The networking community is abuzz! It's a frenzy of press releases and briefings. Everyone's announcing draft 802.11n products left and right, and we can barely keep up. So, in short order:
D-Link is calling its draft N family the RangeBooster N 650 because D-Link claims real-world performance of up to 650 percent faster than an 802.11g wireless connection. Products include the DIR-635 Router, the DWA-547 Desktop Adapter, and the DWA-645 Notebook Adapter. Prices on D-Link's site are as follows: $159.99 for the router; $99.99 for the notebook adapter; and $119.99 for the desktop adapter, making D-Link's the least expensive draft N offerings so far. Security features include dual firewalls (SPI and NAT), WPA and WEP, and VPN pass-through, as well as a 10/100 switch and backward compatibility with 11b/g products.
Netgear actually has a couple of product lines already. Last week, it announced the RangeMax Next Wireless Router (WNR854T) and Notebook Adapter (WN511T) Gigabit Edition. The gigabit Ethernet-enabled draft N-compliant chipset is provided by Marvell. We assume they'll eventually be sold separately, but for now, the router and card are available as a kit from e-tailers for an estimated price of $349. Today, Netgear announced the "regular" version of the RangeMax Next line, which includes a wireless router (WNR834B) and a notebook adapter (WN511B). The router is priced at $179 and the notebook adapter at $129. This line is based on Broadcom's Intensi-fi chipset, the same one used by Buffalo Technologies (also announced today). Security features include WEP, WPA-PSK, and WPA2-PSK and NAT and SPI firewalls. Netgear's press release also mentions other members of the RangeMax Next family, though none of these are on Netgear's Web site yet: an ADLS 2+ Modem Router with 10/100 Switch (DG834N), a wireless PCI adapter for desktop computers (WN311), and a wireless access point (WN802T).
We already talked about Buffalo here and are still waiting on Linksys's and Belkin's offerings. We are on tenterhooks here, waiting to get our paws on these products to let you know what you should spend your money on. None of these companies are guaranteeing that their products will be compliant with the final 802.11n specification, but they're being cautiously optimistic.
The really good news we're hearing is that the vendors are all leaning on the chip makers to make their chips interoperable, which means Netgear's router should play nice with Buffalo's adapters. We're keeping our fingers crossed. Check back soon for full reviews.