5G WiFi Lineup Continues to Grow: Welcome D-Link

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Broadcom Connected Blog

The 5G WiFi ecosystem just continues to grow, as D-Link today became the latest company to offer a product equipped with Broadcom’s 5G WiFi technology.

The Power of 5G WiFi

Called the Cloud Router 5700 (DIR-865L), D-Link’s product uses 802.11ac technology (5G WiFi) to deliver wireless speeds of up to 1,750 Mbps – three times faster than the previous generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11n. The differentiation comes not only from gigabit speeds but also higher capacity and broader coverage for home networks – features that are enhancing the adoption of high-bandwidth gaming and HD streaming applications.

Broadcom has been leading the market adoption of 802.11ac by being first to sample and ship the technology. It’s focused on enabling the 5G WiFi ecosystem across all major wireless product segments, including routers and mobile devices. D-Link is the latest company to further enable this transition to faster, more reliable wireless coverage for HD-quality video streaming and near instantaneous data synch.

How fast is Broadcom’s 5G WiFi and what does it enable? Check out the fun video below for a sampling of its speed and click through the interactive graphic for more detailed look at its capabilities.

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5G WiFi: Pioneering the New Generation of Wireless Connectivity

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Broadcom Connected Blog

In the tech industry, five years can be an eternity.

The iPhone hit retail shelves in June 2007 — five years ago this month. That same year, 802.11n — the fourth-generation of Wi-Fi technology — was introduced as a wireless technology that would meet the new consumer demands for medium-resolution video, such as those found on YouTube, a then two-year-old start-up that had just been acquired by Google.

Today, smartphone shipments around the globe are up more than 600 percent since those long ago days of 2007. Tablet PCs such as the iPad, which weren’t even on the consumer radar five years ago, have reached mainstream penetration. Nearly 73 million tablets were shipped worldwide in 2011, according to research firm NPD DisplaySearch. Now, things like Internet-connected gaming consoles, set-top boxes and TVs are joining the Wi-Fi ecosystem.

The power of 5G WiFi

Certainly, the architects of 802.11n did not design the technology with this sort of usage in-mind. Just as the second generation of Wi-Fi, designed for emailing, was succeeded by a third generation built to support a data rich Web surfing experience, the evolution of Wi-Fi continues today with the arrival of 802.11ac, or 5G WiFi.

Broadcom kick-started the 5G WiFi movement with the announcement of 802.11ac chipsets at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, introducing the first steps in building a more robust and reliable wireless pipeline.

While 5G WiFi is designed to meet the needs of today’s consumers and their computing lifestyles, the engineers have also looked ahead at the other uses that 5G WiFi is poised to accelerate. Consider that 5G WiFi works on a spectrum that’s different from its predecessor and uses beam-forming and other innovations to penetrate all forms of building materials, including concrete. It’s a shift that will help eliminate so-called “deadspots” in a Wi-Fi network.

But that’s just one difference. Consider the following:

  • 5G WiFi is at the center of a movement called “The Internet of Things,” the idea that non-computing devices, such as home appliances or medical devices, can be networked to interact with smartphones, tablets and even hospital computer systems to provide convenience, energy efficiency and advanced health care services.
  • 5G WiFi is the needed link to a fully networked television experience, one where content from a variety of sources — online providers, as well as pay-TV operators — can be seamlessly transferred from one screen, such as a TV, to another screen, such as a smartphone.
  • 5G WiFi is considered to be one of the technologies that will help video chat and conferencing services to gain traction among mainstream users.
  • 5G WiFi could be the savior to mobile carriers whose networks are becoming overloaded by data-hungry devices. 5G WiFi’s greater capacity for offloading data traffic provides the capabilities for many more simultaneous connections, offering a better user experience.
  • 5G WiFi chips, which will transfer files faster than previous wireless chips, are considered to be up to six times more power efficient. That means mobile phones, for example, will be able to go longer between battery rechargings while still handling more cumbersome tasks.

While Broadcom initially forecast the arrival of 5G WiFi-powered products for summer 2012, its partners — excited about the prospects of next-generation Wi-Fi services — jump-started the efforts with announcements of routers and other retail products in the spring months. The race is on to implement the fastest Wi-Fi yet.

