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Video streaming gets a boost with new 802.11ac routers

The technology is also making its way into TVs and smartphones

By Mikael RicknA$?s
January 8, 2013 11:30 AM ET

IDG News Service - New 802.11ac routers launching at International CES promise users gigabit-speeds and better performance when streaming video.

Since last year's CES, 802.11ac -- which is the latest in IEEE's family of WLAN standards -- has gone from a new technology to mainstream in wireless routers. The underlying standard is still under development, but that has not prevented vendors from putting out a growing number of products.

At CES 2013, vendors like Belkin, D-Link, Linksys and newcomer Securifi have all introduced wireless routers compatible with 802.11ac.

Belkin announced two routers, the AC1800 DB, the AC750, which will cost US$179.99 and $89.99. The AC1800 DB is Belkin's most advanced router and is available now, according to the company. Besides a faster network users will get an integrated media server and Simple Start, which is a browser-based setup interface that streamlines the installation process.

D-Link's Gaming Router (or DGL-5500) will start shipping in the late spring and at that time pricing will also be announced. One of the router's main features is Qualcomm's StreamBoost, which will improve video streaming and gaming performance by prioritizing that traffic, the chip maker said last week.

Linksys' most advanced router is now the Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro, which has been designed for homes that want to stream HD video and have 10 or more connected devices. To make home networks easier for consumers to monitor and control, Linksys is also introducing "a smart network map," the company said. The map will show a visual representation of the home network and all of the connected devices to give users information about network connectivity and current bandwidth usage, allowing them to easily control devices and resolve potential issues, according to Linksys. The router will ship in the spring; no pricing was announced.

Linksys and Belkin say their best routers are capable of up to 1.3G bps using the 5GHz band, and 450M bps and 300M bps, respectively, using the 2.4GHz band. What that means in the real world remains to be seen.

Securifi is taking a bit of a different approach with its router. The company is showing its Almond+ to the public for the first time at CES, which besides higher speeds using 802.11ac also includes a number of home automation features thanks to integrated support for Zigbee and Z-Wave. Users will be able to turn on and off heating, control lights and receive a notification if a door or window is opened, Securifi said. It plans to run a campaign on Kickstarter to fund the production of the Almond+, allowing users to buy the product for $99.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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