We all use WiFi at some point, be it at work or at home, we rely on the technology to avoid the miles and miles of cables that we would overwise have to plug and unplug every time we wanted to grab a drink or watch a movie on Netflix. Researchers may have developed a way to accurately calculate distance through WiFi, a feature that could see wireless communications made more secure and controlled.
Researchers from MIT’s CSAIL team managed to achieve the feat using just a single router by measuring the “time of flight” for the WiFi signals between both the transmitter and receiving components, with a margin of error of just 0.5 nanoseconds, 20 times more accurate that other systems. Once the time was calculated they multiplied it by the speed of light, resulting in the distance between people and their wireless routers.
Using a four room apartment as an example, the researchers managed to locate the correct room for a user 94% of the time. Not stopping there the researchers took the technology to a cafe and managed to track down if someone was within the cafe with a 97% accuracy. Not stopping at wireless routers the technique was then applied to a drone, restricting the distance of the drone from the operator with an error margin of just 2-inches.
With the ability to limit or restrict access to a network by a user’s distance, public networks, and drones could be made more secure and with greater control of who, and where, people can access the systems.
TP-Link is one of the largest routers manufacturers, offering hardware choices to people all over the world. Libre Planet, however, found that they may also be the first to start locking down their firmware, their evidence being the support conversation that shows TP-Link are starting to lock down the installation of open source and custom firmware on their devices.
TP-Link state that they are doing this in order to comply with FCC regulations regarding customizations on wireless routers, the very thing we were told wouldn’t happen! The result could be that third-party software, many of which are open-source, would become illegal if you attempted to place them on your router, something many do due to the support, features and quick security updates often found in open source software.
Do you customise your router’s software? Do you think it’s a good idea for people to be able to do this or is it a better idea to ensure everyone uses the same software?
Popular network hardware manufacturer TP-Link have stated that they will be preventing their users from loading open source firmware such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT onto its routers sold in the United States as part of a move to comply with new Federal Communications Commission regulations.
The rule laid out by the FCC aim to limit the amount of interference with devices, by disallowing user modifications to wireless networking hardware that causes it to operate outside of licensed radio frequency limits. The FCC do not intend to deliberately ban the use of third-party router firmware from use entirely, theoretically allowing router manufacturers to permit the installation of this firmware provided there are controls in place that block devices from operating outside of their specified frequencies, power levels and types of modulation.
With locking out custom firmware being the easiest way to ensure the new FCC regulations were upheld, the open source community feared that this would be the action taken by manufacturers. In this case, they were right.
In all TP-Link routers produced on and after June 2, 2016, TP-Link’s changes will mean that “users are not able to flash the current generation of open-source, third-party firmware.” They also stated that “excited to see the creative ways members of the open-source community update the new firmware to meet their needs.” However, they did not provide any further information as to what would allow future versions of custom firmware to be installed on these routers.
Other router makers are yet to release explicit statements regarding their plans to enforce the FCC’s new rules on their routers would be, however, it is easy to imagine many taking a similar route. Even if custom firmware developers were to rewrite their software, there would be no real assurance that it obeys the restrictions without making the radio controlling software entirely separate so there can be assurance it was not tampered with.
Tenda might be a company that is mostly known for the entry-level products at lower speeds, but they also got some top of the line devices that easily can compete with anything else on the market. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tenda AC15 which is an AC1900 Smart Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi router.
Tenda designed the AC15 with the smart home in mind and as such the router brings a lot of features that can make your everyday digital life a lot easier. Starting with the dual-band AC1900 technology we know that we have a strong router in our hands that will deliver some of the best possible wireless network speeds. The AC15 also features beamforming technology that helps to boost the range of the high-powered amplifiers and external antennas.
The AC1900 standard defines a total speed capability of the router up to 1900Mbps where it is capable of delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently. The Beamforming+ technology helps to achieve the best connection with each device as it locks onto a device’s location and strengthens the signal in that direction rather than blasting it equally in every direction.
The router is equipped with 3 external dual band antennas with a 3dBi strength. Sadly the antennas aren’t replaceable, at least not without taking the unit apart, but they should offer plenty of performance for small to mid-sized homes.
Tenda built the AC15 router around a Broadcom dual-core processor and equipped it with DDR3 memory, but the specifications page does not reveal which exact processor nor how much memory it has. That might, however, be something we can find out through the user interface or by opening it up.
Next to the obligatory WAN port, Tenda equipped the AC15 router with three more Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired network devices. It also features a USB 3.0 port for easy storage and printer connections which then can be shared to any device that you want via your network. This also allows you to create a personal cloud system and that’s even an easy task to do thanks to Tenda’s personal cloud system. We’ll have a close look at that when we got to the user interface.
There is an ever-increasing concern what effect WiFi signals can have on us humans and it’s better to be on the safe side than sorry. Whether this is a concern to you or not, the Healthy e-life functions in the router allow you to dim the LEDs as well as turn the WiFi signal on and off by a user defined schedule. Why should you be bothered by blinking lights and wireless signals when you aren’t home or asleep. Might as well turn it off, which also saves on the electricity bill.
The initial setup and further configuration of Tenda’s AC15 is a breeze as you can do it from any device, whether it’s wired or wireless. You can either use the easy web setup wizard or use the available Tenda apps. Once setup, you have a powerful wireless router that supports IPTV, VPN, FTP, DDNS and DLNA among others.
Ultimate 11ac speed of up to 1900Mbps, delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently.
Broadcom dual-core processor with DDR3 memory for multi-client with responsive performance and fast speed.
Beamforming+ technology boosts range for the 802.11ac WiFi devices.
High powered amplifiers and three external antennas for whole-home coverage.
USB3.0 for personal secure cloud and printer sharing.
Smart managements of WiFi schedule, LED indicator and power saving all are for your healthy E-life.
Package and Accessories
The retail package for the Tenda AC15 router is a beautiful full-coloured one. The front teases the features and the units design with its eye-catching and bright design.
The rear of the box has some more information on the routers usage scenarios as well as more information about the features.
The full network specifications can be found on the side of the box, so you know what you get before you make the purchase.
The router itself is wrapped with a plastic cover to protect it from scratches. There’s also an extra SSID and password sticker on the plastic which you can remove and place somewhere else for safe keeping.
There’s an install guide, GNU license notice, and a wireless standard certification included, but the last two are more for legal reasons.
Besides the router and the manuals, we also find a power adapter, an RJ45 LAN cable and the foot for the router inside the box.
