It's like Legos for the working man
Way back in January of 2015 at CES we were shown a new line of accessories from Lenovo called ThinkPad Stack. The company is targeting the professional user on the go with a collection of four devices that can be used together in a stackable form that offers up some impressive capability and function in a small package, though it does come with a business-user markup.
Last week Lenovo sent us a full set of the ThinkPad Stack devices including a portable router, external USB 3.0 hard drive, Bluetooth speaker and external battery. With a price tag totaling nearly $400 for the entire set, there is a pretty high expectation for functionality, build quality and usability that Lenovo needs to hit, and they do a better job than I expected (honestly) to hit it. You don't have to buy all of the available Stack accessories, and that is part of the charm of the new product line - you can customize them to your own needs.
Though it's not for everyone, I do find myself enjoying the idea of Lenovo's ThinkPad Stack products and how it enables the mobile professional. Let's take a look at what it is, how it works and if it's something you need.
Subject: Networking | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless router, RT-AC88U, router, mu-mimo, asus, 802.11ac, 8-port switch
ASUS has announced an impressive new MU-MIMO wireless router that provides up to 3100 Mbps of Wi-Fi bandwidth, and the RT-AC88U also features an 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch.
- WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MU-MIMO
- Data rate: 3100 Mbps
- Chipset: BCM47094, BCM4366, BCM4366
- Flash: NAND 128 MB
- RAM: DDR3 256/512 MB
- WAN: GbE x 1
- LAN: GbE x 8
- Giga switch: 8365
- PA: 2G:sky2623 5G:sky85405
- LNA: 2G: BGU7224/LXS5563 5G:MAAL011078
- Antenna: Detachable dual band x 4
- USB: 3.0 x1, 2.0 x1
- Applications: ASUSWRT, AiCloud, AiProtection, high-power mode, Download Master, VPN server, guest network, DLNA server, automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE (MPPE support), PPTP, L2TP, IPv4, IPv6
Pricing and availability are not yet known.
Subject: Networking | September 2, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: RT-AC5300U, router, mu-mimo, IFA 2015, dual band, asus, 802.11ac
This is a seriously imposing-looking router, and the specs are just as huge.
Here are some highlights from ASUS:
- AC5300 speeds
- Tri-band wireless up to 1000 Mbit/s on 2.4 GHz and up to 2167 Mbit/s on each 5 GHz band
- Up to 5333 Mbit/s combined on the 5GHz band
- NitroQAM technology for low-latency gaming and 4K/UHD streaming
- Eight external antennas in a 4x4 config
- Ultra-wide area coverage
- Award-winning ASUS AiProtection Network Security Services
5333 Mbps on the 5 GHz band alone? So how does the RT-AC5300U router provide so much bandwidth? It’s powered by a staggering array of radios! Looking at the chipset specs we that it’s comprised of BCM4709 + BCM4366 (2.4 GHz) + 2x BCM4366 (5 GHz), with 256MB DDR3 memory and 128MB of flash. And we can’t forget the 8 external dual-band antennas! Yes, eight. Truly, this is a beast (though it looks like an overturned spider).
Pricing and exact availability were not revealed, but ASUS says it will be coming in Q4 2015.
Subject: Networking | April 13, 2015 - 03:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, router, 802.11ac, rt-a66r, rt-a66u
Until recently, we have been using a Linksys WRT54G. No, not the WRT54GL. We have been using the cheap, $30 v8.0 unit with 8MB of RAM. Since it has been eight years since its manufacturing date, and about the same length of time since it received a firmware upgrade, we decided to upgrade to a newer model. After searching for a while, we settled on the ASUS RT-AC66. We bought it from a retail store, because it was the same price and I could get it the same day without paying for shipping, so our model has an “R” suffix, rather than the direct-from-ASUS “U”. The units are identical besides the model name though.
We are using the stock ASUS firmware.
So what has happened in the last half-dozen years? First, this device has quite a few more features than the Linksys, although not many are applicable to me personally. The most interesting to me is that ASUS offers a dynamic DNS service for their routers. It seems pretty straight-forward honestly. I was looking for a place to register, but it seems like it was just a matter of inputting the desired URL into the router, and ASUS will give it to you if it is available. I was able to use the subdomain within a few minutes too, although I did not try doing much with it.
