A year after purchasing the Linksys home networking division from Cisco, Belkin today brought back the design of what it called “the best-selling router of all time” but with the latest wireless technology.
First released in December 2002, the blue and black WRT54G is an instantly recognizable consumer product despite not being a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Belkin’s Linksys division unveiled a new router with the same design today at the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s planned to be available in the spring for $299.99.
Updated to support the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, the “Linksys WRT1900AC Dual Band Wi-Fi Router is inspired by the original WRT54G iconic blue/black stackable form factor but with a modernized spin as well as more powerful hardware such as a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, four removable antennas (instead of the standard three), and eSata and USB 2.0/3.0 connectivity ports,” Linksys said. Four gigabit LAN ports are included. Maximum throughput will be “up to 1.3Gbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600Mpbs on the 2.4GHz band.”
Linksys is also providing early hardware along with SDKs and APIs to the developers of the third-party OpenWRT firmware, with plans to have custom open source firmware available for download when the router becomes commercially available. The Linux-based firmware supports dozens of routers, including the WRT54G and its successors.
The WRT1900AC is also the first Linksys router to include a Network Map feature designed to provide a simpler way of managing settings of each device connected to the network.