Tenda just announced the availability on their newest router called the F3 and while it might look a little weird to begin with, it certainly does have its benefits. The Tenda F3 is a slim and low-profile 2.4GHz 300Mbps router which might not sound like much when compared to flagship routers that come with all the bells and whistles attached, but it does have its benefits.
The 2.4 GHz band might not sport the high gigabit speeds you can get off the 5 GHz band, but it does have a much better coverage and allows you to reach the furthest corners of your home without dead zones. Tenda amplified this feature by equipping the router with three external 5dBi antennas that can achieve a full coverage of a 200 square meter home.
The router is advertised as a mainstream router thanks its basic wireless features and low price of just $24.99 USD, but I see it more as the perfect router for the home of tomorrow and powered with all sorts of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Networking your home appliances and connecting them requires a great connectivity that is both just stable and also covers each and every corner of your home. You need to be able to prioritize traffic and assign bandwidth limitations to make sure your vital IoT devices have uninterrupted and lag-free connections, and Tenda’s router OS has all the features for this built right into the easy-to-use interface.
Naturally, the router will be just as great for sharing your internet connection among all your PCs, smartphones, TVs, and what other devices you might have. The only downside is really the 100 Mbps LAN and WAN ports, but that can easily be rectified by adding a simple Gbps switch between your systems and the router.
Antenna: 3x5dBi external undetachable antennas
Power Consumption: 1.9W(no load)~3.3W(full-load)
Power Supply: DC 9V 600mA
LED: SYS, WiFi, LAN(1-3), WAN, T, WPS
Interface: 10/100M auto-negotiation WAN port ; 3*10/100M auto-negotiation LAN ports
ASUS are a well-known brand for technology, creating everything from laptops to gaming mice. One thing people may not realise is that ASUS are also a maker of wireless technology, something that has unfortunately gotten them into trouble in the past.
ASUS, a Taiwanese manufacturer of hardware, once stated that their devices could “protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking and virus attacks”. This is something you should never say, for anything, especially computer security. As a result of this, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) found several flaws in their routers security, some of which were described as critical.
Using the security flaws, it would have been possible that people could gain unauthorised access to the web based control panels, granting you access to information regarding the wireless network and the possibility to even install viruses or malware directly to the router.
This history of bad security should change now though with ASUS agreeing to the FTC’s condition that it subject itself to biannually security audits of its software, while also notifying its users when the latest update is available. It will also cost them in the future if they decide to make another “promise” which turns out to be false, with each violation costing them a staggering $16,000.
Linksys recently revealed their new line of MAX-STREAM devices capable of Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output technology (MU-MIMO) and now they have announced the first of the units becoming available. The newly available router is the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500).
The MU-MIMO technology helps to ensure uninterrupted Wi-Fi connectivity to all the devices in the home and it functions as if multiple devices have their own dedicated router. That way you will have less lag or interruptions which are especially important when streaming 4K content. The increased bandwidth needed to stream this resolution requires a great connection at all times which the EA7500 should deliver.
Hardware wise the EA7500 is built around a Qualcomm IPQ 1.4GHz dual-core processor and naturally comes with the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO Wi-Fi standard. It is an AC1900 router with up to 600Mbps on the legacy 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band. It also comes with four Gigabit ethernet LAN ports for the wired connections and one Gigabit WAN port next to the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.
The three external and adjustable antennas should provide maximum coverage in your home while you can manage and monitor your network and easily control Wi-Fi devices remotely on a smartphone with the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app. The router features the WPA and WPA2 encryption standards that are the default and also comes with an SPI firewall to help keep your network safe.
“If you have or are planning to purchase a 4K TV you will need a Max-Stream router to ensure you have a seamless 4K online streaming experience,” said Justin Doucette, director product management, Linksys. “A single stream of 4K content takes a minimum of 20 Mbps to maintain a consistent stream, and when you combine that with multiple streams plus normal Wi-Fi use from gaming, internet surfing, IoT connectivity and music streaming, it adds up fast. Max-Stream will enable multiple streams of Wi-Fi to occur so users can have the ultimate 4K and networking experience.”
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500) is available now and comes with an MSRP of £149.99 ($199.00 USD).
Linksys was the first company to launch a fully functional MU-MIMO router last May and now they’re ready with four more devices in the new MAX-STREAM MU-MIMO series: Two routers, one range extender, and a USB adapter. The new Linksys MAX-STREAM lineup leverages the next generation of Wi-Fi with Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output technology (MU-MIMO). This helps to ensure uninterrupted Wi-Fi connectivity to all the devices in the home and function as if multiple devices have their own dedicated router.
“Our new line-up of Linksys MU-MIMO solutions provide the networking backbone to allow consumers to enjoy high-performance and simultaneous Wi-Fi, including speed, range, and coverage”, said Justin Doucette, director of product management, Linksys. “With the rise of 4K streaming and the growth of MU-MIMO clients, having the latest MU-MIMO technology is the best way to ensure users get the best Wi-Fi experience possible.”
The first new router is the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500) and we stay with the basics here. The EA7500 features a Qualcomm IPQ 1.4GHz dual-core processor and naturally comes with the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO Wi-Fi standard. It is an AC1900 router with up to 600Mbps on the legacy 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band. It features four Gigabit ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port next to the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500) has an expected availability in February 2016 and has an MSRP of £149.99.
The second router takes the whole thing to the next level as it is a tri-band AC5400 router. The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 tri-band Wi-Fi router with MU-MIMO (EA9500) is also powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, but it has an extra 5GHz band and kicks the speed up another notch. The EA9500 can provide up to 1000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 2166 Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands.
The EA9500 doesn’t just take the Wi-Fi speeds to another level, it does the same with the connectivity. The EA9500 has eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and one Gigabit WAN port next to the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port. It also features a setup with eight external antennas for maximum coverage on all three bands.
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO (EA9500) has a planned launch date of April 2016 and an MSRP of £329.99.
Even with the best routers at hand, your coverage can be insufficient based on the simple real estate that it has to cover and that is where range extenders come into play. Linksys MAX-STREAM series also got one of these available and it is the AC1900+ MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE7000). The combination of a MAX STREAM router and range extender creates a single network in the home with a single network name (SSID) so users can roam throughout their home without having to manually connect to the range extender. It also features Linksys’ Spot Finder Technology to show users where to place the range extender using a mobile device, Crossband Technology to maximizes the simultaneous use of both bands, and Beamforming to focus the signal. It can work as both a repeater and access point and also features a Gigabit ethernet port.
