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Linux-based Wi-Fi router warms up to Macs

Dec 12, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Netgear announced the first of its Linux-based Wi-Fi routers to offer Mac-specific features such as native support for Apple's Time Machine backup and Bonjour automated networking technology. The $120 Wireless Extreme for Mac and PC features four gigabit Ethernet ports, a gigabit WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, DLNA streaming, and a broadband usage meter.

The Wireless Extreme is a mid-range 802.11n router, but offers the same Linux-based firmware as higher-end Netgear consumer Wi-Fi routers. For example: September's Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (pictured), which provided a 3×3 antenna array and high-power amplifiers for greater bandwidth and range, and August's N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Premium Edition, which provided a "Clear Channel Selector" feature to detect when a Wi-Fi channel has become overcrowded and then switch to a less-crowded channel. 

The more affordable Wireless Extreme (below) does not appear to match these features, but is said to provide vastly improved support for Macintosh users. The system is equally at home when hooked up to Windows- and Linux-based PCs, but now extends Mac support on several fronts.

Netgear Wireless Extreme for Mac and PC

(Click to enlarge)

On the Mac, Netgear's ReadyShare technology lets the router act as an Apple Time Machine backup device using an attached USB external hard drive, says the company. The new router is also said to support Apple's Bonjour automated networking technology, enabling Macs, PCs, and other Bonjour-compatible devices to discover each other on a home network and share USB printers.

Like the higher end models listed above, the Wireless Extreme is a dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n router that simultaneously operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The 8.8 x 6.0 x 1.2-inch device runs on an undisclosed 680MHz processor, according to Netgear. The device provides four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one gigabit Ethernet WAN port, as well as a USB 2.0 port, says the company.

Wireless Extreme port detail

(Click to enlarge)

Like the recent N900 and N600 models listed above, the Wireless Extreme provides parental controls, DLNA compatible media streaming, and a broadband usage meter. It also includes Netgear's Genie — a dashboard-style application featuring router and network management, says Netgear.

The Wireless Extreme can be installed and set up without a CD via Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, or any PC or Mac computer, says the company Additional features are said to include a ReadyShare Printer app, guest network access, and security features such as double firewall (SPI and NAT) protection and Denial of Service (DoS) attack prevention. (For a more detailed description of the latest Netgear features, see our coverage of the September's Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router .)

Stated Som Pal Choudhury, Netgear director of product marketing, "For the first time, Mac users can purchase a high performance router with Netgear's advanced technology features, while PC users can deploy a home network that makes it easy to integrate Macs and enjoy all of their unique network capabilities."  


The Wireless Extreme for Mac and PC (WNDRMAC) is available now in the United States starting at $130, and will soon be available worldwide from major retailers in stores and online. More information may be found on the Netgear Wireless Extreme product page.

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