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Eero Wifi Enters Second Generation

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Eero Wifi Enters Second Generation

The Eero mesh-based wifi system enters its second generation, with an updated router claiming to be twice as fast and twice as powerful as its predecessor even as it maintains the same form factor.

Like the first Eero router, the new version remains a router, wireless access point and range extender inside a small, white box. The update adds tri-band technology, allowing it to broadcast on 3 wireless bands simultaneously. The Eero can use any of the 3 bands to send data to device or communication between nodes, as per network demands.

Another addition is support for Thread, the smart home communications protocol developed by the Google-owned Nest. Thread is reportedly easier to deploy than ZigBee and Z-Wave but so far no device on the market supports it, making the Eero update something of a future-proof home automation device should Thread grow into a viable smart home networking protocol.

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Asus Blows Hole in Blue Cave Router

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Asus Blows Hole in Blue Cave Router

The Asus Blue Cave is an AC2600 dual-band wifi router unlike any other-- the design features a antenna-less design with a hole in the middle, making it look like a Dyson bladeless fan.

First presented at Computex 2017, the Blue Cave promises "smooth wifi" and "smart protection." It runs on the latest Intel wifi chipset, and includes Trend Micro protection for "every connected smart devices on the network, including IoT devices." A companion app provides granular control (such as network usage, family time limits and app internet access) while IFTTT support provides means for users to create formulas to run their smart homes and digital lives.

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TP-Link Gets on Mesh Networking Bandwagon

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TP-Link Gets on Mesh Networking Bandwagon

TP-Link is the next company to announce a home wireless mesh networking system-- the Deco M5, a means to blanket the home with wifi using three access points.

Similar to other mesh networking offerings from the likes of Google, Netgear and Eero, the Deco M5 covers up to 450 square metres using 3 access points. In case customers need more coverage the system scales scales to 10 access points. Wireless comes through a dual-band system using the AC1300 wireless standard, and promises speeds of up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band.

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Netgear Expands Orbi System

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Netgear Expands Orbi System

Netgear adds a pair of devices to the Orbi mesh wireless system-- the RBK30 and RBK40, both similar to the original RBK50 kit but featuring a smaller AC2200 router instead of an AC3000 unit.

The RBK30 consists of a single AC2200 router and a small signal-boosting wall plug satellite, and covers around 325 square metres. The RBK40 consists of a pair of AC2200 routers and covers 370 square metres.

Like the RBK50, the routers use what Netgear calls a "tri-bend mesh system." Essentially the router sends out three channels, one to extend internet to the satellite and two others to feed the connections of other devices. The router supports 802.11ac wifi with speeds reaching up to 3Gbps, and the satellite can be placed anywhere to create a unified network with a single user-selectable SSID.

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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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