CES - Netgear gets aggressive on 11n wireless pricing

The company will this week unveil a two-radio 5GHz 802.11n router with a new internal antenna system for less than half the price of rival products

"You don't need a laptop with a management console [to set this up]," says David Henry, director of product marketing for Netgear's consumer products. "You can buy these as singles, plug them in, and push a button to connect them."

The RangeMax Wireless-N Dual Band USB Adapter simply plugs into a notebook's USB port to connect to 11n access points (or 11g or 11a if those are the only ones available). It can run in either 2.4 or 5GHz bands. It is priced at US$100.

To support what are now mass storage requirements for home and small office nets, especially with the growth of multi-media files, Netgear is introducing a two-drive version of its ReadyNAS network-attached storage product, called ReadyNAS Duo.

The new model is a simplified, streamlined version of the four-drive model aimed at the small-midsize business market. Netgear stripped out features like SNMP, the ability to take snapshots of data, and software for integrating with Microsoft Active Directory.

It does have a gigabit Ethernet port, updated firmware now based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, and automated RAID configuration for redundancy. "You plug in the second hard drive and we handle the whole thing automatically," says Sam Feng, director of product marketing, Netgear network storage products. If you need to upgrade, you can pull out both drives and plug them into the four-bay model, which also automatically configures the RAID arrays.

The new model can stream data directly to and from other network devices. Netgear plans to add a client for BitTorrent, allowing the storage array to download directly from the Internet, eliminating the PC as a middleman in that process.

Pricing starts at just less than US$500 with one hard drive. The product is available in three models: 500GB, 750GB or 1TB. It will ship in first quarter of 2008.

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