M bps, but in reality, they usually deliver about 5 to 6M bps. These new MIMO routers are capable of 100M bps, but they will in fact deliver right around the 50M- to 54M-bps level.

"In any case, you will notice a marked difference between these new MIMO products … [and] the older ones. And the difference between the 50M-bps and 100M-bps data speed really isnt that noticeable to most people," Kaplan said.

Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems Inc., said the WRT54GX2 Wireless-G Broadband Router will retail for $99. Most B- and G-level routers sell for anywhere from $25 to $50, Kaplan said.

MIMO technology is a key component in the upcoming Wireless-N (802.11n) standard. It uses multiple radios and antennas on a wireless router or client adapter to provide improved performance in range and speed.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about the current status of the 802.11n standard.

Overlaying the signals of two Wireless-G-compatible radios enables the product to utilize signal reflections that confuse other technologies to increase range and reduce dead spots in the wireless coverage area, Linksys said.

Kaplan said security is going to become more important for users investing in these more powerful routers for their home or small business networks.

"Because the signal goes out so much further and stronger, users are going to have to get into that administration window in the base computer and make some decisions on encryption, user privileges, etc.," Kaplan said.

Linksys said the MIMO router is backward-compatible with Wireless-B, Wireless-G and other Linksys SRX products.

To enhance both data protection and privacy, the new router can encode all wireless transmissions with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access.)

It uses an SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) firewall to enhance protection to all the wired and wireless PCs against intruders and most known Internet attacks, while also supporting VPN pass-through, the company said. Configuration can be done simply with the use of the browser-based configuration utility.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...