Cisco debuts 802.11ac routers

Next-gen routers feature cloud-based interface

HipPlay is a media aggregator that enables you to access your photos, music and photos on your home devices while you're out and about. Twonky, meanwhile, enables you to use your phone or tablet to push media to your Smart TV or set-top box. The vision of sitting on your sofa exploring your media collection and pushing whatever you want on to the big screen is certainly an appealing concept.

Device Monitoring lets you check the usage of specific items on your network in real-time. The last app though is probably the coolest at showing off the potential of what a connected router is capable of, Gemini IP Camera Viewer. If you've ever been through the rigmarole of setting up an IP Camera, then you probably wouldn't be eager to do it again.

This app makes the process of adding one or more cameras painless, and although at the moment only D-Link and Cisco's own cameras are supported - more will come though, we're promised.

If none of these apps particularly appeal, then don't dismiss this app approach and cloud-based administration out of hand. The ease of which you can control devices in your home, prioritize network traffic and generally mess about with all those settings you only usually access once and then forget, is something worth trying to get your head around. The interface is clear, and once you've got it up and running, is clear about what you're doing to.

There's little doubt that Cisco could have handled the updates better - at least giving users the choice of updating or not, but to be fair, from what we've seen the new apps and cloud-based access could have some great uses - from helping family and friends troubleshoot problems, to quickly giving priority to the network traffic that matters most. If nothing else, we're just intrigued to see what sort of apps will appear that could really change the way we use our home networks.