Subject: Networking | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: smart speaker, router, mesh network, mesh, asus lyra, asus, 802.11ax
ASUS today announced new products in its Lyra brand of connected devices. The Lyra Voice is a multi-featured device that acts as both an 802.11ac mesh Wi-Fi hub as well as a voice assistant-enabled stereo speaker.
The networking side of the Lyra Voice integrates with ASUS's existing Lyra mesh networking system with a tri-band AC2200-class radio, while the personal assistant side relies on integration with Amazon Alexa, allowing users to play music, check the weather, control smart devices around the home, and all of the other Alexa-enabled capabilities.
For those looking for networking without the personal assistant features, the ASUS Lyra Trio is a dual-band, multi-hub mesh Wi-Fi system that features a design with unique antenna placement to increase wireless range and speed.
Both the Lyra Trio and Voice can be used together to form a home mesh network and are controlled and configured via the ASUS Lyra mobile app. Detailed technical specifications for both products are not yet available.
Finally, ASUS didn't forget about its traditional RT-series of wireless routers. The company also announced the RT-AX88U, an 802.11ax router with maximum throughput of up to 6000Mbps. The RT-AX88U also includes 8 Gigabit LAN ports for wired connections, and utilizes MU-MIMO technology to provide maximum performance to all connected devices.
Like the Lyra products, detailed technical specifications for the RT-AX88U are not yet available. All three products are expected to be available in the first half of the year, with pricing to be revealed closer to launch.
Living the Mesh Life
Mesh networking is the current hot topic when it comes to Wi-Fi. Breaking from the trend of increasingly powerful standalone Wi-Fi routers that has dominated the home networking scene over the past few years, mesh networking solutions aim to provide wider and more even Wi-Fi coverage in your home or office through a system of multiple self-configuring and self-managing hotspots. In theory, this approach not only provides better wireless coverage overall, it also makes the setup and maintenance of a Wi-Fi network easier for novice and experienced users alike.
Multiple companies have recently launched Wi-Fi mesh systems, including familiar names such as Google, Netgear, and Linksys. But this new approach to networking has also attracted newcomers, including San Francisco-based eero, one of the first companies to launch a consumer-targeted Wi-Fi mesh platform. eero loaned us their primary product, the 3-piece eero Home WiFi System, and we've spent a few weeks testing it as our home router.
This review is the first part of a series of articles looking at Wi-Fi mesh systems, and it will focus on the capabilities and user experience of the eero Home WiFi System. Future articles will compare eero to other mesh platforms and traditional standalone routers, and look at comparative wireless performance and coverage.
Box Contents & Technical Specifications
As mentioned, we're looking at the 3-pack eero Home WiFi System (hereafter referred to simply as "eero"), a bundle that gives you everything you need to get your home or office up and running with a Wi-Fi mesh system. The box includes three eeros, three power adapters, and a 2-foot Ethernet cable.
Each eero device is identical in terms of design and capability, measuring in at 4.75 inches wide, 4.75 inches deep, and 1.34 inches tall. They each feature two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a single USB 2.0 port (currently restricted to diagnostic use only), and are powered by two 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi radios capable of supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. In addition, an eero network supports WPA2 Personal encryption, static IPs, manual DNS, IP reservations and port forwarding, and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP).