Linksys jumps into the cable modem market and announces the all-new mid-range EA9300 Wi-Fi router

From PC World: Cable companies can deliver very fast broadband service because the coaxial cable they use offers so much more bandwidth than the twisted-pair cable that DSL service relies on. And the cable companies will happily rent you the equipment you need, on top of the fee they charge you for internet service. But they can’t force you to use their equipment, so router manufacturers are building cable modems you can purchase. Linksys jumped into that market today with its CG7500, a two-in-one DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem/router.

DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is the standard that enables existing cable-TV systems to carry data in addition to TV programming. Being a DOCSIS 3.0 device, Linksys says its CG7500 is compatible with broadband packages offering download speeds up to 300Mbps. If your cable company is delivering faster speeds, you’ll want to look at a modem based on the newer DOCSIS 3.1 standard. The Xfinity xFi cable modem that Comcast announced earlier this week, for example, is a DOCSIS 3.1 device that can accommodate broadband service with download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

The Linksys CG7500 also incorporates a dual-band AC1900 Wi-Fi router in the same enclosure to deliver throughput up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. The gateway has a four-port gigabit switch and a USB 2.0 port. Linksys says its cable modem is priced at $199.97 and is available now. Based on a rental fee of $10 per month, it should pay for itself in about 20 months.

Linksys is also filling in the middle of its Max-Stream series of tri-band routers: The $300 EA9300 is an AC4000 model that is now bookended by the entry-level EA8300 (an AC2200 model that sells for $200) and the high-end EA9500 (an AC5400 model that sells for $400). All three models operate one wireless network on the 2.4GHz frequency band and two independent networks on the 5GHz band, with an auto-steering feature that automatically assigns 5GHz clients to the most appropriate network to balance the router’s load. They also support multi-user MIMO.

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