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900+ MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE7000) ha a planned availability set for spring 2016 and an MSRP of £129.99.
The last of the four new MAX-STREAM devices fills the final gap in the network by being a USB adapter for your system. The Linksys AC600 is a simple USB Adapter, but it is the first MU-MIMO-enabled adapter on the market. It supports AC Wave 2 with MU-MIMO (AC433 + N150) and beamforming while connecting through a default USB 2.0 port.
The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC600 USB MU-MIMO Adapter (WUSB6100M) has the same spring 2016 availability planned and an MSRP of £39.99.
Linksys is one of the biggest manufacturers of routers and network equipment in general, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a more devices as well as room for improvement on the current lineup. Linksys’ new modem router is the X6200 and it is a combined cable and ADSL/VDSL dual-band WiFi model.
The Linksys X6200 supports pretty much any connection you can have from static RJ45-based over cable to DSL connections and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if you could use the included USB 2.0 port to attach a 3G/4G/LTE modem too. While it can connect to pretty much any type of internet connection, the built-in cable modem might be the selling point for this router. The internet connection speed has gone up and up, but a lot of cable modems lack the capability to handle the fast speeds your provider is selling you, which in return means that you’ll get a worse experience than you should.
“There is a lack of knowledge when it comes to cable modems. Consumers have cable modems or gateways that don’t match the cable broadband subscriptions they are paying for – thus getting slower speeds and frustrating experiences,” said Justin Doucette, director of product management, Linksys.
The Linksys X6200 isn’t the fastest wireless router, but the speeds of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 433Mbps on the 5GHz band should be sufficient for any internet usage. The modem router also features four RJ45 LAN ports for that direct Gigabit Ethernet connection that will provide you with the best connection. As previously mentioned, the X6200 also features a USB 2.0 port that can turn your USB drive into a network attached storage device.
The new Linksys X6200 modem router will be available in March 2016 for an MSRP of £79.99 and also has more advanced features such as parental control and guest access.
One VDSL/ADSL2/2+ port, Annex A – RJ-11 port
One Gigabit WAN port with auto MDI/MDIX sensing (RJ-45) for Router functionality
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
One USB 2.0 port
Supports VPN pass-through with IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP
Supports logging for incoming and outgoing traffic
DHCP server for LAN
Supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
IPv4/IPv6 dual-stack support
DSL Modem supports ITU G992.5 ADSL2+ Annex A, L, and M and VDSL G.993.1 and ITU G.993.2 standards
At the same time as Linksys introduced us to this new modem router, they also announced an expansion of DD-WRT support among their existing routers. The support now includes the WRT1900AC, WRT1200AC, and recently released WRT1900ACS Dual-band Gigabit Wi-Fi routers.
When you pick the router you want to own, you can either pick an ordinary router for your setup or a great one if you want just a little more. But there is also a third option and you have the choice to go for something extraordinary. Today I’m taking a closer look a router from the last category as I’m having D-Link’s impressive DIR-890L AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router in my testing area.
The DIR-890L brings impressive performance via three bands instead of the normal two bands, and it also comes packed in a stylish design with six antennas for maximum range, coverage, and speed. D-Link’s DIR-890L has a futuristic kind of design that somewhat resembles a drone or spaceship. A lot of the times this kind of designs can go too far, but D-Link seems to have nailed it and hit just the right spot between normal, futuristic, functionality, and design. It looks great!
We get more and more smart devices in our homes and that is something that increases exponentially the more people live in the household. We have smart TVs, smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, computers, and much more. All of these need an internet connection through our one and only entry and exit point, the router, which means that we quickly can reach limits around the available bandwidth and channels, and we experience bottlenecks and lag.
Traditional routers have a 2.4GHz band for up to 600Mbps throughput that is suited for surfing, emails, and instant messaging as well as the newer 5GHz band that has a little less range but a lot more performance. D-Link added one more on top of that in the DIR-890L AC3200 router, they added a third band. The third band is another 5GHz band, freeing up some space on the first one by balancing the connections out. It also prevents slower connected devices from bottlenecking the band from faster ones. Each of the 5GHz bands has a maximum throughput of 1300Mbps which gives the DIR-890L a total wireless throughput of 3200Mbps. Effectively this is like three routers in one.
As mentioned above, not all wireless bands are the same, but that isn’t something you need to worry about with this router. The Smart Connect Technology allows the router to choose from the three Wi-Fi bands and automatically connect each device on the network to the best and clearest band available at the time of connection.
The Smart Connect feature is awesome as it manages everything itself and removes any worry from the user’s end what band to pick and choose from. You can still choose to use each band separately with their own individual SSID name and password settings should you wish to do so.
D-Link gave the DIR-890L six antennas and the router features beam-forming technology to improve coverage. With this technology, the router can direct the bandwidth in the direction of the devices connected and thereby give you a better overall connection experience whether you stream your movies, Skype with friends, or play online games.
The six antennas are adjustable in almost all directions, except down. So unless you want to place it upside down, then you can’t have it look like a spider on six legs as some of you probably already imagined. It is not something I would recommend doing as it would place the vents upward and allow for more dust to settle inside the router. You sadly can’t replace the antennas with aftermarket ones on the Ultra AC3200 and that might be a downside for some people.
The router naturally also features wired connections and not just wireless ones, although the wireless features are the selling point in this router along with the great hardware base. You get one WAN port for the internet connection and four Gigabit Ethernet ports for your LAN. The DIR-890L also comes with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for file sharing from external storage drives or creating a network printing environment from your old USB-based printer. The D-Link share port allows all this with ease and also allows you to use the built-in DLNA server and stream to compatible devices.
D-Link also packed the router full of useful software features such as parental controls, blocking of unwanted devices, internet activity monitoring, and Wi-Fi guest networks. Intelligent Traffic Prioritization selects the fastest Wi-Fi for every device and prevents older devices from affecting optimal performance. VPN setup and all common features such as NAT and port forwarding aren’t a problem for the DIR-890L either.
There are a lot more features, but we’ll see them on the following pages when we take a look at the user interface and options. If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.
If all that shouldn’t be enough, or you just don’t like the interface for some reason and would like something else, then you can flash the router with DD-WRT, the open-source router firmware. The D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router should be fully compatible with the open source Linux-based router operating system.
All this requires some power to run and that comes from a 1GHz dual-core processor that has no trouble keeping up the data packets for your gaming sessions or 4K media streaming. Speaking of 4K media streaming, the DIR-890L is a Nvidia GameStream-Ready product and certified for optimal compatibility with the newly released Nvidia Shield 4K Android TV Console.
Packaging and Accessories
A Premium router also needs a premium package, and the D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router has that. The huge box has a premium finish and is made from thick cardboard. The outside has a full-colour print with the router itself and the name on the front.
The rear of the box displays the main feature highlights in a graphical way, easy to see, read, and understand.
It isn’t just a folded box around an inlay either, but a real box where you lift the cover up.
Inside you see the beautiful router right away, safely secured and with the accessories packed in the boxes on either side.
Inside is a power cord, AC power adapter, and an RJ45 LAN cable to connect your new router.
There’s also a beautiful Quick Install Guide to help you get started, a configuration card with all the default settings and room to write you own as well as an extra sticker with the defaults for you to place where it is convenient.
Synology has a long experience producing network attached storage and surveillance devices so it was just a matter of time before they expanded into more similar areas. They got the knowhow and the expertise to do so and today I’m taking a closer look at their first router, the Synology Router RT1900ac Wireless Gigabit Ethernet router.
Let us first have a look at the basic hardware specifications. The Synology RT1900ac is built around a powerful dual-core CPU with a 1GHz clock speed and it comes with 256MB DDR3 memory. The dual-band 802.11ac wireless router can transfer with up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It is equipped with three external and replaceable MIMO omni-directional high-gain dipole antennas with 3.5 dBi for the 2.4GHz band and 4.6 dBi for the 5GHz band.
With a hardware base like that, you don’t need to worry about lags or bottlenecks. The RT1900ac has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, all located on the rear in-between the three antenna mounts. The RT1900ac features a power button which is a nice thing to see on a router and while it isn’t a feature that is used a lot, it is great to have when needed.
Both the wired and wireless network connections will benefit from Synology’s bandwidth prioritization and network traffic control system that allows you to prioritize the important traffic such as your games. After all, you will always want to have the lowest latency that will give you that extra edge on the virtual battlefield. But that doesn’t mean that the Synology RT1900ac only is good for gaming, it is also awesome for streaming. You can enjoy buffer-free playback of your 4K movies when streaming them to your media devices around the house.
You don’t even need other devices in order to stream your favourite movies, shows, or music to your smart TVs and audio systems as the RT1900ac is DLNA compatible and comes with both a USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. You can also use it to stream from other network storage locations should you not want to use the direct storage features.
The access to connected devices isn’t just limited to media streaming. You can share any files on a USB storage drive or SD card (SDXC) via the Synology RT1900ac and access the contents from anywhere as well as share files with family, friends, and coworkers. The RT1900 supports all the common protocols such as SMB, AFP, FTP, or WebDAV. Whether you use a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android, or an iOS device, you’ll have access to it all.
As mentioned, Synology has quite some experience within the network area and they naturally created a great operating system for their new router. The new operating system is called Synology Router Manager (SRM) and it includes both basic and advanced tools such as VPN support, RADIUS server, and more.
The operating system is very similar to DSM, Synology’s NAS operating system, and comes with the same user-friendly interface and multi-task abilities. You can also go beyond the basic and pre-installed features and download more functions through the Package Center. Transform your router into a personal VPN server, professional RADIUS authentication server, 24/7 download hub or make it into your multimedia hub. The choice is yours.
We have seen two out of four sides on the new Synology Router RT1900ac so far and below is the third side where we also find features to highlight – there is something everywhere on this router. On this side we find a button to turn the Wi-Fi completely off and back on again for when it isn’t needed. There is a growing concern among some people who fear that exposure to wireless signals of all sort can affect us and those people, and everyone else too, have the ability to easy switch the wireless signals on and off depending on when they are needed.
Next to the Wi-Fi on-off switch we find the WPS button for easy connectivity between the router and other devices. A simple touch of the button on both devices and they will pair with each other and establish a connection. No need to search for the correct Wi-Fi network among all the possible ones and no need to enter any complicated passwords.
There is one more thing that I haven’t shown you yet and that is located right on the front of the router, around the corner from the USB port and SD card slot, and it is the one button that I have been missing on every single device with these ports since they came into existence. A hardware eject button. Simply press the button and the operating system will safely unmount the drive and make it ready for safe ejection. This is so much easier than having to log into an administration interface just to press a button to eject the drive.
Now that we’ve seen what the Synology Router RT1900ac is all about, it is time to mount the antennas and get a closer look at them. The squared antennas look out of the norm and fit well with the router. Synology also added smart Beamforming technology that lets the RT1900ac focus wireless signals toward up to six simultaneous devices and thereby increase the range, reduce the latency, and economize the power consumption.
Synology packed the Router RT1900ac with quite a few great features such as application layer quality of service (QoS) that lets you see how much bandwidth is consumed by individual applications and devices and then lets you restrict the amount of bandwidth the device or application is allowed to use. It also comes with parental controls such as time scheduling for individual devices as well as intelligent and manual web filtering.
Synology also added support for their QuickConnect service which makes remote control and access as easy as the local. Just register a unique and customizable QuickConnect ID, and you’ll to be able to log in to Synology Router Manager, access connected storage devices, and do much more from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Packaging and Accessories
Synology packed the RT1900ac in a simple brown box which is all that is needed. It has a sticker on the front showcasing the router itself and its feature highlights.
The rear side of the box has another sticker with a few more details and the device’s specifications and usage scenario as well as what the package contains.
Inside the package is a power adapter with connection options for the region where you purchased the device, in this case there is a UK and a slim-EU plug included. There are also three high-gain antennas and the extra stand in case you should want to have it in an upright position.
D-Link announced the availability of the newest member in the Ultra-series Wi-Fi routers, the D-Link DIR-885L/R AC3150 UItra Wi-Fi Router. The new router follows the same design as the rest of routers in the ultra-series and it looks really sweet if you ask me.
It isn’t just the optics of the DIR-885 that’s different, so is its performance and capabilities. The DIR-885 is a 4×4 multiple-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) router that delivers up to 1000Mbps on the legacy 2.4GHz band and up to 2165 Mbps on the newer 5GHz band for a total of 3165 Mbps wireless performance. The router is naturally also equipped with WAN and LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as USB ports for file and printer sharing.
Beam forming technology further helps with the range and throughput when connected to the DIR-885 whereas the SmartConnect technology automatically allocates the best possible band for optimal Wi-Fi performance when a device connects. An intelligent QoS was also added for traffic optimization.
