ASUS has created a few products out of their norm lately and I think it’s nice to see them breaching into new product categories, especially when they create things that aren’t all that common yet. The newest product to be announced is the Travelair AC which is a pocket-sized wireless flash drive.
The ASUS Travelair AC features 802.11ac wireless network connectivity which easily is 3 times faster than the legacy 2.4GHz band that a lot of such devices operate on. The faster wireless connection doesn’t just provide better copy and streaming speeds, it also allows your devices to stay on a single network for less hassle.
Basic 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wireless connectivity is just one of the features in ASUS new portable flash drive as it also feature NFC technology for instant connection to NFC-enabled mobile devices for an even easier setup. The Travelair AC features 32GB built-in memory which in itself isn’t much, but it can be easily expanded through the built-in SD card reader.
The flash drive also features a micro USB connector for a wired connection to non-wifi devices as well as to charge the built-in 3000 mAh battery.
ASUS added a dual wireless functionality to the Travelair AC, so you won’t lose your internet connection when using this wireless flash drive. You simply connect the Travelair AC to your router and any device that connects to the drive will also automatically get the signal forwarding to your internet connection. Naturally this support also includes WPA2 security for secure connections both ways
The ASUS AiDrive app for Android, iOS, and Kindle devices allows for easy setup and connection, but the drive is also compatible with Windows and Mac OS devices. The built-in battery should provide up to 10 hours of multimedia content streaming to Wi-Fi-enabled devices per charge which should be enough for even the longest trips.
Pricing and availability of the ASUS Travelair AC are yet to be announced.
Our routers and wireless network cards come with replaceable antennas, at least a lot do, and SilverStone released two new antennas and one magnetic Wi-Fi antenna base for the scenario that you’ll want to upgrade your existing antennas for performance or placement reasons.
The SilverStone WAD17, pictured above, is a high-gain MIMI 2T2R Wi-Fi antenna for improved wireless connectivity. It has a 5 dBi gain on the 2.4 GHz band and 7 dBi on the 5GHz bands which makes it a dual-band antenna. The Dipole antenna features a default SMA plug RP connector and has an impedance of 50 ohms.
The SilverStone WA219 2T2R high-gain Wi-Fi antenna is only for the 2.4 GHz band but comes with an impressive 9 dBi gain for that extra range and signal strength into the furthest parts of your home.
The SilverStone WAB1B is a circular magnetic base for SMA plug RP antennas and it has a 1.5-meter long cable for optimal placement. It allows you to place the antennas on a more optimal position than let’s say on the rear of your PC chassis which is placed under the desk. Having the antennas on top of the chassis or even the desk itself will greatly improve the Wi-Fi performance. Both the plug on the stand and on the cable are gold plated for optimal connection and the cable used is a low loss CLF 100.
All three new SilverStone Wi-Fi accessories are available now for a recommended end user price (excl. VAT) of $10.08 USD, $8.51 USD, and $8.51 USD respectively for the WA219, WAD17, and WAB1B.
There is no shortage of routers on the market and today I’m taking TP-Link’s Archer C9 AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, a beautiful and simple looking router capable of handling the newest AC connection standard.
The Archer C9 looks like it could have it all, powerful dual-band wireless for up to 1900Gbps total transfer speeds, Gigabit Ethernet ports for both LAN and WAN, USB 3.0 for file sharing and an easy to use setup and configuration interface.
Archer C9’s strength doesn’t just come from the support for the 802.11ac standard, the next generation of Wi-Fi, and the combination of the 2.4GHz 600Mbps and 5GHz 1300Mbps connections for a total available bandwidth of 1.9Gbps, but also in the added features and functions such as USB file and printer sharing as well as beamforming technology for the best possible connection between your devices.
The Archer C9 has three detachable dual band antennas for maximum and omni-directional wireless coverage as well as reliability. The signal strength is further boosted by the built-in beamforming technology for an even better and efficient wireless connection between the router and the connected devices. The router will focus the strength of its signal where it is needed.
