Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > CiscoHome

Home networking changes home entertainment

June 24, 2011 at 8:59 am PST

Guest Blogger: Ted Kritsonis

Experience Entertainment with Lastest Networking Devices
Experience Entertainment with Lastest Networking Devices

Ask anyone you know what router they have, and it’s likely that they won’t really know. The router, for all intents and purposes, is not the sexy piece of gear that turns heads when people walk into a room, it’s the functional device that ensures everything in its wavelength looks and plays nice.

Take that impression and apply it to how your router can augment your home entertainment setup, and you may have started a small revolution in your living room.

Consider this: television didn’t really change all that much for decades. After colour became ubiquitous in the 60s and 70s, there was no change in both screen resolution and aspect ratio. Colour saturation and TV sizes certainly improved, but the whole evolution of home entertainment has only really become radicalized in the last five years.

The biggest reason why is because content is way more free flowing than it’s ever been. Who says you have to stick to physical media like DVDs and Blu-rays if you don’t want to? Maybe you’d prefer to rip your whole collection and stream it from your computer to your TV using a game console or media player. I know I did, and I’ve been doing that since 2006-07.

But the difference between then and now is speed, range and power. The routers of that time just couldn’t offer the kind of pipelines today’s units can. Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless-N, and now 3x3 technology (courtesy of the E4200) have all helped make it more than possible to stream just about anything. Media players like the Apple TV, Western Digital Live TV Hub and Asus O!Play are dedicated set top boxes devoted to playing back media content to an HDTV.

If you have a network attached storage (NAS) drive, basically a big fat hard drive that is connected directly to your router, then you’ve got a home server that feeds you the content you want on demand. But routers now also increasingly have at least one USB port in the back specifically for plugging in an external drive so that users can access it from anywhere in the home network. Why not watch a movie in the upstairs bedroom when the router and drive are nestled in the basement? Convenience and simplicity at its best.

Use a switch or a hub and you can plug in even more devices and storage drives to increase the scope of the home entertainment setup. Media players and game consoles are increasingly supporting third-party content services like Netflix, Vudu, Facebook and more. Why go out to rent a movie when you can just browse and pick from the comfort of the couch.

The fact is, today’s consumer isn’t willing to wait to watch something they can access already. It’s the same reason I don’t have cable or satellite, but instead use a combination of digital antenna (for free over-the-air HD channels), a NAS with a media player and my iPad or laptop. And even with all that, I still have shows I need to catch up on.

All of this is possible because your Internet connection is being distributed better. Ever notice a difference between the router your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you and one you can buy off the shelf, like the lineup Linksys offers? The difference is obvious once you start to see how much faster downloads and transfer rates are when you’re moving files around from one device to another over the network.

 But you also see it when streaming wirelessly to your TV, laptop, tablet, smartphone or whatever other device you’re looking to watch from.

A good home network requires a good Internet connection to start, and a good Internet connection requires a good router. A radical home entertainment setup requires all of the above to make it what it truly should be.

Guest Blogger: Ted Kritsonis

Ted Kritsonis is a technology journalist and video personality covering the wonderful world of consumer electronics. He writes, blogs and appears in a number of publications in Canada and the U.S. including the Globe and Mail, WhatsYourTech.ca, CBC.ca, Huffington Post Canada and Digital Trends.  Ted does this and more from the comfort of his home in Toronto using an E4200 for maximum performance. Follow Ted on twitter:  @Teddy__K or at: http://whatsyourtech.ca

Tags: , , ,

Linksys E4200 Wireless Router Supports IPv6

June 20, 2011 at 8:59 am PST

New firmware (Ver.1.0.02) for the Linksys E4200 now provides support for IPv6.  IPv6 is the next generation Internet protocol.

Cisco as an organization is committed to supporting the transition to IPv6 in all its products and services it provides to service providers, enterprise and consumer customers.  IPv6 is foundational to the next generation Internet enabling a range of new services and improved user experiences.

As ISPs begin rolling out IPv6 service to their customers, consumers will need new routers and gateways that support IPv6 to participate in this next generation Internet.  Today, Cisco will begin enabling IPv6 across its consumer line of routers including the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band Wireless-N Router.  It is critical that consumers begin looking for products and devices that support IPv6 or can be updated to IPv6.   Cisco has been and will continue to be a leader in the development of IPv6 so consumers can feel confident that home networking products from Cisco will provide top line performance now as well as providing a foundation for the future.

Now is the time to formulate an IPv6 transition strategy for your home network. Cisco recommends a three phase transition strategy:

  • Preserve your current investments in IPv4 as you transition over to IPv6 supported products.
  • Prepare Cisco Linksys home networking products provide native support for IPv6 as well as IPv4, ensuring your network is ready for the next generation of technologies.
  • Prosper – Take advantage of the next generation Internet at home which includes new applications incorporating video, mobility, energy management and cloud services providing for a better home networking experience.

