Home router giant NETGEAR has released its Nighthawk X6 platform, a tri-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac router that delivers speeds up to 3.2Gbps. It offers segmentation as a differentiator: it uses behind-the-scenes intelligence to segment slower and faster devices into the most appropriate Wi-Fi band for network load balancing.
The box also supports NETGEAR Beamforming+, a signal-focusing technology that improves Wi-Fi connections by locking onto a wireless device on the network and pinpointing Wi-Fi signals directly at the device. As consumers move, Beamforming+ adjusts for distance.
The 802.11ac version of Wi-Fi enables media applications for several hundred million residential gateways, service provider and over-the-top set top boxes (STBs), smart televisions and whole home audio systems. According to ABI Research (News - Alert), by the end of 2014, 802.11ac is expected to be included in more than 50 percent of total Wi-Fi integrated circuits shipped. ABI also predicts that as the technology continues to expand with new protocols, nearly 18 billion more chipsets will ship cumulatively from 2015 – 2019.
On the OEM front, the company has tapped Skyworks Solutions (News - Alert) to help power the two 5 GHz front-end modules, the 2.4 GHz and the radio frequency content across the bands.
“Skyworks is excited to be partnering with NETGEAR to capitalize on the increasing demand for high quality in-home entertainment,” said Bradley Byk, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Skyworks. “This analog-rich application is the industry’s first tri-band Wi-Fi router solution capable of providing up to two times the total data rate of routers available in the market today, allowing consumers to stream simultaneous HD content wirelessly on several devices at once.”
The HD support for over-the-top (OTT) applications like Netflix was one of the things that NETGEAR hopes to address.
“Today’s connected customers are using an increasing number of Wi-Fi devices in the home,” said Sandeep Harpalani, director of product marketing for retail networking products at NETGEAR. “By leveraging Skyworks’ leading-edge connectivity solutions within our Nighthawk X6 platform, we are able to provide customers with high-definition coverage throughout the home.”