To achieve all the power needed to handle all that traffic speed, TP-Link built the Archer C9 with a dual-core 1GHz processor that is able to handle a lot of simultaneously wired and wireless tasks at the same time.
On the rear of the unit, you’ll find a USB 2.0 port for older legacy storage devices and printers and it also comes with a USB 3.0 port on the side for modern and high-speed storage. The built-in FTP server and file-sharing allows you to easily access the stored files and media from any device connected on your network.
The built-in FTP server, media server, and Samba file-sharing allows you to easily access the stored files and media from any device that is connected to your network.
There is a separate LED for almost every part of the router from power over the two wireless signals to LAN, WAN and an individual for each of the USB ports. The only thing that you can’t see quickly on the LEDs is which of the four LAN ports that’s active.
There isn’t a way to mount this router on your wall, it instead comes with a stand that will make the router stand at a small backward angle. The rubber feet may not be large, but they are enough to keep the router where you place it.
The addition of a power button is a nice touch. You rarely need it on a router, but it is a lovely feature to have when you do. There is plenty of room on the device, so why not.
All four LAN ports and the WAN port are Gigabit ports for the usual great LAN speed and without limitation on faster than 100MB/s internet connections that are making their entry in more and more location and markets. The WPS button also works as reset button at the same time.
I really like the design that TP-Link applied to the Archer C9. The gentle curves give the router a simplistic yet almost sophisticated look. But it doesn’t just look great, it’s also a well-crafted unit made with great parts.
On the side of the unit you’ll find the USB 3.0 port where you easily can connect your fast portable storage and share it over your network. It’s also where the button is located to turn the WiFi on and off. No need to have it running when not needed, especially when it’s so easy to access and switch.
The Archer C9 also supports guest network connections for people who only need access now and then and to whom you might not want to give your normal and more static password. Parents can also rest assured that their kids won’t visit sites that they shouldn’t and on hours where they should be asleep thanks to the parental control.
Other features include IPv6, Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/PPTP/L2TP/BigPond WAN connections, 64/128-bit WEP, and WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2 encryption. It has built in firewall, bandwidth control, supports direct setup for dynamic DNS services and VPN passthrough.
iOS users will also have access to easy management through the Tether APP while anyone can enjoy quick and hassle free installation via the web interface via any computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Within the box you find everything you need to get started with your high-speed wireless network: the router itself with its three antennas, a AC/DC power adapter, a RJ45 LAN cable to connect it to your internet connection, manuals, resource disk, and a quick installation guide to get your started and running as quick as possible.
Asus has announced a new access point and media bridge, the EA-AC87, which is a dual-purpose wireless AC-1800 that uses a 4×4 MIMO antenna array. The company states that when it is paired with a 4×4 router, the EA-AC87 is able to deliver the world’s fastest 5GHz speeds of up to 1734 Mb/s.
The EA-AC87 also features the Asus AiRadar, a universal beamforming technology that helps the device ensure a reliable and fast connection over an area of 465 m² or 5000 ft. This means that the latest device has a 33% performance increase compared the previous Wi-Fi antenna generations that use 3×3 antennas.
In terms of connectivity, the EA-AC87 provides five Gigabit Ethernet ports, giving it the ability to connect to a wide range of devices. In addition to the latter, Asus states that future firmware updates will add support for multi-user MIMO, enhancing the product performance in multi-device environments.
In access point mode, the EA-AC87 is said to provide the ultimate 802.11ac standard extension, extending the capacity to handle more devices as well as extending the wireless coverage of the router it is coupled to. The EA-AC87 is the perfect solution for a single-band 2.4 GHz router, having it add the benefit for 5 GHz connectivity which adds ultra-fast speeds and less interference than in congested 2.4 GHz environments.
In media bridge mode, the EA-AC87 provides five LED indicators on the front panel which act as signal quality indicators. This provides real-time feedback upon the wireless signal quality and ensures that the user benefit from the optimum connection speeds and reliability.
