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Comms and Internet

Asus Intros DSL-AC88U Modem Router

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Asus Intros DSL-AC88U Modem Router

Asus announces a combination of modem and router with the DSL-AC88U-- a piece of networking gear the company claims is its fastest yet through to the use of Broadcom NitroQAM technology.

The DSL-AC88U supports the G.fast standard, as well as ADSL, ADSL2/2 and VDSL2 services. It promises broadband speeds of up to 18x faster than VDSL2 services allow, and also connects to the internet via regular ethenet. Meanwhile NitroQAM (1024-QAM) technology enables wifi data rates of up to 2167Mbps on the 5GHz band and 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, for concurrent bandwidth of up to 3167Mbps.

Further connectivity comes through a pair of USB ports-- one USB 3.0 in the front, and one USB 2.0 in the back. This allows users to turn the router into a NAS or share a printer across the home network, and the ports also handle compatible 3G/4G USB dongles to add cellular connectivity as a backup.

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The Asus ROG Gaming Router

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The Asus ROG Gaming Router

Asus ROG presents what it describes as a router "designed specifically for gaming"-- the Rapture GT-AC5300, a piece of networking hardware complete with tri-band wifi, 8 LAN ports and a "PC-grade" CPU.

Since it is aimed at gamer customers the Rapture looks like an angular black spider, with 8 chunky legs lifted like antennas to heaven. Basically imagine the aesthetic opposite of the consumer-friendly routers like the Google OnHub router. However Asus insists the ugliness hides a number of innovative features, such as "Gaming Centre" software providing an instant overview of network status and stability, the number of connected devices and any games running on said devices.

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Linksys Takes on Mesh Wifi With Velop

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Linksys Takes on Mesh Wifi With Velop

Linksys is the next company to take on the mesh wifi concept as it announces Velop at CES 2017-- a multi-router system promising to envelope (thus the name) the house with wireless bandwidth.

The Velop system uses a tri-band 802.11ac MU-MIMO mesh network, with one band dedicated to communication between routers to prevent some of the bottlenecks two-band systems suffer from. The routers also include two ethernet ports in case customers prefer cable connectivity. The mesh system is self-healing, and can handle up to 5 Velop units to ensure wifi coverage in even the largest of houses.

Inside the routers is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, 4GB flash storage and 512MB DDR3 RAM, together with wifi and Bluetooth radios. Interestingly support for Amazon Alexa is also included for users wanting to take advantage of voice-based control.

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Bluetooth 5 Officially Adopted

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Bluetooth 5 Officially Adopted

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) gives the final stamp of approval to Bluetooth 5 as the latest version of the wireless networking standard-- one with longer range, faster speed and larger broadcast message capability.

Specifically, Bluetooth 5 promises up to x4 the range, x2 the speed and x8 the broadcast message capability compared to the previous version. As a result it should be able to power whole home and building coverage, enable more responsive, high-performance device and allow for more context relevant solutions. Also included are updates helping reduce potential interference with other wireless technologies, allowing it to coexist with other networking standards within the Internet of Things (IoT).

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LuxLive Tests Li-Fi Networking

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LuxLive Tests Li-Fi Networking

LuxLive 2016 sees the world's first test of li-fi, the lighting-based networking system developed by Scotland-based pureLiFi, in a live setting-- one featuring the streaming of a video to a tablet.

The li-fi system was connected to the tablet via USB. When Harald stood directly under the Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapted stage lights, a network was quickly detected, although the signal soon started to fade as he moved further from the lights. This means the technology, at least so far, still has a short range. In fact, each li-fi lighting fixture has a range of sixty degrees and 7-8 square metres, and as such multiple enabled luminaires need to be used to widen available coverage.

"Wireless communication is lacking frequency," pureLiFi's Dr. Harald Burchardt tells LuxReview. Li-fi technology has the ability to widen the capacity of our wireless communication options."

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ABI: IoT Drives Bluetooth Smart Devices

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ABI: IoT Drives Bluetooth Smart Devices

According to ABI Research, 2017 will mark another milestone in Bluetooth technology through the release of Bluetooth 5 specification, further pushing wireless networking technology as the leading connectivity solution for the IoT.

The analyst forecasts 2021 Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready device shipments reaching 5 billion units, the result of technical enhancements opening new opportunities, use cases and device types. Outside of mobile space, key IoT market growth areas include smart home and smart lighting, beacons and wearables, among others.

“While smartphones and audio accessories remain Bluetooth’s largest markets, the technology is becoming more attractive to low-power IoT applications,” ABI says. “Though Bluetooth still faces strong competition from the other standards, mesh networking will enable new opportunities for the technology in the smart home, building automation, and emerging IoT markets in which robustness, low latency, scalability, minimal power consumption and strong security are all additional critical requirements.”

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ABI: WiGig Market to Reach "Critical Juncture"

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ABI: WiGig Market to Reach

According to ABI Research the 802.11ad (aka WiGig) chipset market will reach a "critical juncture" in 2017, thanks to the technology increasingly penetrating PCs, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices.

Since WiGig certification is currently underway, the analyst predicts WiGig chipset shipments will reach over 1 billion in 2021, as the technology enables wireless docking and enhances multimedia streaming, data transfer between devices, and networking applications. In addition more manufacturers should start making WiGig chipsets, including Broadcom, Intel, Lattice Semiconductor, MediaTek, Nitero, Peraso and Qualcomm, helping cut costs of the first WiGig-enabled devices.

“A major challenge for WiGig in moving to the 60GHz band is to build up an ecosystem and solid set of use cases to drive growth,” ABI says. “WiGig-enabled docks can be costly, and OEMs may choose not to implement the technology if there are only a limited number of devices that will work with the accessories.”

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WiGig Gets Wifi Certification

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WiGig Gets Wifi Certification

The Wifi Alliance certifies WiGig, the wireless networking standard operating in the 60GHz spectrum promising to enable multi-gigabit performance in a variety of short-range applications.

The wider 60GHz band is less congested, and complements the existing 2.4 and 5GHz wifi bands. It transmits data at speeds reaching up to 8Gbps and low latencies, with beamforming aiming signals directly at devices. Signal range reaches 10m-- short, but suitable for wired-grade line-of-sight scenarios both in-room and outside.

WiGig can find use in smartphones, portable PCs, tablets and access points, as well as home entertainment and general CE. ABI research predicts 2017 WiGig chipset shipments will reach 180 million in smartphones, before reaching 1.5 billion in total by 2021.

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Netgear Adds 802.11ad Wifi to Nighthawk X10 Router

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Netgear Adds 802.11ad Wifi to Nighthawk X10 Router

Netgear presents what it claims is its fastest router yet-- the Nighthawk X10 AD7200, a router featuring a 1.7GHz quad-core processor together with Quad-Stream Wave 2 architecture and 802.11ad wifi.

The result, the company says, is wireless speeds reaching up to 7.2Gbps as powered through tri-band wifi radios operating in the 2.4GHz (802.11n), 5GHz (802.11ac) and 60GHz (802.11ad) bands. In addition, MU-MIMO technology adds simultaneous streaming support, a 160MHz radio doubles wifi speeds to mobile devices and four antennas maximise wifi range and throughput.

Another company first comes in the shape of a 10gigabit port with fibre support allowing for fast backups and streaming from NAS devices. A pair of USB 3.0 ports allow the connection of storage devices, while 6 months of free Amazon Drive handle cloud-based backups.

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