Despite several larger OEMs and Internet Service Providers pulling back from physically attending, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) saw some interesting device launches for wireless routers by key industry leaders such as Netgear, Tp-Link, Asus and Linksys. Wi-Fi 6E is the pick of the technologies among the various OEMs worldwide and devices were launched with some new features such as rotating antennas, quad band support and blazing-fast downlink speeds.
Here are top product launches and announcements by OEMs at this year’s CES:
World’s First Rotating Antenna Router Archer AXE200 Omni by Tp-Link
TP-Link is the first OEM to launch a Wi-Fi router with self-adjusting antennas. This Wi-Fi 6E router automatically changes the orientation of its antennas to optimize bandwidth. It also won a CES 2022 Innovation Award. The device offers a maximum speed of up to 11 Gbps that works on 6 GHz band providing superfast and reliable internet connectivity for power users. The device is aimed at users who struggle with poor network reception from standard Wi-Fi routers.
The Archer AXE300 provides quad band support, offers speed up to 16 Gbps and can connect up to 350 devices. The router will be offered later this year and also has 10 gigabit/s ports to support fast wired internet connectivity. The quad band offers lowered network congestion with an additional 5 GHz band and a wide 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi 6E devices which offers to reduce interference and broaden coverage. The device is an ideal solution for small and medium enterprises, gamers and freelance power user who work on cloud systems, which can deliver unmatched speed and connectivity required by them.
TP-Link has has options for larger premises with the Deco XE200, which offers 11000 Mbps of maximum speed and covers 6500 square feet of real estate with just two devices and the area coverage can be increased by opting for the three device solution. TP-Link’s proprietary AI Mesh solution promises better connection response rates by automating bandwidth switching within the mesh system.
Comparison between top devices announced by TP-Link
TP-Link provides all its routers with HomeShield powered by Avira, which acts as a security solution to protect the network and vulnerable IoT devices connected on the network from hackers. Security has been a concern among the OEMs due to several vulnerabilities found in such devices last year. The brand has integrated EasyMesh intelligent software in its routers and range extenders to enable the easy building of mesh networks using any EasyMesh-supported device.
TP-Link has announced a new brand, Aginet, which will cater to Internet Service Providers’ growing demand for better connecting devices to improve their Quality of Service (QoS) to consumers. TP-Link will launch a separate product line under this brand with a philosophy of agile and pragmatic solutions for the market. There has been a significant increase in the fiber connections worldwide in the past two years and with growing demand for xPON routers and mesh network solutions this is a practical move by the brand to help them align their products better in the market.
Netgear builds on Wi-Fi 6E Leadership
The pandemic induced high demand for better internet connections and increased dependence on Wi-Fi for working, learning and entertainment from home. Modern WI-Fi routers require more bandwidth, more number of bands, and better antennas to work in congested environments with various IoT devices and network devices vying for connectivity.
Netgear has introduced several superfast Wi-Fi devices adopting the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology in the last quarter of 2021. Building on this, Netgear announced the Nighthawk RAXE300 Triband Wi-Fi router which offers throughput speeds of up to 7.8 Gbps, eight Wi-Fi streams and can cover up to 2500 sq. ft. With pre-optimised antennas, one 2.5-Gbps port and five 1-Gbps ports to offer superfast wired connectivity as well. At $399, Netgear has priced it competitively, it remains to be seen how the competition responds. Netgear had several devices mentioned by the CES 2022 Innovations Honors’ Board including the already launched Orbi 5G Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System.
With working from home, a feature of life under the pandemic, employers, especially smaller businesses, are looking for affordable and reliable solutions for their employees that offer an experience on par with office life. Netgear’s Orbi line-up offers such reliability and security to be deployed for work from home scenarios, these devices are affordable and offer mesh networking solutions for better connectivity.
Netgear announced a Game Booster Solution for gamers using Netgear gaming routers, to enhance their user experience by offering software to find better server connections, geo filters for locations and a ping heat map to reduce lag. This is a subscription-based service aimed at gamers, which is a large market, especially as the pandemic encouraged new gamers and even people taking up gaming professionally.
ASUS drops a Quadband gaming router, the ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000
ASUS announced a quadband gaming router, ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000, which offers speeds of up to 16000 Mbps, 6 GHz band support and six 1-gigabit/s ports to offer a strong gaming experience. The device is powered by a quad-core processor from Broadcom, which improves network throughput by 18%, compared to the previous generation device for accelerated data transfers. ASUS’s own RF technology improves signal coverage by 38% compared to its previous product, and the device offers intelligent AI Mesh capabilities to connect with another Wi-Fi 6E EasyMesh enabled router.
At USD649, ASUS is assuming gamers are willing to pay a premium for the speed the product offers. However, it’s currently the cheapest quadband option available. The brand has also updated its ROG GT-AX11000 Pro with a beefier chipset to offer improved Wi-Fi 6 performance.
Linksys offers an affordable Wi-Fi 6 device: Hydra Pro 6
Linksys has unveiled its latest dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router, Hydra Pro 6. The router is launched into a competitive space with some recently launched products from Netgear, TP-Link and D-Link, however Linksys is carving its own niche by offering similar specs but at lower prices that its competitors. The Hydra Pro 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s Immersive Home 216 Platform along with the access to the 160 MHz channel, which offers true Wi-Fi 6 experience with faster speeds up to 5.4 Gbps and better connectivity with up to 30+ connected devices. The device is perfect for regular home use cases and can be a good offering for Internet service providers as well.
Linksys has also announced a cloud managed access point for large spaces such as restaurants, retail stores and small businesses, which require high concurrent device connections with dense network congestion. It offers a cloud-based management system that helps the system administrator to control, configure and monitor remotely. The solution is powered by Qualcomm’s Networking Pro Platform 1200 that claims fast throughput and good reliability. It has 4 x 4 internal antennas for improved signal coverage.
The Wi-Fi market is poised to grow significantly in 2022 as we expect strong subscriber growth in most regions of the globe. Regulators are working to ensure that the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use with the spectrum already available in North America and Europe. As a consequence, we will see a rapid adoption of Wi-Fi 6/6E devices this year.
The major focus for OEMS this year will be to increase signal coverage and strength and offer faster Wi-Fi 6/6E devices at a range of price points. OEMs and ISPs will work together to improve the Quality of Service (QoS) and as the fiber deployment increases across the globe more demand will arise from xPON devices. Mesh Network systems will be in demand too, as a lot of ISPs are bundling it with their services and the mesh systems are a better choice for users with larger premises and more connected devices.
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