July 21, 2009

Netgear Introducing Router That Displays Data Usage

Netgear Inc. is planning to introduce a $190 router in August that will allow consumers to know how much data is being consumed per month when using the Internet.

The router company said that it would include the feature on future models and eventually make it a standard, while providing software upgrades for older devices.

Most Internet service providers (ISPs) have set limits on how much data can be consumed a month by subscribers.  Comcast Corp has a 250-gigabyte per month limit.  However, some ISPs, such as Time Warner Cable Inc., have tried to set low limits and then charge customers for when they go over the data cap.

Consumers complain about this because most do not know how much they are consuming each month.  Time Warner said in April that it was postponing plans to expand a trial of metered billing beyond Beaumont, Texas, where it continues.

Time Warner Cable has tried educating consumers by giving them a Web page where they could track their consumption.  Netgear's routers will give owners a way to monitor their usage independently.  Users will be able to read the data in the Web browsers and get customized alerts at certain levels.

There already is software that allows data-monitoring for PCs, but not game consoles, TV set-top boxes, iPhones and other devices that are connected to the Internet.  Measuring at the router will catch all the traffic flowing through the house.

Spokeswoman Karen Sohl for Cisco Systems Inc.'s Linksys Division, who is another major router provider in the industry, said that the company is also looking at consumption monitoring.


On the Net: