Multiple companies including Linksys, D-Link, Trendnet, Broadcom, Qualcomm and Belkin have introduced Wi-Fi products based on the new 802.11ac standard, enabling 3X faster theoretical throughput and 6X greater power savings. The 802.11ac standard was finalized in late 2012 and will show up on an increasing number of Wi-Fi products this year as it displaces 802.11n. Devices including routers, adapters and accessories will be able to handle multiple simultaneous HD video streams within a household.
Linksys showed its range of Smart routers on the first day of CES. The three models work across the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands and feature Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as USB 3.0 ports. The top-end AC1750 positioned as ideal for homes with 10 or more devices including smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and other appliances, and offers theoretical maximum speeds of 1300 Mb/s on the 5 GHz band and 450 MB/s on the 2.4 GHz band. The AC 1600 and AC 1200 models and feature lower theoretical maximums aimed at homes with 5-7 and 3-5 devices respectively. An 802.11ac USB adapter, the AC 580, allows PCs and laptops to be upgraded to take advantage of the higher speeds.
Linksys Smart Router range
The Smart range features beam-forming technology that adjusts the direction and strength of the routers' signals in order to optimise throughput. The devices also offer easy setup and management through a web browser. Each router ships with an NFC card that allows compatible devices to be configured with just a tap. Additionally, Linksys offers a variety of apps developed by third parties that allow users to set up their own secure private cloud, access files stored at home from anywhere, back up photos from a smartphone, and stream video and music anywhere in the world.
Also at CES, D-Link showed off a range of three 802.11ac routers including the DGL-5500 Gaming Router with its own StreamBoost tech for multi-player gaming. The DIR-868L and DIR-860L Cloud Routers feature 1300 Mb/s and 867 Mb/s peak transfer rates respectively. Belkin also released two 802.11ac models with integrated media servers and Simple Start browser-based setup. Trendnet showed off the TEW-805UB dual-stream USB 3.0 adapter with a top speed rated at 867 Mb/s. USB 3.0 will be required to enjoy the benefits of 802.11ac, but the device will work with USB 2.0 as well as older Wi-Fi access points.
D-Link Gaming router
Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 800 and 600 processors for a new generation of high-performance smartphones and mobile computing devices. The Snapdragon 800 consists of the Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU, with 4G LTE and 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in.
Broadcom launched a family of 802.11ac chips to power routers, adapters, and devices with the latest generation Wi-Fi capability.