Items tagged with WiFi

Consumer WiFi router products are generally classified by three major performance characteristics: overall throughput or bandwidth, multi-client performance, and range. Although throughput and multi-client bandwidth has scaled-up nicely over the years, range perhaps hasn't improved quite as robustly and even the most powerful WiFi routers, like Netgear's own beastly Nighthawk X8, with its active antennas, can still leave dead spots in large home or office installations. That's where the recent crop of mesh router technologies, that startups like Eero and Google with Google WiFi, are making significant advancements. By spreading out multiple, interconnected router access points (as well as their... Read more...
Google is rumored to be launching a number of new hardware products at its October hardware event including new Pixel Nougat smartphones and its Google Home speaker. Rumor also has it that Google plans on announcing a $129 Wi-Fi router at this event. Although the Google Wi-Fi router is shrouded in mystery, a few tidbits of gossip have been recently swirling around the internet. For starters, the Google router is supposedly dual-band, offers AC 1200 speeds, and includes Bluetooth connectivity. It is also expected to have much better range than your typical router, along with the ability to link multiple Google Wi-Fi access points to create one large wireless network. It is unclear... Read more...
At this point we've reviewed quite a few high-end AC routers, including tri-band routers, flagship dual-band models, and even the latest MU-MIMO devices too. However, the one portion of the market we haven't covered much is the one that exists on the more affordable end of the pricing spectrum. We all know there are quantifiable differences between a $100 GPU and a $300 GPU, but is that also true for 802.11ac routers as well? After all, they're all branded as AC routers, and have similar features and specifications.  This time around, we'll be taking a look at the $75 Tenda AC15 AC1900 router. Tenda is a lesser known brand in the US, but its AC router looks the part and is less than half... Read more...
New York City’s subways have a terrible reputation. Any television show featured in NYC seems to dedicate at least one episode to the notorious transportation system. But New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is looking to shed that image, and just unveiled a new design for the subway system which includes Wi-Fi, USB Ports, and LCD displays. The governor plans to release 1,025 subway cars and renovate 31 subway stations. These innovations and renovations are part of $27 billion USD, five-year plan by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to renew and expand the subway network. The MTA is using design-build contracts for all 31 stations. This means that a single team will be responsible... Read more...
The second wave of 802.11ac routers are now shipping, and they offer a tantalizing performance benefit over the previous routers we’ve reviewed (at least with their older firmware) — the ability to broadcast multiple data streams to several clients at once. This technology, named MU-MIMO, which stands for Multiple User: Multiple Input, Multiple Output, is just now starting to roll out, and is different in one obvious way to the previous technology, named simply MIMO. The previous solution was only able to broadcast multiple streams of data, but could only transmit to one client at a time, whereas this new MU-MIMO technology can send multiple data streams to multiple users at the same time, so... Read more...
The router game is heating up once again, after being dormant for what seemed like an eternity, thanks to new iterations of the Broadcom XStream platform. We first examined this platform for 802.11 AC routers back in October when we rounded up four AC3200 routers from Netgear, D-Link, TrendNet, and Asus. We then added one router to the mix with our analysis of the Linksys EA9200, but all five of those routers were based on the first gen of Broadcom’s technology, which allows for up to 3.2Gb/s spread across three channels. This translates to (1,300Mb/s on dual 5GHz channels, and 600Mb/s on the lone 2.4GHz channels). As we’ve stated previously, most home users will probably never need this much... Read more...
Mobile phones charged with energy taken out of thin air. What sounds like a modern take on a very old magic trick is actually the Unique Selling Proposition of a smartphone case developed by Nikola Labs and presented for the first time on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt event taking place this week in New York City (the Ohio-based company was selected to pitch to the crowd "after being selected by the TechCrunch editorial team and the audience").  According to its developers, the Nikola Labs case is able to use its proprietary energy harvesting circuit to capture the 90 percent of waste energy that a smartphone pumps out in the form of radio frequencies (RF) — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE,... Read more...
Last year, Comcast announced that the company was deploying its Xfinity Home Hotspot initiative that would turn a user’s home router into a public hotspot. However, the initiative was met with criticism and a pair of Comcast customers is suing the company claiming that the imitative poses risks to subscribers and that Comcast’s actions were carried out without their permission. The suit was filed in the US District Court in Northern California by Plaintiff Toyer Grear and daughter Joycelyn Harris. They are seeking to give their suit class action status for all Comcast customers whose wireless routers double as Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots. “Without authorization to do so, Comcast users the wireless... Read more...
New York City seems to be on a mission to provide Internet access to everyone. While the LinkNYC program is converting old payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots, it was recently announced that NYC libraries are rolling out a program that will provide free Wi-Fi device rentals after Google donated $1 million to the program and 500 Google Chromebooks.  Called The Library Hotspot program, it is designed to give families that lack broadband access the chance to borrow free Wi-Fi devices from a local library. With Google’s $1 million donation, in addition to a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, the program has expanded to all three library systems and is looking to offer around 10,000 families... Read more...
Gogo raked in record revenue of $104 million for its fiscal third quarter of 2014, up 22 percent year-over-year, however the company has also been spending a great deal on expanding its in-flight Wi-Fi service to more airlines. As a result, Gogo ended up posting a $24.9 million loss for the quarter, or $0.29 per share, compared to a loss of $18.7 million, or $0.22 per share a year ago. Though the company couldn't manage to climb out of the red, Gogo President and CEO Michael Small was pleased with the performance as he keeps an eye towards long-term growth. In order to set the company up for that, Small has to make investments into getting Gogo's service offered on more airlines. "We announced... Read more...
While hardwired connections always trump wireless ones when it comes to longstanding reliability and sustained transfer rates, it's obvious that a wireless world is the one we're headed for. Samsung just so happens to recognize that, which is why it's trotting out a new development in the Wi-Fi space that could send files, photos, and whatever else from point to point at record speeds. The company has just announced a new 60GHz Wi-Fi technology, which represents a five-fold increase  from 866Mbps, or 108MB per second, the maximum speed possible with existing consumer electronics devices. With Samsung's approach, you could (in theory) see transmission speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, or 575MB per... Read more...
When was the last time a wireless carrier announced a new service feature without heavy marketing fanfare? Verizon Communications’ executive vice president and CFO Fran Shammo announced Wi-Fi calling for the service this week, but seemed to play down the importance of the feature. Wi-Fi calling will let customers use their mobile phones to make calls over their home wireless networks – a boon to people who are frustrated with spotty cell phone reception in parts of their homes. XLTE-Ready Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Wi-Fi calling isn’t a new concept – T-Mobile and others already offer it – and, at least according to Shammo, it’s not a particularly critical feature, either. Speaking at a communications... Read more...
Although the FCC is drawing the ire of many for its new stance on net neutrality, it’s important to remember that the agency is also doing good work to get Internet access to people who will certainly benefit from it. The FCC is “modernizing” its E-rate program to increase broadband Internet access into schools and libraries all over the country, including in rural areas. This week, the FCC hit the $1 billion funding mark, which is quite fast for the E-rate program, meaning that broadband is getting into schools more rapidly and more cheaply. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler A large part of the FCC’s push to manage the E-rate program better is to get WiFi into schools; along... Read more...
In this day and age of creature comforts and ubiquitous access to the Internet, the simple act of riding on a high-speed train is not enough to keep passengers content, nor is slow Wi-Fi while traveling the tracks across the country. Ah, but rest assured that Amtrak has a plan to improve its crummy Wi-Fi service, so if you'd rather scroll through your Facebook feed than take in the sights of the land, you'll be able to do so. Hey, we're not downing Internet connectivity, and there are legitimate reasons outside of social media why high-speed wireless access on an Amtrak train is desirable, especially if you're on the job and need to download an important batch of files. The problem is that Amtrak's... Read more...
The art of flying isn't getting any less uncomfortable, but at least you'll soon be able to get online via one more provider soon. AT&T has surprisingly announced this week that it too would love to grab a piece of the growing Wi-Fi in the sky pie, boosting 4G LTE speeds up to 35,000 feet as flyers crisscross the country. The service, planned to be available as soon as late 2015, will rival the likes of Row44 (Southwest) and Gogo (almost everyone else). AT&T will be building an air-to-ground network in the continental United States based on 4G LTE standards, using it to blast high speeds to the sky. Presently, one of the largest gripes with in-air Wi-Fi is the speed; when multiple people... Read more...
To misquote a famous grammatically incorrect phrase, "All your Internet is belong to Google." Eventually, anyway. Word on the web is that Google is thinking about deploying Wi-Fi networks in cities where its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service already exists, which would be a double-win for such areas. According to Computerworld, Google made the disclosure in a document making the round to 34 cities that could be next to receive its Google Fiber network in 2015. However, details are pretty sparse, with Google only saying it will discuss its Wi-Fi plans and requirements during the planning phase. Image Source: Flickr (UCFFool) "We'd love to be able to bring Wi-Fi access to all of our Fiber... Read more...
Wireless network speeds have improved substantially over the past decade or so, but those who can't risk a drop-out or need to get things accomplished in the fastest manner possible still revert to tried-and-true hardline connections. Quantenna is hoping to change that mindset somewhat, by announcing this week plans to offer a Wi-Fi chipset that can push 10Gbps by 2015. According to a company release, development is already underway on an 8x8 MIMO configuration that would include universal support for MU-MIMO clients and 10Gbps speeds, not to mention boosts in performance, range, and stability. Quantenna already delivered 4x4 chipsets for 802.11n and 802.11ac standards, so it makes sense to hear... Read more...
The in-stadium experience has become a selling point for venues, and there’s a new technology available designed to make it even better. UK-based Mobbra has a special WiFi technology called Massivity that’s both aware and can also handle massive (ah, hence the name) numbers of devices at once (about 500 per access point) without the normal congestion that WiFi access points suffer from. Massivity, coupled with Fangage, can deliver all sort of real-time goodies for fans in seats at sports stadiums and concerts. For example, users could get deals on snacks and drinks, get instant replays beamed right to their phones, get audio commentary to go with the game, and so on. NewScientist... Read more...
Nintendo said it's planning to disconnect its Wi-Fi Connection service for Wii consoles and DS handhelds on May 20, 2014. That means no more online play, matchmaking, or leaderboards for many Wii, Nintendo DS, and DSi games. In addition, users will no longer be able to share their own generated content, exchange in-game items, or download free add-on content or downloads such as new levels or in-game items. "We at Nintendo sincerely thank our fans for their continued support of our company’s legacy systems. Your enthusiasm for games made for these systems speaks to their longevity, and the passion of Nintendo fans," the company said in a statement. The announcement doesn't apply to more... Read more...
It's a feature that many have likely overlooked given T-Mobile's current focus on being the Uncarrier, but it's one that was universally loved by international travelers. Wi-Fi Calling essentially allows one's smartphone to make a traditional voice call using their own local (U.S.) phone number, but instead of relying on a mobile tower nearby, it relies on Wi-Fi. In a world where international roaming rates can ensure that a 5 minute phone call leads to massive bill shock back home, the advantage of Wi-Fi Calling is clear. Today, Sprint announced that it too will offer the service. According to the carrier, this will enable its customers to "experience improved voice, data and messaging services... Read more...
It's a wireless world we live in these days, and unless you reside in an isolated area far removed from civilization and devoid of electronic gadgets, you can't walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without bonking into a barrage of wireless signals. Should we be concerned? So far so good -- we haven't mutated as a species to carry around a third arm or anything of that nature, though there are something interesting things to observe in this Wi-Fi society we've built up. One of them is recent research by a group of 9th grade female students from Denmark who discovered that the wireless radiation from routers prevents nearby plants from growing, Natural News reports. The five students decided... Read more...
Thanks to a generous $2 million donation from financier Glenn Fuhrman, nearly 80,000 residents living in 95 city blocks in Harlem will have access to a new outdoor public Wi-Fi network at no cost to them. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the initiative today, saying that the Wi-Fi network will be the largest continuous free outdoor public wireless network in the nation. "Our new Harlem wireless network brings critical connectivity to residents and visitors, giving them 24/7 access to everything from education materials for kids, to information about Harlem’s rich history and attractions, to everyday needs like paying bills, checking library hours – or even just keeping tabs on... Read more...
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