Since that CES announcement, Broadcom has continued to innovate and expand the potential reach of 5G WiFi, including the February launch of a 5G WiFi system-on-chip (SoC) designed to address growing demand for gigabit speeds in enterprise, wireless cloud networks and carrier access.

At the Computex show in Taiwan earlier this month, Broadcom introduced new, highly integrated SoCs designed to unlock the full potential of 5G WiFi networking for home gateways and SMB access points, network attached storage (NAS) boxes and other devices.

Broadcom’s new SoCs allow device makers to bring 5G WiFi routers, gateways and access points to market with full features and performance at price points that will ignite the growth of the developing 5G WiFi ecosystem.

With these new chips already sampling to Broadcom’s customers, the next generation of Wi-Fi featuring gigabit speeds is well on its way!

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ASUS Rolls out 5G WiFi Dual-Band Router

ASUS, the Taiwan-based maker of PCs, laptops, mobile phones and servers, rolled out several new products at COMPUTEX today, including a new dual-band, Gigabit router featuring 5th generation WiFi (5G WiFi) technology, enabling wireless speeds up to three times faster than existing routers.

The new ASUS RT-AC66U router uses combined 2.4GHz/5GHz bandwidths, coupled with exclusive ASUS AiRadar signal amplification and shaping technology, to achieve 1.75 Gigabits per second – a massive data rate increase that makes it an excellent choice for demanding online applications.

One of the world’s first dual-band wireless routers to support the advanced 802.11ac wireless protocol, and among the first to achieve Gigabit wireless speeds, the RT-AC66U maintains the ASUS tradition of networking excellence established by previous ASUS high speed routers. It allows for easy and fast setup in just three steps with the ASUSWRT dashboard, and upholds strict QoS standards for the most reliable networking and download multitasking available. With QoS, the RT-AC66U has better bandwidth optimization and offers Download Master capabilities, which mean fast background downloading even post-shutdown. Up to eight SSIDs are supported, so users can easily setup distinct networks with different access privileges and levels of security without having to compromise passwords. The RT-AC66U supports the new IPv6 standard for better packet transmission and addressing.

USB applications extend router versatility

With its twin USB ports, the RT-AC66U becomes a true multi-role device. Attaching a 3G dongle allows it to share 3G connections among several users on different devices, while full DLNA compatibility affords smooth connectivity with a variety of entertainment platforms, including game consoles, Blu-ray players, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. The RT-AC66U can also serve as a dedicated FTP server and printer server, letting users share resources for greater productivity while reducing costs as there is no need to buy standalone server hardware.

Full 5G WiFi product lineup

In addition to the RT-AC66U router, ASUS has also released the PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 clients, both 5G WiFi capable. The dual-band PCE-AC66 offers a PCI Express client card for desktops, with 3 x 3 high-powered transmission. It can sustain 1.3Gbps in 5GHz and up to 450Mbps in the 2.4GHz band. For easy USB upgrades to 802.11ac, the USB-AC53 compact dongle plugs into any USB port, with 2 x 2 802.11ac. In 5GHz, the attachment can maintain 867Mbps, while in 2.4GHz it works at 300Mbps, achieving a total throughput of around 1.3Gbps. The PCE-AC66 and USB-AC53 are enabled by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chips, and demonstrate ASUS technology leadership in bringing an 802.11ac ecosystem to consumers.

Further information on 5G WiFi can be found at www.5GWiFi.org

5G WiFi: The Standard for the Mobile Age

Increasingly, the Internet is moving to mobile devices. In fact, the speed of this migration has even taken social media platforms like Facebook by surprise.

Savvy tech companies will learn from this.

The stratospheric increase in the use of smart phones with sophisticated apps and web browsing abilities means that the platform is quickly reaching (and perhaps soon exceeding) the functional capabilities of current televisions and desktop PCs.

With their high performance processors and large data storage capabilities, smart phones are quickly becoming mini television sets and game players as well as mini computers.

The only significant bottleneck in the system is the wireless connection.

Current wireless standards simply don’t have the bandwidth to handle the applications that users are now expecting – and content providers are close to providing.

As a solution, the 5GWiFi or IEEE 802.11ac standard allows wireless networks keep pace with our constantly expanding use of computers, phones, and tablets, for both work and fun.

The new IEEE 802.11ac is a worldwide standard that offers at least triple the transmission speeds of current Wi-Fi products using IEEE 802.11n.