The DIR-885 is built around a 1.4GHz dual-core processor which is quite a bit more than we usually see. Most routers is a CPU clocked around 1GHz.
Naturally the DIR-885 comes with the same great features as other D-Link routers such as parental controls, basic firewall functions, scheduling, and much more including D-Link’s SharePort technology for even more usage out of your USB connected devices.
11AC Wi-Fi Dual Band Connectivity – Speeds up to 2167 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band for maximum throughput with less Wi-Fi interference
4×4 Data Streams – Supports four data streams for increased throughput
1.4GHz Dual Core Processor – Faster network speed for a more powerful router
MU-MIMO Ready – High-bandwidth Wi-Fi signal to multiple devices at the same time
SmartConnect – Allocates the best possible band for optimal Wi-Fi performance
High Power Antennas – provide wider coverage throughout your home
Intelligent QoS – Traffic optimization delivers seamless performance for your applications
USB 3.0 Port – Speeds up to 10x faster than USB 2.0
The AC3150 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-885L/R) is available now for a suggested retail price of $279.99. Not a cheap price, but this isn’t an ordinary router either.
TP-Link’s smart wireless router with a touchscreen is now available and the Touch P5 is unlike other routers. You can control all the features without the use of PCs or smart devices, directly on the router via the 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. A sweet extra function that can come in handy.
The Touch P5 features four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one WAN port besides the AC1900 WiFi connection. The three antennas and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band provide a great connectivity for lag free gaming and 4K video streaming alike.
The router features both guest networks and parental control as well as USB sharing. The powerful 1GHz dual core processor inside should provide plenty of power to run all this simultaneously. The Touch P5 was designed as a versatile unit and it can act as a router, repeater, or access point.
With its clean, user-friendly design, The Touch P5’s display interface provides an ideal portal through which to quickly access and manage your network settings. Now you can modify parental controls, add/remove devices from your network, and change guest access privileges with a few taps on your router’s display. For added functionality, the touchscreen display can also function as a clock, when not in use.
TP-Link’s Touch P5 routers are now available at the TP-LINK store and other major retailers. It features a 2-year limited warranty and 24/7 tech support. The MSRP is set for $204.99 which isn’t all bad considering you get the best available Wi-Fi along with a fancy touchscreen for control.
TP-Link also released a new video showcasing the router in a setup environment.
This video below was the first time we got a view on the TP-Link Touch P5 back in May 2015.
Up to 600,000 ARRIS cable modems could be vulnerable to hacks via a “backdoor in the backdoor”, according to security researcher Bernardo Rodrigues. Rodrigues, who works as a vulnerability tester for the Globo TV network in Brazil, revealed on his blog that he had “found a previously undisclosed backdoor on ARRIS cable modems, affecting many of their devices including [the] TG862A, TG862G, [and] DG860A [models].” After extending his search, Rodrigues found that up to 600,000 ARRIS modems could be affected by the vulnerability.
Using the default username and password of “root” and “arris”, respectively, Rodrigues was able to SSH through a hidden HTTP admin interface, where he found a system-spawned ‘mini_cli’ shell which, given the right password, would allow him into a restricted technician shell. Rodrigues cracked the ARRIS password of the day, which was generated via the last five digits of the modem’s serial number.
Rodrigues even built a Puma5 Toolchain ARMEB to help demonstrate how the backdoor operates, which he has kindly hosted on Github. He has reported how he accessed the “backdoor in the backdoor” to the vendor, which asked that he not reveal the algorithm he used to generate the password of the day. He waited until the issue had been fixed before posting his exposé. It took 65 days for the vulnerability to be corrected.
Back in September, the US Federal Communications Commission revealed proposals for new laws governing software requirements for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, the draft for which suggested that the government agency could outlaw router hacking, like flashing the device with third-party firmwares DD-WRT, Tomato, and OpenWRT.
The FCC has now spoken out regarding the proposed rules, specifically the section asking router manufacturers to explain “how [its] device is protected from ‘flashing’ and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT”.
There we have it: no ban on router hacking. Knapp, however, does acknowledge how misleading the previous draft may have been, writing, “today we released a revision to that guidance to clarify that our instructions were narrowly-focused on modifications that would take a device out of compliance.”
He adds, “The revised guidance now more accurately reflects our intent in both the U-NII rules as well as our current rulemaking, and we hope it serves as a guidepost for the rules as we move from proposal to adoption.”
“Describe, if the device permits third-party software or firmware installation, what mechanisms are provided by the manufacturer to permit integration of such functions while ensuring that the RF parameters of the device cannot be operated outside its authorization for operation in the U.S. In the description include what controls and/or agreements are in place with providers of third-party functionality to ensure the devices’ underlying RF parameters are unchanged and how the manufacturer verifies the functionality.”
It has been about five months since we first saw Synology’s take on a router during our visit at Computex and it already won the Computex Best Choice Golden Award at that time. This awesome little router can also be yours now as Synology announced the official release and global availability on the Router RT1900ac.
Synology has a long experience with network connected devices, so the move into the router market seems a logical one and it is also one that makes me hope that they’ll release smart switches for home users in the future. The RT1900ac Synology Router is equipped with a dual-core 1GHz processor and comes with 256MB DDR memory. The 3×3 MIMO omnidirectional antennas support both the 2.4GHz band with 3.5dBi and the 5GHz band with 4.dBi, quite a bit more than the average 5dBi combined antennes often found in routers. This should ensure great connectivity for wireless devices.
The RT1900ac has four Gigabit RJ45 LAN ports and one WAN port on the rear where it also features a power button, something that’s often forgotten on routers.
The WAN port supports Dynamic IP, Static IP, and PPPoE and the router is IPv6 ready for both the server and client side. IGMP snooping, UPnP, port triggers, DMZ, and VPN are all included so you’ll find all the features you want from a router.
On the right side, it features a USB 3.0 port and a SD card slot for direct storage attachment as well as a multitude of other options. The RT1900ac only features this one USB port, which could be to little for some people considering what you can use it for. First there naturally is the ability to connect external storage devices and share the content with everyone who has access to the router, but it can also be used for network connected printers as well as 3G/4G/LTE USB modems. With all these abilities, it seems a bit low with just one port.
A really nice feature added by Synology is the eject button located on the front. This is something that I have been missing on headless units such as routers and NAS devices for many years. Pressing the button will unmount the connected storage, USB or SD card, and allow for a secure removal of the storage.