Asus is making the EA-AC87 available in May 2015, having set a recommended price tag of €159.
Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
LG will be introducing their new Music Flow series of wireless speakers at CES 2015 in Las Vegas, consisting of the companies first battery-powered wireless speaker, normal speakers, and soundbars. The LG NP8350 is the company’s first wireless speaker with a built-in battery for easy portability from one room to another in the home, or on the go. The battery is pretty much what sets this one apart from the other ones, so anything else goes for them all.
The Music Flow series makes it real easy to create your personalized wireless home cinema. Each soundbar allows you to connect two speakers wireless (left and right) and each speaker allows the connection of another speaker with the dual band 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi connections. Just place your speakers where you desire, connect them, and immerse yourself in optimal surround sound. LG’s BP550 Streaming 3D Blu-ray Player or LAB550W SoundPlate can also both be connected to the Music Flow speakers to stream sound from any CD or a connected USB drive.
The Music Flow speakers further increase the convenience factor with the Android or iOS compatible mobile apps. When your phone comes within on foot of the speakers, they can take over the playback running on it. This means that when you get in the door while singing along to your favorite tune playing on your earpieces, you just place it near a speaker and they will take over. They also come with LG’s HomeChat feature that allows you to SMS text commands to your speakers or integrate it into your alarm system.
The lineup that will be presented includes the company’s first battery-powered Portable Wi-Fi Speaker; model H4 (NP8350) additional Portable Wi-Fi Speakers; models H7 (NP8740), H5 (NP8540) and H3 (NP8340); and upgraded Sound Bars; (models LAS950M, LAS851M and LAS751M).
Thanks to LG for providing us with this information
The new Rapoo keyboard is here and it brings with it a very interesting set of features. The Rapoo KX is wireless, mechanical, features vibration feedback and LED backlighting.
It’s already quite rare to see a wireless mechanical keyboard, but that’s exactly what we have here. It features 5GHz wireless technology and has a range of up to 32 feet. Standby time is 40 hours and there’s a micro-USB charging port should you need to charge it while in use. There are three backlight levels, as well as vibrational force feedback to provide a better typing experience.
The keyboard looks really nice too, with a sleek TKL style design. The black or white versions of the keyboard are available right now from most major retailers with an MSRP of $79.99; it will also be available in a choice of red, yellow and blue in 2015.
Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.
Routers may not be the most exciting consumer products on the market but the latest WiFi router from Netgear is pretty darn cool if I do say so myself. The Netgear “Nighthawk” X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi router (R8000 for short) is an absolute beast of a WiFi solution. The Netgear R8000 offers six high performance antennas across three network bands: one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz offering 600 + 1400 + 1400 mbps respectively – that’s a staggering 3.2 Gbps of WiFi capability. The dual 5GHz bands means the router can allocate different types of traffic to different antennae, gaming traffic and video streams can have separate 5GHz bands for example, to optimise the overall network experience. The Netgear R8000 is powered by a dual core 1GHz processor with three additional offload processors to offer a ridiculously powerful solution. Netgear’s R8000 also supports Beamforming+ WiFi signal focusing technology and comes with a USB 3.0 storage port for easy sharing of USB 3.0 storage drives over the network. As if all that wasn’t enough Netgear also offer you VPN support with your own remote access URL gateway, an SPI and NAT double firewall and a separate pre-configured guest network. As you might expect all that power and networking prestige doesn’t come cheap, the R8000 will set you back a whopping $299.99.
When it comes to iconic computer hardware, software and peripherals, there a numerous points on the technology time-line that stand out and when we focus more closely on consumer networking, there is without a doubt only one product that stands above everything else. This is of course the blue and black WRT54G the Linksys brought to the market way back in December 2002 – that’s just over 11 years ago. What started out as a single router eventually turned out to be a one of the greatest success stories in Linksys’ history. Due to their [at the time] high levels of performance, flexibility, ease of use and much more, this line of routers has seen deployment not only in the home but all across the world in numerous different situations – be it in an office or directly out in the field. When DD-WRT came to light in later years, customisation and modification of these routers went berserk as users found multiple ways to get that bit extra from their kit – I should know as I was one of those users.