Even the slowest IEEE 802.11ac connection will be about as fast as a today’s USB 2.0 wired links, which are widely used in external storage and far better than existing wireless data rates.

This means that even on mobile devices, streaming video won’t freeze or sputter and Web downloads won’t slow to a crawl when multiple devices are in use, 5GWiFi provides a technology to ensure that the user experience is everything they expect.

NETGEAR Unveils 5G WiFi Routers and Notebook Adapter

At a joint event with Broadcom in San Francisco today, NETGEAR announced the first 802.11ac adapter for notebooks, and showed two versions of routers.

The A6200 WiFi Adapter is the first USB 802.11ac-based adapter on the market for client devices like notebook computers. The A6200 notebook adapter docks to client devices using a USB 2.0 port. It’s expected to cost about $69 and will ship in August.

David Henry, vice president of product management for NETGEAR, told a crowd of reporters that the high-end, three-stream R6300 is available online Thursday for the previously announced price of $199.99 and is expected to be available in retail stores by the end of the week.

NETGEAR also unveiled the R6200, a two-stream, mid-range version of the R6300 that will retail for about $179.99 beginning in July.

aLL devices use Broadcom 5G WiFi chips to deliver up to 1,300 Mbps speeds on the 5 GHz band, plus additional coverage in the earlier 2.4 GHz band for combined performance well above the Gigabit range.

Both the adapter and routers are backward compatible with previous Wi-Fi routers and clients.

Michael Hurlston, senior vice president at Broadcom, said he expects that 802.11ac technology will be integrated into PCs during the third quarter of this year, followed by televisions in the fourth quarter, and finally mobile phones in early 2013, largely due to their differing development cycles.

Earlier this week, BuffaloTechnology shipped its first 5G WiFi router.

Need More Spectrum

Wireless spectrum is like freeways: the more you build, the more traffic you get. There was certainly a time when the 110 freeway through downtown Los Angeles was synonymous with smooth sailing at 55 miles per hour, but for decades, the world’s highest-capacity freeway network has filled every additional lane that got built with twice as much traffic as before.

I noticed this tweet from Stephen Lawson a couple of days ago that suggests cellular operators are running up against the same problem:

Stephen has a number of other comments from his trip to CTIA, including what might seem like a surprising statistic: wireless subscriptions have achieved 105% penetration in the United States. Surprising when I think back to my summer job with a CDMA operator in 1998 where everyone wondered if cell phones would ever achieve 30% market penetration; unsurprising given that today I have three wireless subscriptions.

With so many wireless devices in service, it’s definitely no surprise that we’re running out of spectrum, especially as more and more of these mobile devices are used for high-bandwidth video applications. And while allocating a significant amount of additional spectrum could solve the problem in the short-term, that’s not a simple solution – roughly 1 GHz of total cellular bandwidth has been set aside worldwide, but in any given country, it is shared with dozens of other wireless applications, including television, radio, satellites and navigation. (This 2003 chart of United States frequency allocations is very instructive!) The pace of clearing spectrum to open up new cellular bands is very slow because it often requires completely changing existing technology in a band – think about how long it took to switch to digital television, which created the already at-capacity 700 MHz LTE bands.

Fortunately, 5G WiFi presents a solution to this problem. The 5 GHz band, where 5G WiFi operates, offers another 1 GHz of spectrum that can potentially be used to offload high-bandwidth cellular usage to Wi-Fi. Much of this band is already open for Wi-Fi use in the United States and other countries, and the remainder may be licensed in the near future. The even better news is that the capacity of the 5 GHz band is even greater than a similar amount of cellular spectrum: there are significantly fewer users in this band than there are in cellular bands, and the reduced range of Wi-Fi relative to cellular (several hundred meters vs several kilometers) allows even more users to share the spectrum. While it’s difficult for cellular spectrum allocations to keep up with the growth in a carrier’s customers, for example, 5G WiFi presents an opportunity to quickly build 10 times as many freeways, so to speak. Even Los Angeles would have smooth traffic with that kind of increase in capacity.

Buffalo Technology 5G WiFi Products in stores

Buffalo Technology, a leader in wired and wireless networking and direct attached storage solutions, has selected the 5G WiFi standard to realize a 3x improvement in download performance, increased signal integrity and wider coverage for its new generation of routers.

