Subject: Networking | January 13, 2016 - 12:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless router, tp-link, mu-mimo, gigabit ethernet, CES 2016, 802.11ad, 802.11ac
Last week, TP-Link launched a new wireless router that is the first to support the 802.11ad "WiGig" standard alongside the usual fare of wireless AC, N, B, G, and A Wi-Fi networks. Sporting eight foldable external antennas, the TP-Link Talon AD7200 will be available within the next few months.
The Talon AD7200 features four Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports, eight antennas, and an all black casing with status LEDs lighting up the front panel. Two Qualcomm Atheros chipsets along with an unspecified dual core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz make up the internal hardware. One Atheros chipset is solely for the new 802.11ad radio while the other handles the remaining networks.
On the wireless side of things, the router supports simultaneous operation of a 5 GHz 802.11ac, 2.4 GHz 802.11n, and a 60 GHz 802.11ad network. Throughput is rated at up to 1,733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz, and an impressive 4,600 Mbps on the 60 GHz band. The 802.11ad network support is the really interesting part of this router. While the 60 GHz band allows for super fast connections, it has a range of only a few meters and it needs a clear line of sight without any obstructions – the signal can't pass through a person or even a decorative plant for example. This standard was initially intended for the connected living room that would allow users to stream or copy high bit-rate media from a mobile device or computer to your television. In that respect, the 60 GHz band works well and offers up plenty of bandwidth for the job.
The router allows hand-offs from 802.11ad to 802.11ac/n/b/a (eg. when you leave the room you can still stay connected to the network and internet, just on the slower but still fast enough for Internet access network) and supports beamforming and multi-user MIMO. It is using an allegedly user friendly firmware.
It is strange to see a router supporting the standard though when a direct Wi-Fi connection between the computer and TV should do fine. It does open up some interesting possibilities though. Right now, consumer devices supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet are extremely rare and still not very affordable. With 1 Gigabit links being commonplace for a number of years now they have started to be surpassed by 802.11ac Wi-Fi in (theoretical) throughput (though the ol' hardwired connection still holds stability and latency benefits). There is a new standard NBASE-T aimed at bridging the gap between 1 GbE and 10 GbE for home users that hits 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps but that is still very much in its infancy. If you had an 802.11ad access point in every room, or at least the places you needed high bandwidth connections, it would be a definite improvement over a Gigabit Ethernet connection for large file transfers (think a backup to a NAS or offloading pictures and video from your laptop or phone to your desktop for editing). Of course, WiGig docks are also a thing, and offer a wireless alternative to a Thunderbolt docking station.
802.11ad is not revolutionary and it has it's limitations, but it is extremely fast. I'm interested to see the benchmarks and what sort of setup this router will enable. According to Ars Technica, Lenovo and Acer have WiGig laptops and WiGig docks coming out this year, and hopefully USB 3.0 WiGig cards will come out before the end of the year. I have a need for networking speed.
- Killer Wireless-AC 1535 Review: The MU-MIMO Era Begins
- Samsung Announces 60GHz Wi-Fi (802.11ad)
- Dell Releases Wireless 802.11ad Dock With USB 3.0, Mutli-Display Support
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Networking | November 14, 2015 - 01:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: synology, 802.11ac, 256-QAM, mu-mimo, 3x3, gigabit router, wireless router
Synology, a company best known for its home and small office network attached storage (NAS) devices, is branching out with its first wireless router. The Synology Router RT1900ac is a high end 802.11ac Wi-Fi enabled router that is paired with some rather slick looking and useful software.
The RT1900ac supports the latest consumer grade networking tech including 802.11ac MU-MIMO (beam forming to up to six devices), 802.11n 256-QAM, and wired Gigabit Ethernet. The 5GHz band tops out at 1300 Mbps while the 2.4GHz “N” band tops out at 600 Mbps though note that a single device cannot use the combined “1900” Mbps bandwidth and even then inter-device links are limited to gigabit speeds or less.
The rear of the router hosts five Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN, 4 LAN) and three physical antennas which means a max of 3x3 MIMO to wireless devices. The left side of the router hosts a WPS (wireless protected setup) button and a physical Wi-Fi on/off switch while the right side of the router features a single USB 3.0 port and a SD card reader.
Internally, the router is powered by a dual core processor running at 1 GHz paired with 256 MB of DDR3 memory. Synology rates the router at a maximum of 70 connected devices with as many as 40 concurrently transmitting data.