The left side of the router features a Wi-Fi on and off switch as well as a WPS button for quick and easy connection of new devices to your wireless network.
Speaking of wireless network, the Synology RT1900ac features IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac connectivity with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band simultaneously. The router features beamforming, scheduled Wi-Fi access, and can maintain up to 70 connected devices and supports at least 40 connected devices that are concurrently transmitting data.
A new product series also needs a new operating system and Synology created the Synology Router Manager (SRM) that includes advanced traffic tools that surpass the common router. With the Network Center application, you can limit bandwidth consumption, block malicious content, and fine-tune how data travels through your home or office network.
You get a download station, media server, and radius server too along with more possibilities through add-ons, this router really seems to have it all.
The router and all connected devices are easily accessible from everywhere thanks to Synology’s quick connect DDNS feature and the mobile iOS and Android apps. It supports all common file formats, so it’s also compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS systems.
The Synology RT1900ac is currently listed for sale starting at €154.65, which is a really nice price for a router in this category and even more considering the functions, features, and abilities it brings along.
We currently have the Synology RT1900ac here in the network test area and will have a full review of the router available for you shortly.
So we’ve all had those periods where we come home and think our stuff has been moved around, you know when you think you’ve put your keys down beside the door and you find them on the sitting room table. Now imagine that you came home and found that some of your technology has had its settings changed, and most worryingly the technology in question is your router, the central point for all your devices to enter the world wide web. Turns out this happened to Joe Giron when he found out that his router had its settings changed on the 28th September.
Joe Giron told the BBC that he had discovered that some settings, not any settings, but the admin settings on his personal router had been changed. After the device was changed it began to send web browsing data to an internet address, clearly for a malicious reason.
The router in question is one of Netgear’s, a known brand all around the world. Netgear has accepted that the vulnerability that Giron was affected by is “serious” but will affect less than 5,000 devices.
The problem is the data that was changed was the domain name server setting, normally set to your web providers or in this case Google’s. The DNS transforms web addresses into formats which computers can understand, most commonly a form of IP address. With control over these settings it’s not only possible to track visited sites but also redirect the user to whichever site you want.
It has been confirmed by Netgear that an update to deal with this issue will be released on the 14th October. Affected users will be prompted to update their firmware if they log into their admin settings or have the Netgear genie app installed on any connected device.
Linksys already had a pretty impressive router in their WRT1900AC router and now they are ready with an upgrade to that model called the WRT1900ACS. The router keeps the same design and shape, but Linksys gave the hardware inside an impressive update.
The CPU is now a 1.6GHz Marvell dual-core chip where the old model only had a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The RAM was doubled from the previous model and the new WRT1900ACS features 512MB DDR3 RAM as well as 120MBB flash memory for the firmware.
The WRT1900ACS is fully OpenWRT compatible, allowing you to customize the firmware to your liking, that is if you don’t like the one that it’s already shipping with. With more CPU power, more RAM, and more storage space, you got even more possibilities to create the perfect router setup for yourself.
The rest of the features stay the same. You get four external high-performance antennas with beamforming technology, a USB 3.0 port for storage and a combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port for printers, storage, and other legacy devices. There are four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port for the wired connections while the wireless part can perform with up to 1300Gbps on the 5GHz and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
“We just made the best performing Linksys AC1900 router even better,” said Mike Chen, vice president product management and engineering for Linksys. “We are committed to making the Linksys WRT lineup the most advanced and best-in-class router line for the prosumer so they can get more out of the network they use in their home and office environment. We improved on the original WRT1900AC because we were able to incorporate better components such as a faster processor to make the router perform at higher clock speeds and providing more RAM for advanced users. Adding more memory enables our customers to build more off the open source platform as well as enabling us to provide more enhancements in firmware as we innovate and create more features.”
For today’s review I am taking the TP-Link Archer VR900AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router for a spin in our test area to see how well it performs, it surely sounds like a great device. While the Archer VR900 looks very similar to the Archer C9 that we reviewed not long ago, it’s quite the different device and it also sports some general improvements over the C9.
Most noticeable is the built-in modem that allows you to connect it directly to your phone line when using that sort of connection. There is no need to keep the old modem around and couple a router on the back of it in order to gain the features and functionality you want; The Archer VR900 does it all. It supports all current ADSL as well as VDSL formats right out of the box.
TP-Link didn’t just stop after adding the DSL modem to the VR900, they also made sure that it will work with pretty much any connection. At some point, and as it becomes available in more and more regions, there is a good chance that you’ll switch from your DSL line to a more modern Fibre optical connection. When you do so, you don’t need to replace the VR900 with something new as it also supports a direct WAN connection via the fourth LAN port. But once again, TP-Link weren’t satisfied with the connection options, so they made sure that you’re also able to connect it to 3G or 4G/LTE network via a USB dongle and the two onboard USB ports. All in all, there isn’t much that this router can’t do and connect to.
The TP-Link VR900 is an AC1900 dual-band router, meaning it can perform with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band for a combined throughput of 1900 MBps. It has a great coverage thanks to the three 5 dBi omni-directional antennas. The wireless range and performance is further enhanced thanks to the beamforming technology that is applied on both wireless bands.
Inside the router is a 1GHz dual-core processor that makes sure that you don’t encounter any bottlenecks as the router has to perform its tasks.
The wireless bands feature the normal 64bit and 128bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryptions for secure connections and the WPS button makes connecting devices as easy as it can be. The software parts feature everything from Wireless MAC filtering, QoS control, NAT Firewall, VPN, Virtual server and Port Triggers, as well as any other function you could want from a router. Guest networking and parental control is also present and both are great features to have around.
Packaging and Accessories
A great router like this also deserves a beautiful wrapping and TP-Link delivers that. The Archer VR900 has a simple yet very beautiful package. The front shows the device itself as well as providing all the basic feature information.
On the rear of the package, we find more details about the specific functions as well as a comparison table with other TP-Link devices. That way it’s even easier to pick just the right model when you’re visiting your local tech shop and have them all in front of you.
Inside we find everything we need to get it set up. The router itself and a power supply for it, two RJ11 cables and a splitter for your DSL connection, an RJ45 LAN cable, and the three detachable antennas as well as a quickstart guide and technical references.
ASRock showcased their G10 gaming router back at Computex and we have been wondering since then when it finally would become available. That time has arrived now as ASRock announced the availability of this impressive and strong-looking router.
