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Networking Articles

Diamond Dual Band Wireless 802.11n Range Extender Review
If you need to fix a dead spot in your WiFi setup at home, Diamond's Wireless Range Extender just might do the trick at a low enough price.

Hercules ePlug 85 Duo Review
Wireless networking can often be complicated to pair up or configure for a stable signal. Hercules introduces the ePlug system to use existing electrical outlets to transfer data at high speed.

ASUS RT-N13U Router Review
Online gaming requires the best connectivity possible. Will the new N13U from ASUS be the next step in networking or a simple router amongst others?

QNAP TS-109 Turbo Station NAS Review
Starting a home business? Want to share files between friends and family? This Linux based QNAP TS-109 Turbo Station NAS might be just the thing you need.

Hotway HD9-U2LA Review
We take a look at Hotway's Network Attached Storage device, the HD9-U2LA. Is it a viable solution for your high-performance network storage needs? Is it reliable? Come and find out!

Networking News

Google buys Slide for reported $187 million

15 comments Chris Ledenican - 12:16pm (PST) Like Share

A more social Google

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Google has been successful in nearly all markets they have entered into, but when it comes to social networking they have never really hit their stride. However, they do have plans to enter into the networking phenomenon and even have an upcoming social network in the works called “Google Me."

With the news coming out of Silicon Valley, Google’s entrance into social networking might come soon rather than later now, as they have just purchased Slide, for a reported $182 million.

Slide is best known for creating third party applications for Facebook, and have released successful add-ons such as FunWall and Top Friends. So, they are no new comer to social networking and could give the Google team a leg up.

Google engineering director David Glazer writes of the acquisition:

For Google, the web is about people, and we’re working to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them.

Slide has already created compelling social experiences for tens of millions of people across many platforms, and we’ve already built strong social elements into products like Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube. As the Slide team joins Google, we’ll be investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the web.

We will have to wait and see if this acquisition will aid Google's entrance into the social networking arena, because even they will need all the help they can possibly muster to take on the likes of Facebook.


First consumer 450Mbps wireless router becomes available

3 comments Kevin Spiess - 3:49am (PST) Like Share

Wires? Where we're going, we don't need wires

If you are looking for the fastest wireless router around, as for now, there is just one place to look: the TEW-691GR. Made by a company called TRENDnet, the three-antenna router just shipped to stores this week.

Each of the three antennas send out three data streams on the 2.4 GHz spectrum, and using something called Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), this $200 router is able to hit (at least theoretically) unrivalled throughput and signal strength.

The router also has four Gigabit Local Area Network ports, and one Gigabit Wide Area Network port.

Further features include a encryption, a firewall, and an easy-to-setup feature called "Wi-Fi Protected Setup" which the company claims gets other WPS compatible wireless adapters working together with just one button push.

One important catch though: currently the only network controllers capable of utilizing the extra-super-duper high speeds of this router are integrated Intel 5300 wireless chips, which are for now, only found in some laptops.

Categories: Networking

Bigfoot Networks release Killer 2100 gaming network card

6 comments Kevin Spiess - 12:10pm (PST) Like Share

Company says it is the "fastest network card available for online gamers"

Bigfoot Networks has finished up a new version of a product that they declare as the "fastest Gigabit NIC on the planet for gamers."

The Killer 2100 (personally love the name myself) is -- according to the company -- a big step up from your standard NIC not built for gamers. The Killer 2100 has a network processor that watches traffic and works on reducing lag.

It seems gaming network cards are a bit like sound cards are now a days: most gamers never feel the need to upgrade from the sound or network capabilities offered by their motherboards. Having just scanned some reviews online of the last Killer NIC, most reviewers found improvements in gaming lag, but perhaps not enough to justify the cost. However  Bigfoot Networks claims to have redesigned the Killer from the ground up, so maybe they've hit upon some new performance gains.

The Killer 2100 comes with software that lets you monitor and optimize network performance. For example, you might limit bandwidth to certain applications, or log your system's performance across network activity graphs.

The card itself uses a PCIe x1 slot, has 128MB of on card DDR2, and support Windows networks stack bypass.

Optimum performance never comes cheap though: this Killer will be about $130 USD. But this price-tag might not even be that bad if you consider the original Killer sold for over $250 when it came out. It will be available in the next few weeks. Perhaps we'll bring this product in to see how it compares to your everyday standard, motherboard integrated NIC.

Update: The folks over at Boot Daily had a chance to talk with Bigfoot's CEO and see the Killer 2100 for the first time: 

Categories: Networking

Apple acquires mapping service Placebase

0 comments James P - 12:39pm (PST) Like Share

Apple to roll out mapping service?

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Placebase — a company that offers global mapping services similar to Google Maps — is now owned by corporate giant Apple.

But why is this big news? Gizmodo believes Apple intends to 1-up Google. The gadgeteers are confident Apple will be releasing their own satellite mapping service, as the company deftly makes use of the technology they buy (Coverflow, for example). It's also believed Apple is looking to further pull away from Google services as a whole — which actually makes sense, seeing as how Apple is becoming more of an independent company -- designing custom chips for the iPhone, instead of using the same generic chips available to everyone, for example. Not to mention, Apple has been keeping this purchase on the "hush hush" — the deal evidently went down last July.

So what is Apple's aim? Some bloggers speculate that Apple is simply trying to further itself from Google. Others believe the intent is less extreme, and falls along the lines of more revenue:

Whenever you run a Safari search, as opposed to a Google search, Apple profits. When you use Google, Google profits greatly — while Apple receives the minimum of what Google owes them for using its service (significantly less when you think about the number of Google searches made daily). Why is this? In a nut shell: advertising revenue — It's how search engines make money.

Whatever their intent, with Apple involved you can be sure this isn't the last you'll be hearing about the inevitable "Safari Maps".


iPhone Tweetie 2 preview

0 comments James P - 4:40pm (PST) Like Share

The successor to the popular Twitter app makes its debut

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iPhone tweeters rejoice! The successor to one of the most recognized Twitter apps is on its way to the App Store as you read this! If you're a tweeter (n. Somebody who uses Twitter) and you've been tweeting from your iPhone, chances are you've been using — or maybe you have used — Loren Brichter's Tweetie. There's something to be said about Tweetie; it's sleek, simple, easy to use, and it's a great way to harass your friends and family with a mass of Twitter updates on the go.

Tweetie 2 builds on the foundation that Tweetie laid, re-inventing the sleek, albeit simple, user interface mobile tweeters are accustomed to. At a glance, Tweetie 2 looks pretty similar to the original. All of you tweeters will be glad to hear the the application won't be inducing any headaches, as all of the functions are right where you're used to seeing them. Of course, Tweetie 2 aims higher than to simply provide iPhone tweeters with an updated interface. The real beauty of Tweetie 2 lies deep within its build.

By far the coolest new feature that Tweetie 2 offers is the ability to completely customize/update your tweet at whim. Tweetie 2 acts as an independent application, meaning that it allows the user to create, edit, and delete their tweets all within the client itself. Want to add a URL or photo to your latest tweet? It's as simple as tapping "add photo". You won't have to hassle with opening up Safari and copying image codes or long URLs, now that you can simply copy and paste directly into the comment area. Tweetie 2 gives the user full control over their tweets, allowing you to quote, translate, and even email your tweets to friends and followers — oh yeah, and you can edit your Twitter account profile too!

Another nifty thing that Tweetie 2 offers is full persistence. Let's say you get a phone call while you're tweeting it up. You can close out of the app and answer your call, and when you open the application back up continue tweeting right from where you left off. To tweet now, or tweet later? It's ultimately your call.

Tweetie 2 is chock-full of new features, most of which you probably won't realize are there until you've been using the app for more than a week.

Keep in mind that Tweetie 2 is a standalone purchase, and will set you iPhone tweeters back a whopping $2.99 — a small price to pay for the updated mobile-tweeting experience.

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Small botnet being controlled via Twitter

0 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:36am (PST) Like Share

Twitter a good way to send out commands

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A network security guy looking in to some recent cyber-crime found out something interesting: it turns out a botnet was being controlled through Twitter. Finally, it turns out, someone is getting some work done on the popular social networking service.

Twitter was being used as a message relay station to the botnets. So the few hundred infected computers were set up to surreptitiously read the Twitter tweets. The tweets were garbled code, that only the malware would understand.

The botnet was a fairly nefarious one: it would search host's computers for banking password. Remember folks: do at least monthly malware scans with effective programs (personally, I recommend Malwarebytes Antimalware scan or Dr.Web) to make sure you are hosting tons of trojans and other nasty stuff.

The security researcher got a hold of the Twitter overlords and had the account shut down. But Twitter is such a large service that it seems that it would be difficult to find the few Botnet Twitterers out of the all the regular, useful and socially redeeming Twitterer accounts. 

Categories: Networking

ASUS announces RT-N16 wireless-N router

1 comments Dale Shuck - 7:16pm (PST) Like Share

802.11n draft with enhanced bandwidth management capabilities

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Today ASUS announced the release of the RT-N16 wireless-N Gigabit router that emphasizes what ASUS calls the three "S's" - speed, simplicity and security. In addition to the wireless-N capabilities, the RT-N16 offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB ports for connecting printers and external storage devices.

The RT-N16 conforms to the latest 802.11n draft specs with a theoretical maximum throughput of 300Mbps and also is backward compatible with 802.11 b/g devices. The unit's powerful CPU and 128MB of memory help ensure it can handle multiple simultaneous networking tasks with no lag.

Management of the router is accomplished through the EZ UI graphical user interface that incorporates a host of different connectivity features under a single interface. Bandwidth management is handled using the EZQoS function where you can easily allocate bandwidth according to individual user needs. To support network usage of a shared printer, the EZ All-In-One Printer function allows multiple users to simultaneously access a printer and use its print and scan functions. The AiDisk feature allows users to easily set up file-sharing via the web in minutes.

The unit also offers security features through the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) interface that allows users to set up secure Wi-Fi Networks within minutes and lock down the network to prevent potential intrusion by unauthorized outsiders. In addition to NAT and stateful packet inspection features, users can choose from different encryption protocols including WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise and RADIUS.

ASUS did not disclose availablity or pricing information.

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Categories: Networking

Patriot announces network storage product

0 comments Dale Shuck - 7:37pm (PST) Like Share

Corza home servers offers up to 4TB storage

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If you don't know what NAS means, odds are it won't be all that long before you do as network attached storage appliances become more common. Patriot Memory sees network storage as the next mainstream consumer product and is releasing its own home server named Corza. Designed to meet the storage needs of the home network, the Corza is a dual-bay unit that can accommodate up to 2x2TB hard drives. That translates into a maximum of 4TB of storage when configured in either a RAID 0 or JBOD volume. The Corza also offers RAID 1 for those looking for the protection of mirrored drives.

As multimedia becomes a greater focus of home networks, Patriot's new server can stream files over its gigabit Ethernet connection supports as many as three HD movies simultaneously. The Corza offers features such as a built-in FTP server making the files on the server accessible from anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Memory manufacturers have been branching out into other product lines such as cooling products and power supplies, but this is the first I've seen a memory company moving into the network storage market with a server based on hard drives. Let's hope Patriot can bring something extra to the table with the Corza. It'll be interesting to see additional specs on the Corza including processor and memory size. Those are two of the critical features that can set a unit above the rest of what is a fairly crowded field at this end of the market.

Categories: Storage Networking

UK Government backs 2Mb/s broadband plan

1 comments Bryan McDaniel - 12:58pm (PST) Like Share

Digital Britain

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Earlier this year Lord Cater proposed a Universal Service for broadband in the United Kingdom. Those plans have now been backed by the UK government, which means everyone should have access to 2Mb/s broadband by the year 2012. Speaking at the House of Commons, the chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said, "I am allocating extra funding for digital investment, to help to extend the broadband network to almost every community."

The backing of 2Mb/s plan was contained in the Budget Report released yesterday, and according to the Treasury the cost would be met in part by underspend from the BBC's promotion of Digital TV switchover.

While Lord Carter's plan may now be backed by the UK government, it still is not clear how exactly the Universal Service will be delivered; either through fixed line, satellite or wireless broadband access. This additional level of detail will be available this summer when the government releases the final version of the Digital Britain report.


Seagate expands BlackArmor line to include NAS

0 comments Dale Shuck - 6:04pm (PST) Like Share

New NAS servers offer up to 8TB of storage

Seagate is making a move into the small business market with a series of new network attached storage servers designed to support up to 50 users. Part of the BlackArmor product line, the NAS appliances will be offered as a complete package including hard drives and backup software.

Seagate introduced the BlackArmor line last year when it began offering a portable hard drive with built-in encryption. The NAS servers will come in three models with in both two- and four-bay arrangements. The NAS 220 is a two-bay, two-drive model while the NAS 420 and NAS 440 are four-bay models with either two or four drives included. The units offer RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, JBOD drive configurations and come with a 10-user license for Acronis backup software. Not surprisingly, the BlackArmor NAS units only support Seagate drives. Retail pricing is expected to range from $799 US for the 2TB NAS 420 to $1,999 for the 8TB NAS 440 model.

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Categories: Storage Networking
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