We are introducing native IPv6 capability into the high end home networking product first, verifying its functionality, proving its stability, and then planning to reuse the base code into the other select Linksys products. While many of the base IPv6 specifications have been available for years, the IETF published RFC 6204 which defines the basic requirements for an IPv6 home router as recently as April 2011. IP is one of the most important protocols to the Internet, and IPv6 is the biggest change in IP in over 30 years. We want to be careful that the implementations we ship work well and adhere to the latest standards so that we do not hinder the adoption of IPv6 by content providers and ISPs.

Simply because there is not a widely deployed end to end IPv6 network yet (even though there are regional deployments). There are four basic areas where IPv6 support is required for the home:

  1. Endpoint devices (e.g., PCs, phones, tablets, etc.)
  2. A v6 broadband access network
  3. A v6 Internet (including websites with content)
  4. Home routers

Without all four areas, IPv6 is likely not to be used. To date, endpoint devices represent the bulk of IPv6 deployment. Home routers and Internet are following quickly with IPv6 capability. Broadband access networks will be the last to mass deploy IPv6 services (even though there are significant IPv6 deployments from major service providers available now).

The latest firmware for the Linksys E4200 is now available for download at our website: http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-us/wireless/linksys/E4200 and then going to the Download tab and then select hardware version 1. 

 Also note we have added some additional features in this firmware release including:

  • Support of USB printer connected to the router’s USB port, so that a user may send a print job to the printer via the local area network. ** This feature requires Cisco connect software v1.4 or later which is also available on the same download page as described above **
  • Added support of Native IPv6 and 6rd tunnel Internet connections
  • Added support of bridge mode
  • Prevented devices on the guest network to access any private IP address
IPV6 support will be available in other Linksys E-Series in the coming months. 
 

Tags: , , , ,

News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: April 4-8

Check out some of our top news stories of the week here at Cisco!

1.) ’Socialnomics’: When Word of Mouth Goes Global

There are many social media sites that have turned out to have been fads, but it’s hard to imagine the greater social media movement grinding to a halt. Author Erik Qualman says social media is here to stay, and companies must embrace it. Where do you see social media going? Do you think it’s a fad? Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Next Generation Linksys Wireless Routers and Switches

April 5, 2011 at 10:23 am PST
New Look of the Linksys E-Series

Linksys Wireless Routers get a new Look

Cisco today continued its legacy of leadership in home networking with the launch of its new Linksys® E-Series family − a complete suite of powerful and easy-to-use next-generation Wireless-N routers and switches.  With sales of wireless-enabled products, such as tablets and game consoles, steadily growing and Internet video usage exploding, consumers are seeking greater performance, reliability and simplicity from their home wireless solution.  The new Linksys wireless-N routers and switches, available today, offer a complete range of options that set a new standard for speed, range, and ease-of-use, while also sporting a visually-appealing new design.

The new Linksys E-Series lineup includes five routers, providing not only the performance needed for today’s connected home, but also help to future-proof for new and emerging technologies that are gaining traction with consumers, such as Internet-enabled TVs and Cisco’s ūmi telepresence for premium video experiences. Designed with faster speeds (up to 450 Mbps*), other key features for select routers in the line include a 3x3 spatial stream configuration for improved coverage, external power amplifiers to maintain signal strength over a greater distance and reduce dead spots, and virtual USB technology to enable wireless printing from any computer.  The full line also boasts a new industrial design that combines sleek contours and advanced functionality − recently earning the prestigious 2011 Red Dot Product Design Award for product design, innovation and quality.

These include the Linksys E1200, Linksys E1500, Linksys E2500, Linksys E3200 and the Linksys E4200 (which was launched earlier this year).

New Switches Enable Easy Network Expansion and Power Saving Modes

The three new Linksys switches enable faster and simpler wired connections. New features include plug and play of Ethernet-enabled devices, Quality of Service (QoS) auto-sensing ports, and power saving features. The power saving modes on select models include auto power-down disabling unused ports, sleep mode when all ports are inactive and smart power for short cable runs.

These include the Linksys SE1500 5-Port 10/100 Switch, Linksys SE2500 5-Port Gigabit Switch, and Linksys SE2800 8-Port Gigabit switch.

Linksys 5-Port 10/100 Switch SE1500

Pricing and Availability

There are eight new products in the Linksys family — five routers and three switches. The suggested retail prices for the routers range from $59.99 to $179.99.  Prices of the switches range from $29.99 to $74.99. The full line of Linksys routers and switches are available starting today at retailers nationwide or by visiting the Linksys website at www.linksys.com/store.

Check out the press release at http://home.cisco.com/en-us/press/releases/New_Linksys_Wireless_Routers_and_Switches

Let me know what you think of the new line-up and new design!

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco honored with two product design awards

Cisco has received two red dot design awards for the Flip MinoHD video camera and the Linksys E4200 wireless router for outstanding product design. The red dot awards are organized annually by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Germany. This year, designers and companies from 60 countries submitted 4,433 products in the red dot award product design category.

Read More »

Tags: , ,