LAS VEGAS--D-Link's latest top-tier router almost includes a kitchen sink.
The company showed off today at CES 2012 the Amplifi HD Media Router 3000 (model DIR-857). This is the first home router on the market you'll soon be able to purchase that comes equipped with USB 3.0. On top of that, the router's included USB port now supports D-Link's SharePort cloud technology. The router is part of D-Link's cloud services strategy, which also includes the hybrid router model DHP-1565, a sub-$50 Cloud Router (DIR-605L), and a new Cloud Camera.
SharePort has always been a unique feature of D-Link USB-equipped routers that enables the router to support any USB device as though it were connected to a network computer directly. Over time this technology has evolved from allowing only one computer to access the connected USB device at a time, to multiple access, and now, the ability to share data via the Internet.
D-Link says that the true dual-band HD Media Router 3000 combines the three-stream standard (which caps at 450Mbps) on each of its two bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) with D-Link's HD Fuel technology to prioritize bandwidth and deliver high data rates over long distances, enough for multiple uninterrupted 1080p HD video streaming as well as online gaming and other Internet applications.
Today the company demoed how HD Fuel technology works and showed that the router was able to "sense" when a user switched from streaming regular video to streaming HD video from a service such as YouTube. The router could automatically prioritize the traffic for the particular stream, making the video play back smoothly even when there was heavy downloading going on within the same Internet connection. This feature can be turned on or off via the router's Web interface and is especially valuable to those who do a lot of streaming, such as Netflix subscribers.
Apart from the USB 3.0 port that supports any USB device, such as an external hard drive or printer, the router also has an SD card slot for those who want to quickly share data across a network or even the Internet. The router also comes with a few mobile apps for iOS- and Android-based devices that enable users to share media on the go.
In addition to that, it's also a true Gigabit router with four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port that supports 2Gbps bidirectional routing. The best news about the DIR-857 is that you won't have to wait very long for it. D-Link says the router is slated to be available for purchase later this month with an estimated price of around $170. You can get it then or check back at CNET for an in-depth review.