The operating system is called the Synology Router Manager and it can be accessed via a web interface or a mobile app called DS Router for Android and iOS.
Users are able to access the router using a GUI interface that is reminiscent of other Synology software. It supports parental controls (website blocking, scheduling, ect), application layer quality of service (QoS) on a per-device level, traffic management and bandwidth monitoring (per device as well as total bandwidth used). Users are able to initially setup the router using a web interface or the mobile app to guide them through setup.
The USB port (and SDXC card slot) can be used to share files and stream media to other devices. They can also be used to share a printer over the network or enable a mobile hotspot using a cellular modem dongle.
Interestingly, users can add additional software to their router from Synology. Optional applications from Synology’s Package Center allow using the router as a VPN, torrent box, RADIUS authentication server, DNS server, file share, and media server. Being able to extend the functionality of the router is nice to see and should be popular with enthusiasts though it does raise some security concerns.
This new router will be on display at CES 2016 and will be available in the US early next year for $150.
I’m interested to see the reviews on this as it certainly looks nice and the software looks much better than most!
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: General Tech | August 31, 2015 - 04:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: wireless router, idiots, dd-wrt
In the next installment of poorly planned out moves by a US government agency attempting to solve a problem that does not exist, we shall see an attempt to make illegal the modification of the firmware on any device which contains an radio. This is likely to prevent you from using open source software to modify your wireless router into a death ray which will allow you to take over the planet.
Specifically, it will make illegal the modification of any device which can broadcast on U-NII bands which happen to include the 5GHz bandwidth that WiFi broadcasts on. While most firmware changes, such as dd-wrt only change the processor the routers are SoC's which means that the radio is technically a part of the same device as what you modify when applying custom firmware. Hack a Day has links to the FCC proposal, you might want to consider emailing your congress critters about it.
"Because of the economics of cheap routers, nearly every router is designed around a System on Chip – a CPU and radio in a single package. Banning the modification of one inevitably bans the modification of the other, and eliminates the possibility of installing proven Open Source firmware on any device."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Win10 Insider build 10532: Avoid if you run Chrome 64-bit @ The Register
- Nvidia GRID 2.0 doubles performance of its virtual GPU @ The Inquirer
- Dropbox DROPS BOX as service GOES TITSUP worldwide @ The Register
- Unearthed E.T. Atari Game Cartridges Score $108K At Auction @ Slashdot
Subject: Networking | August 14, 2014 - 11:47 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless router, wave 2, rt-ac87u, rt-ac87r, qsr1000, mu-mimo, ASUS ROG, asus, 802.11ac
ASUS recently launched the RT-AC87U which is the first "wave 2" 802.11ac wireless router to support multi user MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology. Although the initial launch happened at the end of last month, the RT-AC87U and RT-AC87R (a variant exclusive to Best Buy) will finally be avaiable for purchase starting August 26th for around $279.99.
The RT-AC87U is a monster matte black router with four large external antennas and sleek fighter jet angles. I/O is mostly clustered on the rear of the router and includes four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, one GbE WAN port, and one USB 2.0 port. In addition to the rear I/O, ASUS has positioned a USB 3.0 port on the front of the router (specifically the right corner of the front panel hidden behind a removeable rubber port cover).
On the wireless front, the RT-AC87U and RT-AC87R supports the latest 802.11ac and newer 256QAM (600Mbps) 802.11n specification as well as legacy 802.11g/b/a Wi-Fi networks. The router supports simultaneous dual band operation, which results in maximum throughput of 1.73 Gbps on the 5GHz 802.11ac band (4 x 433 Mbps streams) and 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz 802.11n band.
The new and interesting bit about the RT-AC87 is the MU-MIMO support. MU-MIMO, which stands for Multi-User Multple Input Multiple Output, is the evolution of MIMO technology which debuted with wireless N routers. The ASUS router is able to use multiple anntennas to communicate with a client device to increase bandwidth. Beamforming is used to focus the signal in the direction of the client to get better range and a stronger signal for that specific client. MU-MIMO builds on this technology by allowing the router to track, beamform, and employ multiple transmit and recieve antennas to talk to multiple clients simultaneously. Previously, routers were limited to communicating with a single client at a time (see the diagram below for an example).
