Netgear extends next-gen Wi-Fi into 5GHz band
Courtesy of 'metamaterial' antennae
CES Netgear today launched a raft of 802.11n Wi-Fi networking devices that take the technology into the uncrowded 5GHz band. The new kit also incorporates clever new “metamaterial” antennae to cram up to eight aerials inside each box.
Netgear's Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N router: metamaterial antennae inside
Using 5GHz in addition to the 2.4GHz part of the spectrum almost all currently available consumer-oriented 802.11n routers use – Apple's AirPort Extreme Basestation is a notable exception - allows Netgear's Dual Band brand kit to ignore interference from other WLANs and wireless devices. Where the busy 2.4GHz band has three non-overlapping channels, the 5GHz band has 20, so there's a lot more room for many more netwoks.
The snag with 5GHz is reduced range, but Netgear claimed its new metamaterial antennae – of which there are eight in its Rangemax Wireless-N Dual Band router – more than compensate, effectively eliminating the limitation.
Netgear's Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N USB adaptor
In addition to the Dual Band router, Netgear introduced a USB dongle for laptops without a 5GHz 802.11n radio. However, most notebooks that already have next-gen Wi-Fi built in do support 5GHz operation – a statement of 802.11a support is the giveaway.
Netgear's new 5GHz Wireless-N HD Bridge isn't dual-band, operating only at the 5GHz to provided a more direct, high-speed link for streaming HD content from one box to another. It'll also operate as a wireless access point and has six internal metamaterial antennae.
Netgear's HD/Gaming 5GHz Wireless-N kit: ready for point-to-point streaming
Both router and wireless bridge boxes support automatic WPA security set-up with the push of a single button on the side of each unit. There's no longer any need to install software or tinker with router settings to create a secure WLAN, Netgear pledged.
The HD/Gaming 5GHz Wireless-N is set to retail in the US for $130, and it'll also be made available in a $230 pack-of-two as the HD/Gaming 5GHz Wireless-N kit. The Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N USB adaptor will cost $100, while the Dual Band Router runs to $130. A version with five Gigabit Ethernet ports will cost $160.
Netgear said all of these items will be available around the world imminently, though it didn't provide European pricing.
No mention of whether it works with, or stomps on, or is bothered by, existing 5GHz gear. C'mon, guys!
I'm sure these devices will work spectacularly well outoors, but 5Ghz is still 5Ghz and concrete walls are still concrete, so no matter how many dilithium powered metaantenna's you have it will still suck unless you live in a timber frame house with no furniture.
The article also makes no comment on the fact that although there may be 20 non overlapping channels, only CH36,40,48 may be used indoors at very low power. The rest are split up for outdoor ( nomadic ) use only and at the top of the 5GHz spectrum ( 5.8GHz ) is reserved for licensed operators only at point to point connections.
The restrictions are there to protect RADAR, so the number of channels available to domestic 5GHz users is the same as 2.4GHz hardware and although this represents a doubling of the available capacity, assuming that everyone bought this new kit, we'll be back to the same issues we have in built up area's with interference.
What I would like to see is a range of low cost and very very low power wifi access points, operating Ethernet over mains (EoM) , but if that proliferates, do we end up with different technical challenges, but effectively the same problem ?? ( power line noise ? )
FUD aside, its nice to see Netgear roll out new products...
Now all they need to do is roll out one with this tech, gigabit lan and a fricking ADSL modem and I'll upgrade!