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."
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