This router has made such an impression on the market and it has shown its worth so much that even today we find that some of them still in use today.
As time as moved on though and wireless technology has evolved to a point where it is now faster than Gigabit LAN, Linksys now as a part of Belkin have been working to rekindle the essence of the WRT product line and gives the world once more the ultimate wireless router that will put virtually every other product out there on the market to shame. The WRT1900AC has been born.
Earlier in the year at CES we caught a glimpse of what the new router had to offer and what is clear above all else is that Linksys want people to know that this router owes all its heritage and design to the former market leader. First things first though, just take a look at it, I mean it’s not everyday that I say that I love the look of a product so much, but when it comes to rekindling the good ol’ times, Linksys have hit the proverbial nail right on the head with this one. Not only do we get the classic blue and black plastic housing, we get a more modern twist on the design with broad angles and the image that this unit means business.
So what’s new with the WRT1900AC? Well before we even get on to the hardware side of things I have to mention the firmware. What made the WRT54G what it is today was the open source aspect of its firmware and OpenWRT was a project that was based around hacking into the original WRT lineup to introduce more power and more features into the already powerful hardware. Linksys are fully aware of this appeal and as a result they have been working very closely with OpenWRT to ensure that the 1900AC is capable of giving users the option to chose between the default firmware or to use the open source alternative.
Knowing that the WRT-Cult are going to want more from a new router, Linksys have beefed up the specification of the 1900AC to include a dual-core 1,2GHz CPU, 128MB flash memory, 256MB of DDR3 RAM, USB and eSATA ports, four Gigabit LAN and a single Gigabit WAN port, four external & replaceable antennae and on top of all that, dual-band wireless offering speeds of up to 1300Mbps 802.11ac on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps 802.11n on the 2.4GHz band. All in all we are looking at some of the best specifications on the market today.
On the software side of the router, the features keep on coming in. Out of the box the WRT1900AC ships with Linksys’ latest Smart WiFi setup and management tools, with a more intuitive and flexible user interface as well as the option to remotely manage the system from anywhere in the world through either a web interface or the optional mobile application. Other features both new and old include the ability to share connected storage devices and printers to the local network through the USB3.0 or 2.0 port or even eSATA ports, share content via FTP to external connections, Dynamic DNS setup options such as No-IP, DynDNS and TZO, various operating modes such as router / gateway / range extender or bridge, parental controls, guest networks and parental controls.
Further more there is the obvious ability as mentioned to upgrade to OpenWRT firmware where there are a host of additional features on hand, giving the WRT-Cult all the power that they want and will need for many years to come.
Whilst shipments have just started, sales of the WRT1900AC wil not commence until the 13th April with Best Buy stocking units with an MSRP of $279.99. Alternatively you can purchase the new router from Linksys directly through their online store. Now whilst the price may seem expensive; and compared to other routers it is a lot more to pay, if you’re a WRT fan and follower such as myself then this is just a small price to pay for what is likely to be the best bit of networking kit that we are likely to see all year.
Finally all I have to say is watch this space for a review where I aim to put the new WRT1900AC router to the test to see how the spirit of WRT has been reborn.
Just over a week ago I took a look at one of Netgear’s latest Smart WiFi routers to roll off the production line and into the real-world. The R6250, like many of Netgear’s latest routers, offers up the latest in WiFi technology with Gigabit wireless connections and also beamforming+ technology to ensure the connected devices get the fastest and best signal as possible. When we look at the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac – at this moment in time, there isn’t actually that many devices on the market that can connect using the AC standard. Whilst a number of devices can ‘see’ the AC networks (which run at 5GHz), in most instances they will actually be connecting through the 802.11n standard as that is the fastest they can go.
