Both Broadcom and Quantenna are working on chips to dramatically increase 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds
We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but in the true sense of the term, there's simply no such thing as "future proofing." Take for example the draft 802.11ac standard. You can go out and buy the fastest consumer router avaiable today (a tossup between the Asus RT-AC66U/AC68U and Netgear R7000) and by this time next year, we'll likely have a new speed king. In fact, the efforts of two competing companies -- Broadcom and Quantenna -- all but ensure it. Both companies recently announced new chipsets that will make today's routers look pokey by comparison.
Ballmer's Retirement, Nvidia Shield, and Netgear takes Asus to Court.
It’s time for episode #210 of the No BS Podcast, and this time we kicked things off by discussing Steve Ballmer's retirement as the CEO of Microsoft. Next Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang shares his hands-on experience with Nvidia's Sheild, and we discuss the lawsuit between Netgear and Asus while pondering if we could ever quit the Internet. To wrap things up we handled some reader questions, and each editor delivered his or her editor's picks.
Back in late January Belkin announced it would be buying up the Linksys brand from Cisco, a company that seems utterly determined to exit the consumer market as quickly as possible. It was hard to imagine anything would sour the deal given how determined Cisco is to liquidate non-enterprise brands, but we can now confirm its official.
The market for routers is pretty well established at this point, but that isn’t stopping companies from trying to build in new features to get you to upgrade. D-Link’s newly announced offerings are looking to connect you in a variety of ways, and at a variety of price points. The company is offering up a low-cost cloud router, a pricey media-enabled option, and more networking goodies.
The now widely used Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standard is apparently not as protected as router makers had hoped. According to a new study, the PIN codes used to lock down the system can be brute forced on many devices by inputting incorrect PIN codes. Millions of routers and access points could be affected.
We weren’t impressed with the last Linksys-branded router that passed through Maximum Lab North. The dual-band Linksys E3000 (in reality, a rebadged Linksys WRT610N) delivered humdrum performance and lacked a number of important features we expect to find in a high-end router. The E4200 fares better, but we’re still scratching our heads over some of Linksys’s decisions.
Netgear has developed a bad habit of branding its new routers with two different model numbers. Take the WNDR4000—or is it the N750? Both names are printed on the box, and the router itself is labeled “N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router WNDR4000.”
We don’t much care what our routers look like, because they’re usually hidden inside a closet (unless we’re benchmarking them). But Asus’s engineers lavished as much attention on the RT-N56U’s skin as they did its guts: This dual-band router is a looker, and it’s also pretty damned fast.
You’ve been getting by with the cheapie router you bought two years ago, so why should you upgrade now? In a word: Performance. And features. Oh, sorry. That’s two words. We looked at a host of budget offerings in our last router roundup (February 2010) and didn’t find much to get excited about. This time, we asked seven manufacturers to send us the best consumer routers in their stables regardless of price tags.
In most cases, that meant a simultaneous dual-band router capable of running 802.11n wireless networks using the typical 2.4GHz frequency band and the less-crowded 5GHz band, plus a guest network that isolates its clients from your primary LAN. In all cases, it meant a router with an integrated four-port gigabit switch and at least one USB port for sharing a printer or a storage device over the network (some have two USB ports to support both functions). In an interesting twist, however, no one submitted a product using a three-stream wireless chipset promising raw throughput of 450Mb/s.
We thought the 1.5x1.25-inch LCD on Trendnet’s TEW-673GRU was pretty cool at first. It informs you of the router’s status, provides real-time performance numbers, displays the time and date, and more. But our enthusiasm wilted when the display became corrupted to the point of being illegible. That’s unfortunate, because there’s a lot else to like about this router.
The TEW-673GRU is a dual-band model with two USB ports to support both a printer and a portable hard drive. It finished second in terms of TCP throughput on the 2.4GHz band (taking third place on the 5GHz band), and it turned in the fastest transfer speeds as a NAS device.