Linksys : History and definition of the Linksys

Linksys by Cisco, commonly known as Linksys, is a brand of home and small office networking products now produced by Cisco Systems, though once a separate company founded in 1995 before being acquired by Cisco in 2003. Products currently and previously sold under the Linksys brand name include broadband and wireless routers, consumer and small business grade Ethernet switching, VoIP equipment, wireless internet video camera, AV products, network storage systems, and other products. Linksys products were widely available in North America off-the-shelf from both consumer electronics stores (CompUSA and Best Buy), internet retailers, and big-box retail stores (WalMart). Linksys' significant competition as an independent firm were D-Link and NetGear, the latter for a time being a brand of Cisco competitor Nortel.

In 2007, Cisco CEO John Chambers described the longterm plan to kill the independent Linksys brand: "It will all come over time into a Cisco brand. The reason we kept Linksys' brand because it was better known in the US than even Cisco was for the consumer. As you go globally there's very little advantage in that." From 2008, all Linksys products sold were packaged and branded as "Linksys by Cisco"; some former Linksys products were merged into the "Valet" brand (albeit with a large Cisco logo and smaller Linksys name still on the product). The formerly-independent Linksys website presently redirects to Cisco's. Small-business inquiries into former Linksys products are directed to Cisco's products and reseller network.

Linksys was founded in 1988 in a garage in Irvine, California. The founders, Janie and Victor Tsao (who received a master's degree in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980), were immigrants from Taiwan who held second jobs as consultants specializing in pairing American technology vendors with manufacturers in Taiwan. The company's first products were printer sharers that connected multiple PCs to printers. From this it expanded into Ethernet hubs, network cards, and cords. By 1994, it had grown to 55 employees with annual revenues of $6.5 million.

The company received a major boost in 1995, when Microsoft released Windows 95 with built-in networking functions that expanded the market for its products. Linksys established its first U.S. retail channels with Fry's Electronics (1995) and Best Buy (1996). In 1999, the company announced the first Fast Ethernet PCMCIA Card for notebook PCs. In 2000, it introduced the first 8-port router with SNMP and QoS, and in 2001 it shipped its millionth cable/DSL router. By 2003, when the company was acquired by Cisco, it had 305 employees and revenues of more than $500 million.

Cisco continued to invest to expand the company's product line. In April 2005, Cisco acquired VoIP maker Sipura Technology and made it part of the Linksys division. For a time, VoIP products based on Sipura technology were offered under the Linksys Voice System brand. (They are now sold by Cisco as part of the Linksys Business Series.) In July 2008, Cisco acquired Seattle-based Pure Networks, a vendor of home networking-management software. Pure Networks had previously provided the tools and software infrastructure used to create the Linksys Easy Link Advisor. Pure Networks was integrated into Linksys, with employees remaining in Seattle and continuing to work on making it easier for users to set up and manage home networks.

WAG200G has a 211 MHz AR7 MIPS32 CPU with 4 MB of flash memory and 16MB of DRam on the PCB. The WAG200G measures 5.5×5.5×1.25 inches (14×14×3.2 cm) (W×H×D) and weighs .77 pounds (.35 kg). The WAG200G all-in-one device functions as a high speed ADSL2+ Modem, a Wireless G Access Point, router and 4-port Ethernet switch. The built-in wireless Access Point function complies with the specifications of the 802.11g standard, which offers transfer speeds of up to 54 Mbit/s. It is also backwards compatible with 802.11b devices at speeds of 11 Mbit/s. The Access Point can support the connection of up to 32 wireless devices. It also offers 4 built-in 10/100 RJ-45 ports to connect Ethernet-enabled computers, print servers and other devices

The NSLU2 is a network attached storage device with 8 MB of flash memory, 32MB of SDRAM, a 100Mb Ethernet port, and two USB ports. The NSLU2 was discontinued in 2008, but is still in demand because of the numerous enhancements developed by open-source community projects. The NAS200 added SATA ports.

The Media Hub 300 and 400 series are network attached storage devices that allow users to share digital media across a network. Once the Media Hub is connected to the network, it searches for media content residing within the network and aggregates it into one centralized location, including all UPnP devices found. The Built-in Media Reader can directly import photos from compact Flash devices, SD cards and memory sticks without the need of a computer. Memory capacity options are 500GB or 1TB, with an extra empty bay.

The Media Hub's GUI gives a holistic view of the media located on the network regardless of where the actual file is located. Albums are consolidated, artwork, track numbers, and other metadata are downloaded, and all information can be sorted by a variety of different criteria. Included is Automated Backup Software that helps preserve the data through continuous storage backup.