For the most part, running at wireless-n speeds is going to be fast enough for the average household and considering the fact that pretty much everything runs to this standard these days, many people don’t feel that there is a need to go that bit further. For those the do want to take things up a notch and push towards the world of Gigabit wireless, the AC standard is where the speed is. As we’ve seen recently, the routers the support AC are readily available in the market place and now we are starting to see the add-in wireless adaptors crop up too. As a result I have taken the opportunity to start testing routers that we have in for review at the new AC standard, and the A6200 wireless adaptor from Netgear is what I will be using.
When we get on to the testing stage of this review, some will note that the performance results look very similar to those found within the R6250 review and you would be right – they are. The simple reason for this is because of the router that I opted to use for the testing of this adaptor, on both the 5GHz band, but also on the 2.4GHz band. In the same way that I used this adaptor to test the R6250 router, I was also recording down the performance for the A6200 at the same time as this was the only router that I had to hand that would be able to deliver the bandwidth required.
Inside the box and alongside the wireless adaptor, Netgear include a few bits of paperwork including a quick setup guide, along with a CD with the drivers and Netgear Genie software and a USB dock come extension lead.
The A6200 is one of Netgear’s premium wireless adaptors offering up both the fastest possible speed and features.
D-Link has announced a new addition to its range of Wireless AC products, the Wireless AC1750 Simultaneous Dual-Band PoE Access Point bearing the model name DAP-2695, which has its key features set on higher traffic levels and greater performance expectations.
The DAP-2695 provides enhanced dual-band performance to deliver a more stable, secure and faster wireless connection, while having the option to configure it to work in a number of modes for added deployment options.
The flagship Wireless AC1750 Simultaneous Dual-Band PoE Access Point allows network administrators to deploy a highly manageable and extremely robust simultaneous dual-band wireless network. All six antennas are detachable and can provide optimal wireless coverage with maximum speeds of up to 450 Mbps over the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps over the 5 GHz band.
It can also be used in multiple operation modes, such as an access point, wireless distribution system (WDS) with access point, WDS/bridge or as a wireless client with WDS support. Network administrators are able to set up multiple units throughout a facility and configure them to bridge with one another while also providing network access to individual clients. As such the Wireless AC1750 Simultaneous Dual-Band PoE Access Point can be used to join networks between different buildings without the need to lay additional wiring.
The AC1750 also has advanced features embedded, such as load balancing when multiple units are deployed and it can be connected and powered with a single Ethernet cable due to its Power over Ethernet (PoE) support. Administrators have the ability to virtually pool these devices, using the D-Link AP Manager II or D-View SNMP management module to configure, check and maintain multiple access points from a single location.
D-Link’s Wireless AC1750 Simultaneous Dual-Band PoE Access Point is currently available for purchase at a price range of around £237.
IEEE 802.11ac wireless1
Up to 1300+450 Mbps1
Gigabit LAN port
Made for Business-class Environments
Simultaneous dual-band connectivity for increased network capacity
Over the last couple of years the internet has been going through a radical increase in speed and with some connections passing well over the 100Mbps mark, many people are now looking for the next generation of routers that can keep up with the high-speed connections that are on offer. As part of the connection process, every ISP (Internet Service Provider) tends to provide us with their own branded routers such as BT’s ‘Home Hub’ and Virgin’s ‘Super Hub’ (in the case of the two leading Internet providers in the UK); but let’s be honest, whilst they all claim that their wireless router is the better than everyone else’s – they’re not necessarily the best.
When I took a look at Netgear’s R6300 Wireless AC router back towards the start of the year, the performance that I experienced both on the local network and through the internet was far superior to my BT Home Hub that I was provided with – especially when I saw my connection speed to the internet go up by around 5Mbps. This is generally the same story across the board for many people. We are on the whole demanding more from our wireless routers and the ISP provided equipment is not matching our needs, so it is soon being replaced by after-market alternatives that have so much more to offer. Netgear are one such brand that is considered by many. Having been one the of the industries leading infrastructure manufacturers for many years and the consumer level products have been a major part of their business model, with high customer ratings and renowned reliability proving they are one of the best out there.
