Wednesday, January 07, 2015

1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Wi-Fi speeds

Ever since 802.11ac started appearing in routers we've been dreaming of getting honest-to-goodness 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Wi-Fi speeds. Ha! The fastest 802.11ac router CNET or ZDNet has seen to date, the Asus AC2400 RT-AC87U Dual-band Wireless Gigabit Router delivers 504 Megabits per second (Mbps) to clients. D-Link's new AC3200 ULTRA Wi-Fi Router (DIR-890L/R), introduced at CES, promises to deliver speeds of up to 1.3Gbps.

The D-Link AC3200 may be the most colorful Wi-Fi router you've ever seen but that it really wants to be is the fastest. sjvn
Call me cynical, but I'll believe it when I see it in my office and not on a pristine, radio-frequency protected test-bench. But, It Just Might Work.

That's because D-Link isn't using the current 802.11ac 2013 standard for its new line of high-speed routers; instead, it's using the latest Broadcom chipset based on the still unratified 802.11ac 2015 standard, aka Wave 2. This new wave of technology pushes the theoretical limit of Wi-Fi to 7Gbps. In addition, Wave 2 supports multi-user MIMO, which enables simultaneous multiple spatial streams to multiple clients. Multi-user MIMO is seen as being as big an improvement for Wi-Fi as the jump from shared to switched Ethernet was for wired networking.
Multi-user MIMO, however, won't be supported in the AC3200. You'll need to wait for the next two models in this new Wi-Fi router family to appear later this year for that.

eying Wi-Fi in the enterprise for any length of time, you already know that D-Link is following a long line of Wi-Fi vendors who deliver pre-ratification "standard" equipment. Historically, the problem with this is that these models are then incompatible with the later truly standard hardware. A D-Link product manager assured me at CES that this router, and its two forthcoming even faster brothers -- the AC5300 ULTRA Wi-Fi Router (DIR-895L/R) and AC3100 ULTRA Wi-Fi Router (DIR-885L/R) -- would be brought up to code with firmware upgrades.

D-Link promises that the three routers in the ULTRA Performance Series will deliver "chart-topping wireless speeds up to 5.3 Gbps ." I'm not so sure about that last boast, but what I do know is that in order to break the 1Gbps barrier you'll need to use D-Link's ULTRA AC1900 Wi-Fi USB Adapter (DWA-192) on your existing laptops and desktop PCs. Even a brand new computer with an 802.11ac Wave 1 chipset won't be able to crack the high-speed wall.
"We've set the bar for how a Wi-Fi Router should look and perform," said Daniel Kelley, D-Link's vice president of marketing. "Our new ULTRA Performance Series has everything a demanding user is looking for - three bands of Wi-Fi, fast speeds, beamforming, and QoS - all housed in an attractive form-factor that is sure to make a statement."
Besides sheer speed, these new routers also feature Wireless 11AC Beamforming to enhance signal strength and throughput; Smart Connect to automatically assign clients to the wireless band providing the best bandwidth; and an advanced QoS engine with a drag-and-drop UI to provide an easy way to prioritize applications and devices. In addition, the routers come with gigabit WAN/LAN Ethernet ports for high speed wired connectivity and are enabled with WPA or WPA2 security and Wi-Fi Protected setup to ensure network integrity and ease-of-setup.
Each router comes with high-power antennas. There will be four for the DIR-885L, six for the DIR-890L and eight for the DIR-895L/R. These are meant to maximize range and optimize coverage.
The D-Link AC3200 ULTRA Wi-Fi Router is available now for $309.99. The other two routers and the AC1900 USB adapter won't show up until the second quarter, and pricing has yet to be announced.
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