CES 2012: Buffalo Onboard with 802.11ac, Demonstrates 800Mbps Transfers
January 11, 2012 9:43 PM
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Buffalo is at the forefront of 802.11ac product development
We all take 802.11n for granted these days. Everything from our smartphones to tablets to laptops to all-in-one PCs use the standard. 802.11n is rated at 4500Mbps, but in the real world the best routers offer speeds of anywhere from 140Mbps to 170Mbps.
Buffalo is one of the first to throw its support behind 802.11ac which offers theoretical bandwidth of 1.3Gbps. The company was showing off a working prototype of its first 802.11ac product at CES, and representatives for the company promise that production hardware will be in consumer hands by Christmas 2012.
The prototype on the show floor was operating at around 780Mbps to second to 800Mbps, well above the sub-200Mbps speeds seen in existing 802.11n networking products.
Buffalo's first 802.11ac product will be the AirStation WZR-1750H wireless router. In 802.11ac mode, the router will operate in the 5GHz spectrum. It can also fallback to 2.4GHz and offer backwards compatibility for 802.11a/g/n. Buffalo will also introduce the WLI-TX4-1300H media bridge which will plug into a network device's Ethernet port (Xbox 360, PS3, TVs, media streamers, etc.) to provide 802.11ac wireless access. Both the router and the bridge will include four GbE ports on the back.
“Buffalo has always been at the forefront of wireless technology, proven by the delivery of the first Draft G and Draft N wireless products to the market,” said Hajime Nakai, CEO of Buffalo Technology. “Delivering a cost-effective, high performance Wi-Fi solution that leverages the next generation 802.11ac technology is just part of Buffalo’s ongoing commitment to innovation, engineering excellence and enabling consumers to use current and future technology in the home and in the cloud.”
Although pricing has been locked in this far away from launch, Buffalo tells us that the AirStation router will be priced in the $200 to $220 range. The bridge will be slightly cheaper in the $180 range.
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RE: Best routers only do 140-170Mbps?
1/12/2012 5:56:59 PM
So many things wrong here.
(a) The 8 mimo streams is for base stations --- mobile devices will still max out at 4. The 8 streams at the base station allow the base station to communicate (at the same time) with two or more devices. This is done through a combination of current MIMO smarts (allowing the target devices to pick out their targeted signal while ignoring the other signal) and beam-forming (which allow the signal addressed to a given device to be, to some extent, targeted in space rather than radiating omni-directionally. This same beam-forming gives you substantially longer range than 802.11n (which gives you longer range than 802.11a, but don't let the facts stand in the way of your rant).
(b) 80GHz channels are mandatory, 160GHz channels are optional.
Is interference a problem with wide channels? Based on what I read on the internet, 99% of people complaining about interference are morons who don't have a clue what interference REALLY is or why their wireless networks are REALLY behaving badly.
Obviously there are SOME environments that consist of BOTH
- a large number of nearby base stations AND
- those nearby networks CONSTANTLY active.
But that's rare. For MOST people, even if you are surrounded by 10 other networks, most of the time those networks are quiet --- and so not interfering with you.
As for 160MHz, channels, the US, for example, has spectrum available from 5.180 to 5.825 GHz. This is not ALL available --- some is completely off limits, some is DFS (meaning you have to check every so often that it's not being used by radar or whatever, and get off it is is being used). But with OFDM, it's trivial to notch certain frequency bands and just use whatever is usable of a 160MHz window. You may only get the use of say 120 of those 160 MHz, but so what? That's better than nothing.
If you want to know why your network is not getting the performance you expect, don't rant on the internet like a three year old, act like a scientist.
Look at the MCS index you are connecting to the base station with. On Macs you can see this by option-clicking on the WiFi menuling. Is it what you expect?
Look at the SINR ratio of your connection. On Macs you can see this by going to the Advanced tab of Airport Utility.app, choosing Logging & Statistics and clicking the wireless clients tab. That will show you signal and noise levels and give you a good feeling for both the noise level in our environment and how bursty it is.
Have you set up your devices for maximum performance? For example are you running your n base station in greenfield mode (802.11n only) or are you losing 20% of your performance by forcing it to remain 802.11g/a compatible?
etc etc etc
As for the rest of your rant about "floating channels" and tri-band, I have no idea what half of it means. There's already a third band for 802.11 --- 3.6GHz. Look up 802.11y. This is subject to different usage requirements than 2.4 and 5GHz --- it requires semi-licensing --- but technically it's the same stuff.
And if you want to run a 2.4 and a 5GHz systems in parallel, technically you can --- you could even use standard ethernet bonding code that probably already exists inside your OS to do it. The fact that no-one offers laptop chipsets that work this way should clue you in to the fact that very few people think it's worth the extra costs --- extra antennas and RF equipment and testing to ensure they don't interfere. At some point it may arrive --- but until then, in a world of limited engineering resources, the people who know how this stuff ACTUALLY works (ie the people at Broadcom, Qualcomm, Infineon, etc) all believe their resources are better spent working on things like beam-forming and wide-channel support. I'd trust their judgement over yours.
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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