It’s increasingly becoming a wireless world, folks. Just check out the headlines from the past week or so. On top of the omnipresent smartphone/tablet chatter, we saw the launch of next-gen “5G Wi-Fi” chips capable of streaming 1080p video without a hitch, and now, today’s news: even your SD card is going wireless. Seriously.
EnGenius Technologies announced at CES today a new line of 802.11n Wi-Fi router that the company claims are optimized for range and bandwidth-intensive consumer applications, such as VoIP calls, videoconferencing and media streaming. One of the features we find most interesting is something that router manufacturers seem to be moving away from: detachable—and therefore upgradeable—antennas.
Most of the hot new products you hear about this early in a new year come out of the desert at the CES electronics convention – which takes place next week – but Broadcom decided to kick things off early and unveil its new line of “5G Wi-Fi” chips based on the still-in-development 802.11ac standard. Yes, they push Wi-Fi faster and farther than before, and no, “5G” has nothing to do with cellular networks. It’s just Broadcom’s catchphrase for the fifth generation of Wi-Fi. But hey, marketing tricks aside, how do up to 1.3Gbps wireless speeds sound?
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.
If Japan ever decides to ditch the “Rising Sun” bit, “Land of the Awesome Vending Machines” would be an apt second slogan. A multitude of useful, weird and wacky vending machines litter the landscapes of the country’s major cities, offering up goodies ranging from exotic drinks to delicious noodles and heck, even space gold and hotel rooms (as shown by Tom Edwards in his 24 hour vending machine survival stint in the heart of Tokyo). Now, those ubiquitous Japanese vending machines are getting even more useful, as one company plans on rolling out units that double as free Wi-Fi hotspots in 2012.
Few things matter more than a solid Internet connection when you’re a geek on the run. Along those lines, you can find decent Wi-Fi at airports, but you’ll pay through the nose to access it – most of the time, that is. Skype’s pulling its best Santa Claus impression and gifting fliers (naughty or nice) with an hour of free Wi-Fi at 50 airports across the U.S. during the peak holiday travel season.
Not to be too dramatic, but we couldn’t live without our Wi-Fi connections. That could be our downfall, because as it turns out, future generations of young geeks may not be able to live with our Wi-Fi connections. While the proliferation of wireless hot spots is generally regarded as a Very Good Thing overall, a new study suggests that "a laptop connected wirelessly to the Internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility." Basically, guys, all that YouTube browsing could be killing off your little soldiers.
Everyone’s saying that the cloud is the wave of the future, but in the present, we’ve still got a ton of movies, music and TV shows sitting pretty on our hard drives, just waiting to be streamed to gadgets and televisions around the house. Playing content from one device on another device is only going to get easier going forward with today’s announcement that the Digital Living Network Alliance has added Wi-Fi Direct interoperability into its DLNA standards. What’s that mean exactly? We’re glad you asked.
It’s easy to become jaded when you review as much cutting-edge hardware as we do. We try not to be curmudgeons, but we do get grumpy when next-gen hardware fails to make a leap in performance—or worse, when it falls behind the gear it’s intended to supplant. So we’re happy to report that benchmarking Netgear’s new WNDR4500 left us grinning from ear to ear. This is the fastest router we’ve ever tested, and it’s packed with new features.
A new survey of 259 service providers and Wi-Fi vendors reveals that global pulbic Wi-Fi hotspot numbers are roadmapped to grow from 1.3 million in 2011, to 5.8 million by 2015. That's a 350 percent increase and doesn't even include community hotspots created by users sharing their own Wi-Fi access points. Those will add another 4.5 million to the tally.