Its 2.4 GHz range is pretty good too, much wider than the WRT54G. The 5.0 GHz makes it from the basement to the TV on the main floor. It reports less than full signal, but I have nothing to compare that with (neither a second 5.0 GHz device nor another 5.0GHz router). The antenna are detachable and higher sensitive versions are available, which is probably good for edge cases, although the default ones seem to work fine for me.
It definitely seems like a good router. I don't feel it getting in-between me and my internet connection. This is not a review though, just my impressions after using it for a bit.
Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 6, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tp-link, router, ces 2015, CES, archer, 802.11ac
While yesterday's TP-LINK Archer C2600 and C3200 routers were designed for multiple devices, this one seems a bit more targeted at fewer, but still high-performance connections. The TP-LINK Archer C9 router can operate on one, 5 GHz block and one, 2.4 GHz chunk at the same time (versus the two 5.0 GHz and one 2.4 GHz distribution of the C3200).
A bit more specifications have been released, compared to the C2600 and C3200. A 1GHz, dual-core processor will perform the back-end computation to send the data where it needs to go. It will also have one USB 3.0 port (side) and one USB 2.0 port (rear), which are used to network-attach printers and storage.
The TP-LINK Archer C9 AC1900 dual band router is available now for $169.99 USD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 5, 2015 - 07:35 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tp-link, router, ces 2015, CES, 802.11ac
At some point, routers have stopped becoming a pure commodity device. Some manufacturers are differentiating themselves based on CPU performance or available RAM, while others compete on software features. In this case, TP-LINK is introducing two routers: one with four antennas, and the other with six. They are both designed around connection quality for multiple devices that are communicating simultaneously.
TP-LINK Archer C2600
The Archer C2600 is the four-antenna product that uses Qualcomm MU-MIMO EFX, which can connect to three devices at once. TP-LINK states that the platform can establish four connections, but they are reserving the fourth to assist the other three by somehow reducing interference. They do not provide details about their specific process (whether it's constructive interference, choose the best signal, etc.) and I do not have a deep understanding of practical implementations in this area.
TP-LINK Archer C3200
The Archer C3200 is the six-antenna SKU that can operate on three bands simultaneously. Rather than sharing a single chunk of the 5.0 GHz spectrum, or dropping some devices down to 2.4 GHz, it can manage two segments of 5.0 GHz simultaneously (and a third at 2.4 GHz). As the number of connected devices increase, the router will automatically assign them to the best block.
Both routers also include Gigabit Ethernet for wired networks, and USB 3.0 ports (they do not state how many) to attach storage to. The C3200 advertises “Substantial RAM” without providing any hard numbers.
No pricing information is currently provided, but they are expected to be available in Q3 2015.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2014 - 12:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: router, nighthawk x6, netgear, DSLR, Canon, 10 days of christmas
Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!
The staff here at PC Perspective couldn't decide on a final item for our 10 days series. We decided to do a post with two items to end with a bang (and extreme indecisiveness). Then, just before the post went live, one of the items was no longer available in the bundle that we considered a good deal. Thanks, universe, for stepping in and making us declare a single best deal... of the day. Our final recommendation is: a high-performance router!
Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router
This tri-band, 6-antenna monster that is the Netgear Nighthawk X6 looks the part, and offers up to 3.2 Gbps performance from its three Wi-Fi data streams (one 600 Mb/s 2.4 GHz network and dual 1300 Mb/s 5 GHz networks). It's powered by a dual-core 1 GHz CPU with 256 MB of RAM, has the usual 4-port Gigabit switch, and offers both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports on the back. It's an impressive piece of hardware with a price to match, just under $300.
If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)
Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?
