Edimax is taking a punt on the wireless n specification and has launched a home gigabit router that supports existing 802.11b and g standards as well as the yet-to-be-ratified 802.11n version.

Draft n routers have been doing the rounds for 18 months or more but, despite three readings of the wireless n specification and broad industry support for the existing version, it has yet to be formally ratified. The last reading of the proposed standard ensured all draft n routers launched this year would be compatible with 802.11n networks, once they come onstream. Final approval now looks set for early 2009.

In the meantime, however, there has been a surge of interest in both downloading and streaming video and audio content by consumers keen to take advantage of online broadcasts, podcasts, videocasts and, more recently, catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer.

With all the terrestrial TV broadcasters now offering TV on demand via their own free players, there's a surge in demand for both broadband bandwidth and wireless devices able to take advantage of the streaming possibilities 802.11n offers.

Edimax's BR-657n gigabit wireless router thus looks like a timely launch. It offers wireless transmissions at up to 300Mbps – as much as 6 times that of existing 802.11g Wi-Fi routers – and has three Mimo (multiple input multiple output) antennas to ensure the strongest possible signal pickup.

Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Linux and Mac OS, the Edimax BR-657n router uses WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). This means the device can be set up with a single click with no complex WEP keys required.

The Edimax BR0657n works with Ethernet but is not compatible with USB modems.

Edimax BR-657 gigabit wireless-n router

Edimax BR-657 gigabit wireless-n router