Netgear enters draft 11n race partnered with Marvell

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Netgear enters draft 11n race partnered with Marvell

Santa Clara (CA) – Netgear today announced that it has begun shipping draft 802.11n compliant networking products that use 802.11n draft-compliant chipsets from Marvell.

The announcement comes on the heels of D-Link’s introduction of its draft 11n product line, which is slated to begin shipments before the end of April.

The RangeMax NEXT products are the first to tout a maximum “300 Mbps” speed, which is attributed to a slew of newly-minted technologies. But the high speed comes at a premium price, with the top of the line router commanding a $250 suggested list price.

The new line also has some interesting twists in that it includes “Gigabit Edition” products as well as products with only the “RangeMax Next” moniker. Also included are routers with only 10/100 switches in addition to the first MIMO router with a built-in 10/100/1000 switch.

The “Gigabit Edition” products include the RangeMax NEXT Wireless Router Gigabit Edition with 10/100/1000 Switch (WNR854T) and RangeMax NEXT Wireless Notebook Adapter Gigabit Edition (WN511T). These will be first available only in the WNB511T “Gigabit Edition” kit, which is currently listed only on TigerDirect for $350 with a 7-21 day availability. The router and notebook card will at some point also be available individually at list prices of $250 and $130 respectively.

The 10/100 version routers include the RangeMax NEXT Wireless Router with 10/100 Switch (WNR834) and Wireless DSL 2+ Modem Router with 10/100 Switch (DG834N) with suggested lists of $180 and $250 respectively. No information was available on the Netgear website on either of these products, however, and they do not appear to be shipping at this time.

Another puzzle are the RangeMax NEXT Wireless Notebook Adapter (WN511), PCI Adapter (WN311) and Wireless Access Point (WN802T). A Netgear spokesperson said that he wasn’t sure what the difference was between these and the “Gigabit Edition” products. None of these products are currently available either, but list prices have been set at $130 for each adapter and $250 for the access point.

Netgear’s announcement referred to two new technologies responsible for the “300Mbps” throughput. “TopDog” is Marvell’s branding for its draft 11n chipsets, which are used in at least some of Netgear’s new line. A related Marvell announcement said the TopDog product line includes 3×3, 2×3, 2×2 and 1×2 antenna configurations, wireless data rates between 300 to 600 Mb/s and Ethernet connectivity from 100Mbps to 1 Gbps. The second new technology is “Steady-Stream”, which appears to be focused on Quality of Service (QoS).

The company also said the new routers undergo a “high performance testing and tuning process” dubbed “11n-True Test” that is said “to ensure maximum draft-11n performance at all times and at extended ranges”. However, Netgear did not provide a white paper or details on what this test process entails.