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No crowds... No breakthroughs


That about sums up what I  found at this year's Las Vegas show, which was somewhat subdued over last year's.  Most vendors I spoke to said that booth traffic was spotty, but that they were seeing the people who they wanted to see.  They also had more time to spend with them, since from what I could see, there were lots fewer people.

The pre-show and show highlights have covered a lot of what I saw, so I'll just touch on things I haven't previously reported, or which need a little more fleshing out.

 

Routers

The big news here was that Linksys is adding anti-virus and personal firewall features to their entire router product line.  The capability will be charged for, but I was told that the pricing would be discounted over what you'd normally pay for PC-cillin and ZoneAlarm Pro.  Roll-out over the entire line will happen between now and the end of the year, so if you're interested in the capability and don't own either the 1 or 4 port routers, you'll have to wait.  Let's also hope that they don't break the existing feature set as they add this capability, especially since it looks like the latest BETA firmware may finally have killed off a lot of the problems that users have endured.  (I asked them to consider getting an official firmware release out soon.)

As I was digging through the press kits, I came across a data sheet for a BEFN2PE EtherFast Cable/DSL Voice Enabler. For about $100 (web pricing), this box will let you add essentially the same Net2Phone capability to any router that their BEFN2PS4 Net2Phone router has built into it.  Press release says "immediately available", but it's not in Pricegrabber yet.

Update 5/21/01 In response to the queries I received about the previously mentioned BEFVP41 VPN router, I checked with Linksys.  The reply was a not-too-firm July time frame, but your guess is as good as mine as to when it will really come out.

Last week I mentioned the face-lifted 4 port Barricade that SMC is readying for shipment, but didn't tell you about the delay of the Barricade Pro.  This router, which was supposed to be out by now and add stateful inspection firewall capability to the Barricade line, hit a last-minute snag and didn't make it to the show. There's no firm release date yet, but SMC says that this product is still in the future product line-up.

In the Asante booth, they were showing their 3002AL wireless FriendlyNet router and previewing their version of the Sercomm SOHO server that SMC is presently shipping (reviewed here) and that Linksys is introducing as the BEFS207. Since this box is getting so popular, I stopped by the Sercomm booth and had a nice talk with the folks there.  They assured me that new firmware is in the pipeline that will address some of the shortcomings that I found in my review of the SMC version.  Sercomm said they'll be doing more development and adding more features to this product platform, and I asked them to consider adding network backup capability to it.

Update! A helpful reader reminded me that I was supposed to see if any cure was coming for people with DSL or satellite modems with USB LAN connections.  Unfortunately, the answer is still no.  One vendor said that the main problem is that the routers would need to be able to support connection to the many different flavors of USB based DSL modems and satellite receivers.  That isn't easy, given the limited memory space in the routers.  So don't hold your breath waiting for these to show up!

Didn't find much else happening in the consumer router side of things for non-wireless routers.  See the wireless coverage for what's coming in wireless routers.

 



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