According to a new survey, WiFi is something valued more than sex. That’s curious, and while we believe “WiFi” might be incorrectly identified as “access to the internet”, Linksys hopes its latest router can at least help with one of these concerns (and it’s not sex).
Linksys has high hopes for its next big routers. In general, the company probably has high hopes for most of its products, but in 2015, it is looking to a new technology that it hopes will impress people greatly and check out a new gadget aimed at boosting network performance in their home.
It’s apparently necessary, too.
Whether you realise it or not, we’re all consuming monumental amounts of data at the moment, sending information back and forth between our phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs, sound systems, cameras, and practically anything else that has a network connection built into it, wired or wireless.
It’s our love for Facebook, our need to check out websites day in and day out, and ever since Netflix kicked into gear and Australians started watching TV shows and movies en masse, it’s that too, as the media streaming services like Netflix, Presto, and Stan started many of us on the road to taking full advantage of our download limits and grabbing as much to watch as humanly possible.
But there’s a catch: even though you can download content for ages, you still need a device that acts as a sort of traffic controller for how it gets sent into your home, and that is causing some headaches for people.
You see we all have lots of these devices, and many of us are still reliant on the old modem router our ISP gave us when we first signed up to get that broadband connection.
That is the unfortunate catch, because this ageing piece of technology just can’t keep up with the demand of gadgets we’re throwing at it.
Fortunately, replacement routers are a thing that isn’t too hard to come by, but they’re not all created equal. In fact, we’re seeing more gutsy routers come out, and last year’s introduction of a router from Netgear with some high-speed innards, six antennas, and two high-speed 5GHz connections (as well as one 2.4GHz network for devices that didn’t need the big oomph) helped to provide homes and businesses with a little more room to move.
Linksys, however, is trying a different approach, and with its latest product, the EA8500 or “Linksys Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Smart Wi-Fi Router” — a name that is a mouthful for anyone saying it — is focusing on chip technology to manage your network transmissions rather than extra leg room for the network alone.
The chip in question is from Qualcomm, a manufacturer responsible for a whole heap of the processors in smartphones, including the ones used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Sony Xperia Z3, with this chip doing something a little different than providing power to a phone.
Rather, its MU EFX processor is what is called a “multi-user” (that’s the MU) processor for the “MIMO” or “multiple input, multiple output” technology, which together should allow a router with several antennas to get quite a few devices talking to it at the same time without a heap of things slowing down.
Aside for the multi-user technology, the Linksys EA8500 is including a 1.4GHz dual-core processor to make sure there’s enough power to manage the transmissions, while a combination of 1.7Gbs and 800Mbps is being used for the 5 and 2.4GHz networks, allowing the fast devices to jump on that 5GHz Gigabit network, while the slower devices can fight out how the 800Mbps should be divided.
And essentially, the devices won’t have to, with the router’s MU technology doing that for customers, and spreading it over the 802.11ac network technology, which allows wireless network transmissions to push throughout a home more than the 802.11n networks most of us still use.
“MU-MIMO technology totally revolutionises the wireless experience in today’s home”, said Greg Morrison, Business Manager at Linksys in Australia.
“The average Australian home has more than eight devices connecting to the Internet with as many as five simultaneously, and they’re not used for just sending emails and tweets,” said Morrison.
“We’re streaming movies and TV shows in high definition, we’re video chatting with our friends and family, and we’re playing video games against competitors around the globe concurrently. All these activities rely on Internet connection and the humble router is at the heart of the connected home, fundamental, but too often overlooked.”
In fact, according to research from IDC that Linksys sponsored, we’re obsessed with wireless networking and couldn’t live without it, with the study indicating that while we couldn’t live without food more than anything else, WiFi ranks second, above smartphones, followed by sex and television.
Perhaps it’s just us, but that should be internet through WiFi and not WiFi alone, because you could surely live without WiFi provided you had an internet connection through some other way. That being said, most of us have home networks so that we can have internet access, so it’s easy to see why so many can’t live without wireless networking in general.
If that’s you and you’re finding the home network (or office network) has slowed to feeling like a carrier pigeon would be faster, a new router might be what the doctor should be ordering.
In fact, until the National Broadband Network arrives for all of us and network speeds increase overall, the router is your next best step to helping all the devices in your home get alone wirelessly.
While we’re not sure if the Linksys EA8500 will fix everyone’s woes, those keen to give a flogging to find out will find it in stores shortly for a recommended retail price off $429.95.