Multi-User MIMO will benefit those users that choose to connect the majority of their networked devices via Wi-Fi. However, the technology will be especially noticeable in areas flooded with various Wi-Fi networks such as apartments. According to Matthew Gast of Aerohive Networks, MU-MIMO will allow all wireless clients to get an acceptable data rate in crowded wireless areas at the expense of being able to deliver the highest data rate to a single client device. Especially when competing Wi-Fi networks are involved and fighting for channels, MU-MIMO will shine at keeping devices connected and talking to the access point.
ASUS has chosen the Quantenna QSR100 chipset to handle the 802.11ac duties while a Broadcom BCM4709 chipset handles the 256QAM wireless N bands. Additionally, the RT-AC87 routers have 128MB of flash memory and 256MB of DDR3 RAM. According to ASUS, the router draws slightly over 45W.
On the software side of things, ASUS has chosen its own ASUSWRT firmware which includes parental controls, Time Machine backup support, VPN support, security software from TrendMicro (AiProtection), and AiCloud 2.0. USB support includes storage sharing as well as 3G/4G cellular modem internet connectivity.
In all, the ASUS RT-AC87U looks to be new home router champion packing quite a bit of hardware and leading the charge of Wave 2 802.11ac wireless routers. This all comes at a cost, however. The RT-AC87U and RT-AC87R will be available on August 26 with a MSRP of $269.99 and e-tail prices currently around $279.99.
For all the nitty-gritty details, check out this ASUS PCDIY blog post!
Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2013 - 11:59 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: linksys, belkin, 802.11ac, wireless router
Linksys made a showing at IFA 2013 in Berlin, Germany where it announced new 802.11ac wireless hardware under the Smart Wi-Fi series. The new lineup includes two wireless routers and a USB NIC. The highest-end model is the Smart Wi-Fi AC1900 router (also known as the EA6900).
The Smart Wi-Fi AC1900 is a dual band router powered by an unspecified dual core 800MHz processor and Broadcom 802.11ac chipset that is actually manufactured by Belkin. The router has three removable external dipole antennas, two USB ports for storage devices (one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0), four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one Gigabit WAN port.
Linksys rates the AC1900 at a theoretical throughput of 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz 802.11ac band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz 802.11n band. The router can operate both networks simultaneously and can employ beam-forming technology to improve signal strength. The router further supports a 3x3 send and receive configuration for up to three spatial streams per direction. The 600 Mbps for wireless N is accomplished by using 256 QAM modulation which allows up to 200 Mbps per spatial stream versus 150 Mbps from the standard 64 QAM modulation used by most wireless hardware. Unfortunately, in order to see the increased speeds, the more advanced modulation needs to be supported at both ends (router and NIC). The router is backwards compatible with older 802.11n wireless cards but only new cards supporting 256 QAM will support the higher maximum throughput.
The EA6900 (Smart Wi-Fi AC1900) wireless router will be available on October 4th for around $250. Early birds can pre-order the router in order to get a $20 discount and price of $230.
Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2013 - 11:50 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless router, qualcomm, gigabit router, dual band, dgl-5500, D-Link, 802.11ac
Earlier this year, D-Link launched a new 802.11ac wireless router called the DGL-5500 that featured specialized Quality of Service (QoS) designed for gamers. The DGL-5500 is a black cylindrical piece of networking kit measuring 9.8” x 6.5” x 2.8”.
The D-Link DGL-5500 is comprised of a four port Gigabit Ethernet switch, dual band wireless access point supporting 802.11a/b/g/n/ac on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Gigabit WAN port, a single USB 2.0 port for drive sharing, and D-Link’s custom firmware that provides routing, firewall, and QoS functionality. The QoS engine is powered by a Qualcomm developed technology called StreamBoost which optimizes traffic on both an application and device basis. The wireless router is further able to download application profiles from the Internet that are used to automatically configure the QoS' traffic shaping priorities for those apps.
D-Link is rating the wireless throughput of the DGL-5500 router at 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band. Please note that D-Link brands the router as AC1300 but in practice users will not see 1300mbps throughput (to a single device) as you cannot combine both bands. You can use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for various devices on your network and get a sort-of total network throughput (between router and multiple devices on both bands), however, which is where the “AC1300” and various Gigabit wireless marketing terms come from (D-Link is not alone in using terms that add up the two bands, even though a single device can’t hit that throughput figure).
