Cisco's Dual-Band Wireless Bridge Boosts Home Theater Connectivity

Quick ... how many Internet-access devices do you have in your family room? There's the HDTV, the Wii or Xbox or Playstation, the Slingbox or Roku or Boxee, the Blu-ray player and DVR ... probably a few others when you really think about it. Yours is the family room that Cisco was envisioning when it built its dual-band Linksys Wireless-N Dual-Band Entertainment Bridge, the WES610N. The new bridge connects your entertainment equipment to your Wi-Fi network and promises that video (even 3D video) will stream flawlessly to all of them.

The three-antenna bridge supports Wireless-N on both 2.4 or 5 GHz to minimize interference issues. It includes a 4-port 10/100 Fast Ethernet switch, so devices that really need a wired connection can get one. It provides 300 Mbps of bandwidth. The included QoS software helps prioritize video and gaming traffic so both are smooth and glitch free, Cisco says.

The WES610N costs $129.99. A one Ethernet port version, the WET610N costs $99.99. You can, if you so wish, match the new bridge with a Linksys brand dual-band router like the Linksys E2500, E3200 or E4200. But Cisco says that it will work with any other a/b/g/n wireless router on the market too.

The new dual-band pair are the high-end home connectivity devices. They top the slew of new home connectivity devices Cisco launched in April. These included the $30 SE1500 with five 10/100 ports, the $55 SE2500 with five Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the $75 SE2800 with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports.