Netgear today announced what it claims is the industry's first AC3200 tri-band Wi-Fi router, the Nighthawk X6. That claim is born from the fact that this is the only consumer tri-band router that's available to purchase today (in pre-order form, with shipping expected in July) -- Asus has its RT-AC3200 on tap as well, though it doesn't look like it will beat Netgear's newest unit into homes.
This is the fastest rated consumer Wi-Fi router yet
Router makers aren't messing around these days. Taking full advantage of the 802.11ac spec, which incidentally is no longer in draft form, Asus today announced the RT-AC3200 wireless router. Asus is billing the RT-AC3200 as the world's fastest Wi-Fi router, and as far as we're privy to, that's an accurate claim. Of course, like all other high-speed routers, Asus is taking liberties with nomenclature to describe the speed.
You can now install third-party DD-WRT firmware on certain Trendent AC routers
We don't know if a war is brewing between Trendnet and Linksys, but like the latter's WRT1900AC router, Trendnet today announced open source DD-WRT firmware compatibility for its high performance TEW-818DRU (v1.0), TEW-821DRU (v2.0)l, and TEW-811DRU (v1.0) Wireless-AC routers. This is pretty big news for networking gurus who like to tinker but are other otherwise bound by their router's stock firmware.
OnStar will offer data plans in select GM vehicles
Beginning next month, OnStar will make available 4G LTE data plans in the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu, followed by 30 other Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles by the end of the year. New car buyers will receive a trial period that runs three months or three gigabytes, whichever comes first. After that, plans start as little as $5 per month ($10 for non-OnStar subscribers) for 200MB of data, which OnStar says is enough to stream more than 6.5 hours of music, surf the web for 13 hours, or send more than 10,000 emails without attachments.
New Wi-Fi routers from D-Link come in four different color options
Some of D-Link's newer Wi-Fi routers already sport a distinct aesthetic with a cylindrical design that's somewhat reminiscent of Apple's Mac Pro (but smaller). Someone decided D-Link's routers still needed more flair, so the company released a new and colorful line of AC750 routers. D-Link's new DIR-818LW model is available in red, teal, black, and white, each of which features the familiar cylinder design and AC750 Wi-Fi connectivity.
Currently restricted to Kansas City, Provo and Austin (promised), Google Fiber is getting ready for a major round of expansion. Earlier this year, the search giant invited 34 cities around the U.S. to “work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.” As if gigabit internet wasn’t enough, the selected cities could also end up getting citywide Wi-Fi from Google.
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.
Another high performance router option in the 802.11ac space
If you've been putting off upgrading your home network, now is a good time to finally upgrade your hardware, starting with your router. Wireless-AC is here (still in Draft form, but we've run into very few quirks with the routers we've tested to date) and it can make a world of difference in your home network, even if you own a Wireless-N router. You have a growing number of options to choose from, including Trendnet's new TEW-818DRU dual-band router, which is the company's new flagship consumer model.
Cable companies and tech firms like Microsoft share a common goal
A coalition of cable companies and well known technology firms has been formed to address the "Wi-Fi spectrum crunch" and to lobby Washington to free up unlicensed spectrum. The coaltion is called WifiForward and it includes cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable (which Comcast is trying to acquire), and Charter Communications, along with technology firms like Microsoft, Google, and Broadcom.