The D-Link DGL-5500 is available now in the United States from D-Link and various retailers for a MSRP of $200. For example, Amazon, Newegg, and Tiger Direct all have the 802.11ac router listed for $199.99 (although it is currently out of stock on Amazon).
Subject: Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 04:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, RT-AC66U, wifi, wireless router
If you are wondering why you should care about the new ASUS RT-AC66U dual band wireless router, perhaps the thought of a better than gigabit speed wireless connection might interest you. It isn't just about the speed, even though it can easily be set up to provide basic access to one machine you can actually have up to 8 SSIDs to allow you to set up multiple networks with separate privileges making this router great for small to medium sized businesses as well as home users. It has two USB ports and is perfectly capable of using a USB 3G dongle to allow shared connections over the cell network or you could plug in data you want to share as the router can also act as an FTP server. Check out the full press release below for even more information.
Fremont, CA (June 4, 2012) - the new ASUS RT-AC66U router integrates dual-band Gigabit wireless with fifth generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, also known as 5G WiFi, which enables speeds up to three times faster than existing 802.11n devices. As one of the first routers to achieve this, it tops Gigabit wireless requirements with a combined 2.4GHz/5GHz bandwidth of 1.75Gbps. Coupled with exclusive ASUS AiRadar signal amplification and shaping technology, easy to use ASUSWRT setup software, multiple SSIDs, and IPv6 support the RT-AC66U is the perfect router for HD media streaming, large concurrent file transfers, and gaming. Impressive USB-based capabilities turn the RT-AC66U into a complete 3G, FTP, DLNA, and printer server device for genuine multi-role functionality in the home or at a small business.
Going beyond Gigabit Wi-Fi
The RT-AC66U is one of the world’s first dual-band wireless routers to support the advanced 802.11ac wireless protocol, enabling 5GHz band operation up to 1.3Gbps. These new capabilities are made possible by the inclusion of Broadcom’s powerful 5G WiFi chipset. 2.4GHz band capabilities work up to 450Mbps so the concurrent combined bandwidth of the RT-AC66U is 1.75Gbps. This unique router features sophisticated ASUS AiRadar technology to amplify signal strength and improve directionality to overcome environmental obstructions and increase data transfer rates. The inclusion of 5G WiFi makes the RT-AC66U one of the most future-proof routers on the market, ready for the next generation of high speed networks.
Extensive feature list enhances networking experiences
The RT-AC66U features easy and fast setup in just three steps with the ASUSWRT dashboard, while strict QoS (Quality of Service) standards help ensure improved bandwidth optimization and multitasking capabilities. Up to eight SSIDs are supported, so users can easily setup distinct networks with different access privileges and levels of security without having to compromise passwords. The RT-AC66U supports the new IPv6 standard for better packet transmission and addressing.
USB applications extend router versatility
With its twin USB ports, the RT-AC66U becomes a true multi-role device. Attaching a 3G dongle allows it to share 3G connections among several users on different devices. Full DLNA compatibility affords smooth connectivity with a variety of entertainment platforms, including game consoles, tablets, Blu-ray players, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. The RT-AC66U can also serve as a dedicated FTP server and/or printer server, letting users share resources for greater productivity while reducing costs as there is no need to buy standalone server hardware.
Full 802.11ac product lineup
In addition to the RT-AC66U router, ASUS is also releasing the PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 client adapters, both capable of 802.11ac speeds. The dual-band PCE-AC66 offers a PCI Express client card for desktops with a 3 x 3 high-powered transmission antenna design. It offers transfer rates up to 1.3Gbps in 5GHz and 450Mbps in 2.4GHz operation modes. For easy USB upgrades to 802.11ac, the USB-AC53 compact dongle plugs into a USB port with a 2 x 2 design. In 5GHz operation the USB-AC53 offers transfer rates up to 867Mbps, while in 2.4GHz transfer speeds are up to 300Mbps, achieving a total throughput of around 1.3Gbps. The PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 adapters are enabled by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chipsets and demonstrate ASUS technology leadership in bringing a full 802.11ac ecosystem to consumers.
Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2012 - 05:34 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless router, motherboard, audio, asus
At CES 2012 this week, popular motherboard manufacturer Asus showed off quite a few products. Among the new products, the company is releasing a wireless gigabit router, wireless repeater and Ethernet bridge, a new motherboard, and the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Xonar Phoebus audio sound card set.
The two new wireless products are the Asus RT-N66U, which is a dual band Wireless N Gigabit router, and the Asus EA-N66 Wi-Fi Ethernet bridge. The RT-N66U is a dual band Wireless N router that promises up to 900 Mbps over Wi-Fi thanks to two simultaneous Wireless N streams of 450 Mbps maximum each. One stream is done at 2.4 GHz and on the other stream data is broadcast and received on the 5 GHz spectrum. Asus has bundled the router with 26 dbm Wi-Fi amplifiers to extend the network's range. Other hardware includes three Wi-Fi antennas on the rear of the device, a four port Gigabit Ethernet switch, WAN port, two USB ports, power button, power input, and reset button. The front and top of the router shows off a stylish black pattern, blue status LEDs, and the Asus RT-N66U "Dark Night" name/logo while the back/bottom of the router contain plenty of ventilation ports and a stand to hold the router vertical. On the software side of things, the router features QoS, or Quality of Service, traffic management that the company claims can address up to 300,000 data sessions, eight SSIDs (for setting up guest networks, for example), and the company's ASUSWRT firmware. Downloading files without needing a PC and remote management of USB devices are also features.
The EA-N66 is a wireless Ethernet bridge and Wi-Fi access point. Under the hood of the rather (shall we say) stylized design, it is capable of using either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless spectrum in 450 Mbps bands. Asus claims that when the repeater is paired with their new router, "the EA-N66 gives gamers incredible network speeds and coverage for multi-player gaming sessions."
As Asus demonstrated for us at CES, their new Rampage IV Formula motherboard features a SupremeFX III sound card chip connected to the rear audio ports by traces on their own PCB layer. This "moat" of traces (that light up red, even!) being on a separate PCB layer helps to eliminate interference caused by the other electrical components on the board. Now, you get isolated sound without needing to take up a PCI-E slot. In the video below, Asus shows off the feature.
The Rampage IV motherboard also comes with a bundled headphone amplifier dubbed the ThunderFX. It provides up to 120 dB of amplification and can support up to 600 Ohm high end headphones. The amplifier is EMI shielded and with ENC support, the ThunderFX has dedicated channels for headphone audio and in-game voice chat. Further, the box is compatible with both PCs and game consoles (PS3 and Xbox 360), and enables regular PC gaming headsets to be used with the consoles. Last up, it has three audio presets for FPS, RTS, and Racing games.
Asus is also showing off the Xonar Phoebus sound card and breakout box for gaming under the company's Republic of Gamers brand. The set includes a PCI-E sound card capable of driving 600 Ohm headphones and a SNR (signal to noise ratio) of 118 dB. The card itself is shielding using, according to Asus, "carefully selected materials and perfectly shielded" to block EMI (electromagnetic interference) and and isolate itself from other issues caused by the other components in the case. The other piece of hardware is the Xonar Phoebus control box that integrates array microphones to reduce environmental noise when using voice chat and VOIP calls by "up to 50 percent." It further allows volume control and has Dolby Home Theater V4 surround sound and the GX3.0 gaming engine to enhance headphone audio when gaming.
More information can be found here. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2011 - 11:55 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: engenius, wireless router
If you have been asked to help someone pick a wireless router for their home you are likely familiar with the glazed look that comes to the eyes of the person who asked for your help when you try to figure out what their requirements are. EnGenuis might be a good way for you to look when offering them a model. The 300N Gaming router offers a simple interface and will prioritize media traffic to ensure that streaming video and gaming packets get the highest priority if there is a lot of traffic over the router. It also does not have a reset button, which means you can avoid reprogramming the router every time the user wants to do their own maintenance and resets the router back to factory defaults. Techware Labs would like to see a dual band version for enthusiasts but as it stands the EnGenius 300N is great for family use.
"EnGenius has answered the call of media enthusiasts and gamers alike with the Wireless 300N Gaming Router (ESR9855G). With 300Mbps (37.5 MBps) wireless and 1000Mbps (125 MBps) wired speeds this router is aimed at gaming and HD streaming. Lets take a dive and take a look if this router a step above the rest."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Destroy Hard Drives?
- Nerf's new Vortex blasters: who needs darts when you're shooting discs? @ Ars Technica
- Griffin HELO TC iOS-Controlled RC Helicopter Review @ Legit Reviews
- Google CIO and others talk DevOps and "Disaster Porn" at Surge @ Ars Technica