Day 1: Google Nexus 7 Tablet
Day 3: Intel Core i7-4790K
Day 4: Google Chromecast
Day 7: Amazon Kindle
Subject: Networking | March 12, 2014 - 07:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: router, trendnet, gigabit router, gigabit ethernet, ac1900, 802.11ac, 256 qam, networking
Trendnet has launched a new 802.11ac wireless router called the TEW-919DRU. The new dual band router supports speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 802.11ac network and 600 Mbps on the 2.4GB 802.11n network.
The router is powered by an undisclosed ARM chip clocked at 1GHz and uses six internal 6 dBi antennas along with beamforming technology to increase stability and range. Trendnet includes five RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet ports (four LAN, one WAN), one USB 3.0 port, and one USB 2.0 port. Users can simultaneously run an 802.11ac Wi-Fi network and an 802.11n Wi-Fi network. Further, users can add an additional guest Wi-Fi network on each 2.4GHz and 5GHz band as well as multiple SSIDs.
Trendnet also touts that the TEW-818DRU comes with a pre-encrypted Wi-Fi network that is setup out of the box with strong encryption; which is a great feature to see. Unfortunately, the benefits of the out-of-the-box Wi-Fi encryption is undermined by the default support of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which has been shown to be insecure. Hopefully new firmware will make WPS opt-in rather than opt-out (if it is indeed possible to truly disable on this model) to get the security nod.
The new 'AC1900' TEW-818DRU wireless router will be available this month with an MSRP of $259.99 and 3 year manufacturer warranty.
Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 12:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, router, TheMoon
A worm known as TheMoon has been in the news recently but the actual infection of Linksys routers has likely been spreading for quite a while now. You may have also read about the backdoor on Linksys/Cisco and Netgear routers which as been open for almost a decade and can be as simple as connecting to port 8083 if you can get direct access to the router. Some of these vulnerabilities can be mitigated by turning off remote administration and uPNP services but it seems your consumer level router is still a huge security risk. Your best bet is to spend a weekend and follow the advice of most Slashdot commentators; flash your router with OpenWRT or a version of Tomato and you will have better security and control over your router. Just don't do it to the modem your ISP provided you with.
"The remote-access management flaw that allowed TheMoon worm to thrive on Linksys routers is far from the only vulnerability in that particular brand of hardware, though it might be simpler to call all home-based wireless routers gaping holes of insecurity than to list all the flaws in those of just one vendor. An even longer list of Linksys (and Cisco and Netgear) routers were identified in January as having a backdoor built into the original versions of their firmware in 2005 and never taken out."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Oops: Security Holes In Belkin Home Automation Gear @ Slashdot
- Intel unveils Xeon E7 v2 for data centres with focus on data analytics @ The Inquirer
- Ignore the pie-in-the-sky storage roadmaps. This is what's REALLY afoot @ The Register
- How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog @ The Register
- How to Operate Your Spycams with ZoneMinder on Linux (part 1) @ Linux.com
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 01:20 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, router, linksys, CES 2014, CES, 802.11ac
Last night at the PEPCOM Digital Experience, we swung by Western Digital's booth. While there are no new launches at CES, it's always nice to see the full spread all laid out on display:
4TB Green and Black, 1TB Blue, Ultra Slim drives, and of course the Black2.
The other table shifts to backup and external storage, scaling up through the My Cloud to the larger EX4.
My eye was also caught by the behemoth of a router that is the Linksys WRT1900AC!
This beast is way more than an evolution on the old WRT54G. While there are four antennas, the dual band Marvell radios are only 3x3 capable. They can, however, choose among the four antennas to achieve the best possible throughput. The '1900' rating comes from 1300Mbps (5GHz) + 600Mbps (2.4GHz). This router will be Open-WRT capable out of the box, so you can expect the folks like DD-WRT and Tomato to have usable firmware built very shortly after launch, which is expected sometime around April of this year. Let's check out the ports:
Not only is there USB3, but we also have eSATA for even faster connectivity. Throughput to connected storage should be stellar as the on-board CPU will be a 1.2 GHz dual core ARM. Radios and CPU will be cooled by a built-in fan, and Linksys also noted they will be launching an 8 port Gigabit switch in a matching (and stackable) form factor. Open source firmware buff tech note: 128MB Flash, 256MB RAM. MSRP: $299.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!