ASRock’s G10 gaming router takes your wireless signal as well as feature list to a whole new level for routers. Starting with the 4T4R 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless connection that is the fastest ac with up to 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band and 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band thanks to the 8 dipole high power antennas hidden inside this unit. Whether the fact that the antennas are internal will affect the range is something to be seen in reviews and actual testing.
The ASRock G10 comes with one WAN and four LAN ports for wired connectivity as well as two USB 3.0 ports for direct storage and printer attachment. The router will be available in several models where some of them come with a detachable 2-in-1 dongle called H2R that may serve as an independent travel access point (AP) and an HDMI dongle for projecting your handheld device’s screen onto an HDMI compliant monitor, otherwise known as Miracasting. It is compatible with both Apple, Android, and Windows and it will also be sold separately for those who don’t want to settle for Chromecast.
Another really cool feature in the G10 gaming router is its IR capabilities. It can learn any infrared signal from your current remotes and then send them out on command. That allows you to control any IR device within range of the router through an easy to use smart-app on your mobile phone or tablet.
Malware. That one word which seems to inspire fear and dread in everybody who hears it, even more so when you’ve experienced it first hand on one of your many devices. Malicious Software, or Malware for short, is often used by people to spread itself over the internet or even WiFi in the hopes of creating openings for other malicious software, from a program that can redirect you when you go on the internet to one that encrypts your hard drive until you pay hundreds of pounds so that (if they are true to their word) they will release your files. The world has changed since those dark days, there is a new piece of software in the world; Wifatch is here.
Wifatch was found in late 2015 by Symantec and focuses on the bugs and security issues normally involved in routers (a piece of hardware we all use but rarely update). This malware doesn’t just infect your router and use it to spread to others, it closes off potentially dangerous loopholes and bugs on your router. That’s right, this malware, a piece of software that by its very nature breaches your security and trust, is trying to help stop you from being affected by … malware?
Not only does it block common points of danger for routers but it also tries to disinfect infected systems, even going so far as to reboot systems in the hopes of stopping any malware that is currently running.
The developer even left a funny message in its source code for those brave enough to browse it.
Is this the kind of software that we need? What do you think about this vigilante malware?
Nearly 200 Cisco internet routers have been found to carry malware, reports volunteer internet security organisation Shadowserver Foundation. News of infected Cisco routers was first reported by the company itself back in August, when it was revealed that attackers had replaced firmware on the devices with malicious malware implants, allowing them full access to networks and all information passed through it.
Last week, Madiant of FireEye claimed that 14 infected Cisco routers had been over four countries – calling the threat SYNful Knock – though Cisco was quick to point out that it is not the only vendor that is vulnerable to such an attack.
“While Mandiant saw this attack across specific Cisco models, the key focus of this research is more about an evolution in attack types and how important it is for all network administrators to ensure security best practices are implemented,” said Yvonne Malmgren, Business Critical Communications Manager for Cisco Corporate Communications, told SecurityWeek Network devices, of many types and from many companies, are high-value targets for malicious actors.”
Mandiant later reported that the number of confirmed infections of Cisco hardware had risen to 79, over 19 countries. Monday then brought the news, courtesy of Shadowserver, that 199 routers were found to be carrying SYNful Knock, one-third of which are believed to be within the US.
“It is important to stress the severity of this malicious activity. Currently, Shadowserver believes that any machine that responds to this scan is potentially compromised. Compromised routers should be identified and remediated as a top priority,” a Shadowserver spokesperson said.
The US Federal Communications Commission is proposing new laws that will ban internet users from modifying setting and firmware on wireless routers, making particular mention of third-party open-source DD-WRT as a firmware to be outlawed.
Third-party firmware – such as DD-WRT, Tomato, and OpenWRT – allows users control over every aspect of a router, can compensate for security flaws with proprietary firmware, and support router VPNs. DD-WRT, a free Linux-based firmware, is a favourite amongst router modders, with manufacturers such as Buffalo manufacturing routers specifically to function with DD-WRT.
The FCC’s new proposals govern software requirements for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) 5GHz band, calling for 5GHz devices to “be secured to prevent its modification to ensure that the device operates as authorized thus reducing the potential for harmful interference to authorized users,” and that manufacturers ensure that “the device is not easily modified to operate with RF parameters outside of the authorization.”
The footnotes of the proposal outline what the FCC considers weak router security, calling out “those that rely solely on the distribution of firmware in compiled binary form without any form authentication or verification between the device and entity sending the firmware. These implementations are typically susceptible to device ‘flashing’ with third-party firmware or software capable of operating the device outside of its authorization.” The document then lists rules that router manufacturers should abide by, including, “What prevents third parties from loading non-US versions of the software/firmware on the device? Describe in detail how the device is protected from “flashing” and the installation of third-party software such as DD-WRT.”
Do you enjoy greater security, firewall control, wireless strength, and VPN options in the US thanks to DD-WRT? Enjoy it while it lasts.
Thank you ExtremeTech for providing us with this information.
NETGEAR has announced its latest flagship VDSL Router which features a dual-core 1.40 GHz processor and integrated DSL modem. Impressively, the device utilizes the first to market Wave 2 WiFi technology with Quad-Stream on both bands as well as Multi-User MIMO-capability. The Nighthawk X4S AC2600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router (D7800) offers impeccable wireless, wired and USB performance whilst being backwards compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n devices. In terms of its maximum quoted speed, the router can produce up to 2.53Gbps (AC2600 WiFi = 800Mbps+1733Mbps) wireless and Gigabit Ethernet speeds. David Henry, vice president of product marketing and engineering, NETGEAR Home Networking outlined the router’s appeal:
“If multiple people in your household are streaming HD Internet content at the same time, it’s very likely that the DSL modem router you get in your subscriber service package is not capable of supporting your bandwidth needs,”
“With the Nighthawk X4S AC2600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router, you’ll take advantage of the fastest processor in a DSL modem router combined with the latest innovations in wireless technology for the best experience you can get today for streaming, gaming and file sharing.”
The router also employs Dynamic QoS prioritization which helps to optimize network traffic. Another neat inclusion is the NETGEAR ReadySHARE Vault software which makes automatic backups to any hard drive connected to the router. In terms of security, the router is protected by leading wireless protocols, has VPN support and allows you to setup a free URL to create your own private FTP server.