As the internet has grown to be faster and faster, Netgear have been pushing to come up with a router that not only meets the demands of today’s heavy users, but with features that are ready for the next generation of wireless devices. After many months of R&D (Research and Development), towards the start of this year, a line of dual-band Gigabit wireless was brought to market and the R6300 was one of these. Delivering super fast, dual band wireless with speeds of up to 1300Mbps across an AC connection it has soon become one of the best routers on the market. The user interface also saw a massive overhaul with all the connectivity and configuration options that the end-user may need – laid out in an intuitive design. Once you top off the package with USB port(s) for connecting printers and storage devices to, enabling them to be accessed across the network or remotely through Netgear’s ReadyShare functions, it becomes apparent that Netgear are offering a little more than your run-of-the-mill router.
Like many routers, Netgear’s package is simple and to the point. With little more than a DC power adaptor and a CAT5e Ethernet cable to connect the router to a modem needed, a simple pack of paperwork rounds off all the bits that you’ll need to get things up and running.
Imagine a scenario that I’m sure many of you already encounter. You’ve just got a lovely new high speed internet connection and as part of the package you’ve received a new ISP branded router that promises to offer the best wireless coverage of any internet provider that spreads to every corner of the globe (slight exaggeration may be found here). You feel chuffed by this but soon after you’ve got everything set up, you soon start to realise that the coverage is not as great as you was expecting.
This is something that many people experience and soon after moaning at the ISP for false advertising with their routers signal, they realise that it’s not so much a fault with the equipment but more a case that the wireless signal is not able to penetrate through the walls and floors due to the type of construction or materials used to build the house. Concrete, bricks and metal work for example are all items that wireless signals hate. My home as I’ve mentioned before is a typical example of this. Having solid brick walls all over the place is bad news for me when I’m trying to get online from the front of the house. Whilst there is a signal there, the speed that I experience has dropped considerably and when I’m trying to use interactive services on my TV, the poor signal has an effect on the QoS (Quality of Service) that I experience.
One option is to setup a powerline, but not only are these more targetted for wired devices, but they require two plugs and a little extra cost to get everything going. I’m not ruling them out as I think that they are fantastic bits of kit, so much so that we use them in the office and I use them at home. For wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets, ultrabooks and so on, they really need the strength of the signal to be boosted and consequently we find items such as the RP-N53 Range Expander from Asus come in to play.
Need Wi-Fi speeds to be much faster than what you get now? There’s a good chance we can see that happen!!
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that they’ve announced plans to free up 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz Band for ‘unlicensed use’. However this topic is something dripping with controversy as this frequency is used by many government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Even though these agencies have criticized the plan to free up 195MHz in the 5GHz band, FCC’s chairman Julius Genachowski has said that Wi-Fi congestion is a real and growing problem.
“Like licensed spectrum, demand for unlicensed spectrum threatens to outpace supply. The core challenge is the dramatically increased use of wireless devices, which require spectrum.
This additional spectrum will increase speeds and alleviate Wi-Fi congestion at major hubs, such as airports, convention centers and large conference gatherings. In addition, this would also increase speed and capacity for Wi-Fi in the home where multiple users and devices are often on the network at the same time. Because the 5GHz band is already used for other purposes by both federal and non-federal users, the effort will require significant consultation with stakeholders to enable non-interfering shared use of the spectrum. But consultation can’t be an excuse for inaction or delay.”
However, in another corner, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are currently working on a project to resolve the spectrum dispute between government agencies and companies by working on a modified framework to allow spectrum sharing.
The agency added,”Balancing national security requirements of radars and military networks with the growing bandwidth demands of commercial wireless data networks calls for innovative approaches to managing spectrum access.”
As of now, devices operate on the 555MHz spectrum in the 5GHz band which is usually used in short/local range.
On the same subject, the FCC also filed a formal approval for allowing wireless booster devices that are very useful in buildings, stadiums, airports, hospitals or tunnels where you wouldn’t normally get strong signals on your devices.