A Buffalo Technology statement said the company has selected Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chips for its new AirStation™ WZR-D1800H wireless router and WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge, both available now at select retail locations.

“Buffalo is again at the forefront of wireless networking, delivering the world’s first Wi-Fi router leveraging 802.11ac technology in a cost-effective, high performance package,” said Hajime Nakai, chief executive officer at Buffalo Technology.

First unveiled at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the AirStation™ router and bridge combination use Broadcom’s 5G WiFi to implement the emerging 802.11ac wireless standard for improved download speeds, reduced power consumption in mobile devices, and wider coverage areas. The 5G WiFi devices are also fully backward compatible with earlier  wireless protocols, including 802.11a, 11b, 11g and 11n.

Operating in the 5 GHz spectrum, 802.11ac offers transfer speeds up to 1300 Mbps, ideal for uninterrupted HD video streaming and concurrent Internet access. Buffalo’s 802.11ac products will also feature improved signal reliability and produce better in-home coverage for ultra-portable devices such as tablets and smart phones. As 5G WiFi proliferates into phones and tablets, the chips will enable even better coverage and faster download times, improving the battery life of client devices.

“5G WiFi will improve the HD video streaming experience with its higher speeds, enhanced range and increased reliability,” said Michael Hurlston, Broadcom’s SVP and GM of the Wireless Combo Connectivity line of business. “Buffalo Technology’s products using Broadcom’s chipsets give consumers the fastest, most robust wireless networking solutions available.”

Buffalo’s AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H provides a dependable, high quality signal boasting speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, and 450Mbps on the 2.4 GHz 3×3 802.11n band. This enables a total aggregate wireless throughput up to 1750 Mbps for extremely fast data syncing, video streaming, and wireless networking.

The AirStation AC1300 / N450 4-Port Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Ethernet Bridge WLI-H4-D1300 is a versatile dual band media bridge connecting up to four network-enabled wired devices, such as media players and gaming consoles, using the 802.11ac network. Using the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz spectrum for transfer speeds up to 1300 Mbps, the bridge offers uninterrupted HD video streaming and concurrent Internet access from multiple connected devices.

The WZR-D1800H and WLI-H4D1300 are available now at Fry’s, Frys.com and NewEgg.com at an estimated price of $179.99 each. For more information about Buffalo Technology see www.buffalotech.com.

Belkin Intros 5G WiFi Routers for Gigabit-Speed Home Networking

Belkin International, creators of people-inspired products and technology solutions, today announced plans to become one of the first to market with a line of wireless Gigabit-speed dual-band home network routers using the new 802.11ac wireless networking standard.

The new Belkin routers, expected to be available in June, will feature 5G WiFi chips from Broadcom Corporation. 5G WiFi or 802.11ac chips provided wireless transmission speeds up to three times faster than existing technology for higher performance and reliability and lower power consumption.

“802.11ac technology provides the wireless networking backbone needed to reliably handle the increasing amount of mobile devices and streaming content on today’s home networks,” said Mike Chen, senior director of networking at Belkin. “We are excited to partner with Broadcom to bring cutting-edge Wi-Fi products to market this summer that not only provide great speed and coverage, but also enhance the online streaming experience for videos, movies, and music throughout the home.”

The gigabit data rates of 5G WiFi enable dramatically faster file syncing, music and movie downloads to mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The higher speeds also save battery life, while the focused transmission beam extends the throughput and reliability of the router.

Michael Hurlston, Broadcom’s senior vice president of Wireless Combo Connectivity, said Belkin is “strongly positioned to help drive the transition to the fifth generation of Wi-Fi.”

“By incorporating Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chips, Belkin’s new products will improve home wireless range, provide faster video streaming, enable simultaneous connection of multiple devices to the network, and deliver broader coverage-all with a longer battery life,” said Hurlston. “We’re thrilled to partner with Belkin to help bring all the benefits of 5G WiFi to consumers.”

The lineup of products powered by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi technology continues to grow. Last month, NETGEAR unveiled its 5GWiFi-powered router.

Broadcom is the first chip company to release 5G WiFi devices using the emerging 802.11ac standard.

For more information about Belkin’s 5G WiFi products, visit www.Belkin.com/networking/ac-routers.  Belkin can also be found on the web at Belkin.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/belkin, and on Twitter at Twitter.com/belkin.