When it comes to pricing, the Nighthawk X4S will retail at an MSRP of $529 (AUD), £269 (GBP) and €299 (EUR). Currently, the device is available throughout Australia and coming to Europe in mid-September.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Once in a while I get a product in for review that isn’t the newest and today is one of those times. I’m taking a closer look at Tenda’s D301 ADSL2+ Wireless Modem Router. This isn’t one of those routers one would run out and buy, but it could very well be the one your internet service provider is giving you.
The feature with the Tenda D301 is that is a combination of modem and router in one, effectively giving you an ADSL 2/2+ modem with router functionality and 4-port switch in one device. This certainly beats having both an ADSL modem and a router next to each other.
It comes with two external 5dBi antennas and supports MIMO technology that uses signal reflections to reduce dead spots and provide better wireless performance, coverage, and transmission rates.
The security part is covered pretty well with port filter, URL filter, and MAC filter. The wireless connection can be encrypted with a 64 to 128-bit WEP, WPA, or WPA2 password. Speaking of wireless, the Tenda D301 Wireless Modem Router only provides the 2.4GHz band with a transfer rate of 300Mbps.
IPTV is also supported on this router and it comes with a built-in USB 2.0 port for easy file sharing from flash drives to all connected devices, that could be both PCs and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The four LAN ports are only 100Mbps, but that isn’t all to bad when you think about it. If you only got an ADSL connection and only use the network to connect to the internet, then you don’t need any more. The fourth LAN port doubles as a WAN port when used as just a router and the first LAN port has built-in functionality for IPTV. VLANs are supported and so are virtual servers and PPPTP, L2TP, and IPSec VPN pass-throughs.. It supports Dynamic IP, Static IP. PPPoE, and IPoA internet connections.
You get individual LEDs for every port and function as well as a 6000V lightning protection that will help to protect connected devices from overcurrents in case the installation should be the victim in a thunderstorm.
ADSL2/ADSL2+ Modem, Router and 4-port Switch in one
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging looks like what those of most routers do. An image of the device on the front as well as a basic summary of the key functions.
On the rear of the package, you find a little more information about what it does, where you could connect what and all that in several languages.
Inside the box, we find an RJ45 LAN cable, an RJ11 cable, and an ADSL splitter as well as the power supply unit. There’s also a manual disk with a user guide and setup wizard for quick installation and a printed quick install guide.
Google has dipped their toes into all sorts of hardware development and their latest attempt is on the home router market with their brand new OnHub, the router they say is the new way to Wi-Fi. Well Google, you got ready, you took the swing, and you totally missed the target, at least that is my opinion.
When Google makes something of this sort, we do expect it to be something extraordinary, something that has been missing, or something ground breaking. Neither were achieved with the OnHub, but let us first take a look at what the OnHub has to offer.
When you buy a Google OnHub, you’ll get a Wi-Fi router in one of two colours, blue or black. Inside you’ll find an IPQ8064 dual core processor at 1.4GHz backed by 1GB DDR3L memory. There is 4GB e-MMC flash memory and 8MB NOR flash. You’ll get one USB 3.0 port to attach devices, one WAN port for your direct connection or modem, and only one Gigabit Ethernet LAN port. This is a Wi-Fi only router, kind off, and that is the first fail in my opinion.
The Google OnHub does have a strong wireless presence, but it’s nothing spectacular and it even looks tame when you compare it to the TP-Link C3200 tri-band router that we could tell you about earlier today. The Google OnHub has three wireless bands too, but the third is an AUX wireless. It has 3×3 internal 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz antennas and 3×3 internal 802.11a/n/ac antennas. A strong lineup, but internal antennas are generally a fail and Google knows that. The choice was made in order to keep the unit looking great so it can be placed in the open space rather than being tucked away. They also created the router so it automatically amplifies the signal to help boost for the lack of external antennas. A lot of work for something that wasn’t really needed. So basically you get a normal, but funky looking, wireless AC1900 router with just one LAN port.
There are other benefits to this router such as a built-in speaker, Bluetooth 4.0 and TPM, but that’s really not the big selling point here. Google is trying to sweeten the whole thing with a smartphone app that “talks human language” to you when trouble happens and otherwise helps you with easy setup.
Generally, I don’t see anything that I haven’t seen in current router products that we have reviewed in the past year. It isn’t particular cheap either with its $199.99 price tag. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, you should rather take the 30% you can save by buying something like the TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 router or D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 router and treat your loved one to a nice dinner or a movie. Funny thing now that I’ve mentioned TP-Link several times, it looks like it is TP-Link that is the company behind the hardware, how’s that for a plot twist!
Tenda has quite a long list of network products and today I’m taking a closer look at another one of them. The Tenda W568R is a wireless N900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router that promises a great performance and coverage.
With the power of a dual-band router, you can easy use the slower and better reaching 2.4GHz band to check your mail and browse the internet while you use the faster 5GHz band for streaming and gaming. The Tenda W568R offers 450Mbps transfer speeds on both bands for a total of up to 900 Mbps throughput. That makes this router ideal for tasks such as 3D HD video streaming and multiplayer gaming.
Tenda built the router without any external antennas, but it still features an impressive performance. With full 3×3 MIMO technology, the router is a perfect choice for larger multi-level homes and buildings with a signal range that reaches virtually any area. At least that is what it promises, we’ll have to let our benchmarks speak for themselves later on.
All wired ports are Gigabit Ethernet capable and you get one for the WAN internet connection and four normal LAN ports where one of them is specially set up to support IPTV service for those of you who might have that as a part of the package. You also get a USB 2.0 port for file and printer sharing over your network and without the need for any more devices. The only button you’ll find on this router is a combined reset and WPS button.
There is an LED for each port as well as both wireless bands, allowing you to keep an eye on everything with ease. The wireless bands support WEP, WPA, and WPA2 password protected security, but you should note that the router comes with both Wi-Fi bands enabled and no security set. This makes it easier to set up to begin with, but it is at the same time a security risk.
Whether you’re an enthusiast or first-time user of routers, you should find the installation and setup both easy and intuitive. The utility interface might not be the freshest after todays standards, but it offers what you need.
Packaging and Accessories
It is very suiting that the Tenda W568R stand-up router also get a stand-up shaped retail box. The front shows you the actual colour of the device in the main image and the available colour choices at the bottom, next to the name.
On the rear side of the packaging, you find a little more information about the router and what it can do in six different languages. A neatly made package that contains the information you’ll be looking for.
Inside you find a power adapter, a Gigabit LAN cable, the installation guide, and a User Guide and Setup Wizard optical disk – and also the router, itself, of course.