Linksys announced today the immediate availability of its draft N family of networking products, joining Netgear, D-Link, and Buffalo, who made similar announcements more than a week ago. The Wireless-N Broadband Router (WRT300N) and Wireless-N Notebook Adapter (WPC300N) are the first offerings from Linksys; we can likely expect a desktop adapter and a USB 2.0 adapter to follow in the future.
Like the routers and adapters from Netgear, D-Link, and Buffalo, the WRT300N and WPC300N provide mixed-mode operation and backward compatibility with 802.11g and 802.11b networking equipment, a requirement in the draft N specification. This means that unlike previous iterations of MIMO equipment, the draft N equipment must maintain optimized throughput speeds when used with 802.11b/g gear. The WRT300N employs a three-antenna setup like the routers from other vendors, but in a departure from the rest, the middle antenna is a paddle, giving it a retro-futuristic '50s aesthetic. Does the paddle antenna improve performance in any way? Check back in the next day or two for a full review.
The Linksys WRT300N and WPC300N are available now through BestBuy.com for $149.99 and $119.99 respectively. According to Best Buy's site, the products are not yet available for in-store pickup.