The internet is the center of the modern connected consumer electronics experience, and no single device is more important to that than the humble router. At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), internet routers are front and center, with new connectivity and security options from multiple vendors.
Belkin's Linksys division made several announcements at CES, including its entrant into the emerging consumer mesh space. The Linksys Velop is a Tri-Band modular Wi-Fi system that involves the use of multiple nodes that connect to each other to create the mesh. Each Velop node is a Linksys AC2200 device that can act as a router, wi-fi access point, wi-fi range extender and network bridge. The basic idea behind the Velop, as with all mesh technologies, is that by having multiple nodes a wi-fi network range and resilience can be dramatically extended.
"If you are paying for 100 Mbps from your Internet service provider, then you want to get all that speed in every corner of your house”, Justin Doucette, senior director of product management at Linksys, said in a statement.
From a hardware perspective each AC2200 Velop node is powered by a Qualcomm 716 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor, 4GB of flash memory, 512MB DDR3 memory and three Wi-Fi radios (one 2.4 GHz and two 5.0 GHz). Each node also contains six antennas and high power amplifiers for maximum coverage.
Asus is also entering the market for mesh routers with the HiveSpot and HiveDot router. The . HiveSpot is a tri-band AC2134 Wi-Fi device, while the HiveDot is a dual-band AC1300 device.
The HiveSpot has seven antennas and three Wi-Fi radios including 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz A1300 radio as well as a third 5 GHz radio operating at 867 Mpbps for inter-node communications.
"An ASUS HiveSpot & HiveDot Mesh Wi-Fi System requires a minimum of three nodes, and up to five nodes can be used if needed, " Asus stated. " Any unit can act as either a router or a slave node: typically, one unit will be configured as a router — connected to the internet via the gigabit WAN port — and the others as slave nodes located throughout the home.
According to Asus, the slave nodes intelligently organize and extend the wireless network for seamless high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the home, without the performance and reliability problems often encountered with traditional router/repeater configurations.
Not to be outdone, D-Link is now also entering the consumer mesh networking market with its new Covr Wi-Fi system. The Covr system makes use of Wi-Fi Self-Organizing Network (SON) capabilities from Qualcomm.
"D-Link's Covr technology transforms the traditional router-extender solution to an easy to use Wi-Fi System that eliminates the hassles of traditional Wi-Fi while blanketing an entire home with a reliable, fast signal," D-Link President Anny Wei said in a statement. "Covr is a breakthrough system with advanced networking features designed to address today's home Wi-Fi needs."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.