Honoring 20 years of the World Wide Web by looking forward at the future of broadband Internet
Broadband has evolved considerably over the last decade or so in the United States. Whereas just a few years ago, large parts of the country were relegated to pokey 56K dial-up connections over standard phone lines, now multi-megabit broadband connections are commonplace and speed increases are being introduced regularly. In fact, in some test markets, broadband at gigabit speeds is on the way. And yes, that’s gigabits with a “G,” as in roughly 17,800x more bandwidth than 56K dial-up.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Netgear's latest router is for those who value 802.11ac over 802.11n performance.
The new R6520 Smart Wi-Fi router from Netgear is the company's newest product to support the 802.11ac wireless standard, and it's designed specifically for people who care more about the draft specification than with having the fastest 802.11n Wi-Fi performance in the 2.4GHz band. It's armed with a dual-core 800MHz engine to enable combined Wi-Fi connections at speeds up to 1600Mbps.
Cisco found a way out of the consumer networking market, thanks to Belkin.
Call it an end of an era, if you wish, but Cisco is hightailing it out of the consumer space after selling off its Home Networking Business Unit to Belkin for an undisclosed sum of money. The deal includes the familiar Linksys brand, which Cisco acquired back in 2003. At the time, Linksys had 305 employees and revenues of more than $500 million. All of its products were branded Linksys by Cisco following the transaction, though Cisco has reportedly been looking to get out of the consumer space for some time now.
A new 802.11ac router from D-Link promises lag-free gaming and smooth video streaming.
D-Link today announced a number of new networking products and services, none more interesting than the cylinder shaped "Gaming Router" with Qualcomm StreamBoost technology (DGL-5500). From the pictures we've seen, it looks like a miniature version of an SVS PC12/PC13 subwoofer, but it's really an 802.11ac wireless router with specialized QoS (Quality of Service) controls for uninterrupted gaming and smooth streaming video playback.
Routers are a dime a dozen these days, and potential shoppers are bombarded with literally hundreds of nearly identical options. How then are you supposed to narrow the field? Well if range is the most important consideration, and you don’t have any issues with bizarrely phallic objects, then the RT-N12HP router from Asus just might be worth your consideration.
In case you’re wondering why we’re reviewing an 802.11n router when the first 802.11ac routers have already reached the market, we have several reasons. First and foremost, the latter didn’t make it to the Lab in time for our print deadline. Secondly, the IEEE isn’t expected to formally ratify the 802.11ac standard until early 2013. The 802.11ac routers on the market today are based on Draft 2.0 of the standard, so there’s a remote chance they could be rendered obsolete when the standard is finalized.
Yes, there are 802.11ac routers on the market, but they’re based on Draft 2.0 of the standard, and the Wi-Fi Alliance did not have a certification program in place at press time.
Is there anything more frustrating than dealing with a wireless dead zone in your home or office building? Sure there are, but no matter how it compares to other unfortunate events, dealing with weak Wi-Fi signals can be a maddening affair. Amped Wireless set about solving this problem with its new AP20000G dual-band Wi-Fi access point. According to Amped Wireless, this high power device will extend the range of your Wi-Fi coverage by up to 7,500 square feet.
It might be awhile before there's an officially certified 802.11ac standard, but in the meantime, companies are ready and willing to forge ahead with router models based on draft specifications, just as we saw in the draft 802.11n days. Asus is one of them, having just announced the launch of its RT-AC66U 5G Wi-Fi router with greater than gigabit wireless speeds on the 5GHz band.
D-Link just dove into 802.11ac territory with the introduction of its new Cloud Router 5700 (DIR-865L). This dual-band device takes advantage of the upcoming 802.11ac standard currently under development, which makes this a draft 802.11ac router. D-Link advertises up to 1750Mbps of throughput, though that's spread across two bands as 1300Mbps (Wireless-AC) and 450Mbps (Wireless-N).
Cisco faced a bit of consumer backlash last week when it pushed out a Firmware update that not only took away much of the advanced control users have come to expect, but actually forced them to agree to a list of anti-porn and anti-piracy clauses. Anyone with automatic updates turned on woke up Thursday to find not only could they not access their router locally, they needed to sign in through Cisco Cloud connect just to access the basics. Cisco has since backpedaled on the incident, and is in full on damage control with a new blog post.