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Netgear lancerer 802.11ad-aktiveret Nighthawk X10 (R9000) Wi-Fi Router

The Wi-Fi router market has seen a yearly cadence of flagship releases since the first 802.11ac routers came into the market in early 2012. Starting with 3×3 solutions, the market moved on to 4×4 and MU-MIMO-enabled Wave 2 solutions. We also saw Broadcom taking the lead with a dual 5 GHz radio solution (that has now been adopted by Qualcomm Atheros also). Many networking equipment vendors introduced solutions based on this. The recent mesh networking craze is also an offshoot of this dual radio solution – a dedicated ‘invisible’ channel is used to link the satellite to the main router (a discussion for another day). At CES earlier this year, the TP-Link Talon-meddelelse indicated that tri-band Wi-Fi was getting traction in the market. Tri-band Wi-Fi involves radios operating in 2.4 GHz (802.11n), 5 GHz (802.11ac) and 60 GHz (802.11ad) bands. Today, Netgear is launching their first tri-band Wi-Fi solution – the flagship Nighthawk X10. It will be marketed as an AD7200-class router and will carry the R9000 model number.

Similar to the other AD7200 routers in the market, the Nighthawk X10 adopts a dual band 4×4 802.11ac solution for (1733 Mbps + 800 Mbps) and a 1×1 802.11ad solution for 4600 Mbps to justify the AD7200 tag.

Der er i øjeblikket to 802.11ad routere på markedet, the Acelink BR-6774AD and the TP-LINK AD7200 (Talon). Both models are pure Qualcomm solutions (i.e, the radios, switches and network processor are all from Qualcomm). The Nighthawk X10 aims to differentiate itself from the existing solution by integrating first-to-market features – both in terms of hardware and software. It is the first consumer router to sport a 10G network interface, and it is the first router capable of running Plex with transcoding capabilities in a standalone manner.

Qualcomm’s IPQ solutions are pure network processors and do not have a video processing engine to enable the Plex capabilities that Netgear wanted to integrate in the Nighthawk X10. Therefore, Netgear decided to go with Qualcomm only for the radios (and, likely, the switches too). The network processing as well as the media capabilities are handled by a quad-core Annapurna Labs SoC running at 1.7 GHz. While Netgear didn’t officially confirm the SoC model number, the specifications point to the Annapurna Labs AL-514 as the likely candidate. If this SoC sounds familiar to readers, it is the same as the one vi så i Synology DS2015xs. Den har fire Cortex-A15 kerner, der kører ved 1.7 GHz og leveres med flere netværksgrænseflader (inklusive native 10G-funktioner). Netgear hævder, at AL-514 er den hurtigste routerprocessor til rådighed for forbrugermarkedet. Det nøjagtige layout af bestyrelsen (antal afbrydere og den måde, hvorpå linkforbindelses-kompatible netværksgrænseflader er tilsluttet til SoC) vil være interessant at analysere, når R9000 er ude på det åbne marked.

Netgear introducerede deres aktive antenne design (flytte TX-effektforstærkere fra brættet til de aftagelige antenner) i Nighthawk X8. I X10'en flyttes RX-effektforstærkere også ud af hovedkortet, hvilket yderligere reducerer støjproblemer og forbedrer robustheden.

Ud over de indlysende båndbreddefordele medfører 802.11ad også en signifikant reduktion i latens sammenlignet med 802.11ac. 60 GHz-båndet er ikke genstand for interferens som 2.4 GHz og endda 5 GHz-båndet nu. Disse aspekter gør teknologien ideel til en række anvendelsessager, der simpelthen ikke var egnet til traditionel Wi-Fi. VR gaming og 4K streaming bliver fremmet af Netgear som ideelle applikationer til Nighthawk X10.

I modsætning til 802.11ac, hvor USB WLAN-adaptere var tilgængelige for køb, da de første routere kom ind på markedet, er 802.11ad-økosystemet lige kommet i gang. Der er en eksisterende installationsbase in terms of dedicated docking solutions, and Intel’s newer vPro-enabled platforms have Wi-Gig support. However, it is not clear whether all existing Wi-Gig products in the market will be interoperable with the AD7200 routers. It must also be remembered that 802.11ad is a short-range line-of-sight technology – this means that the AD7200 routers can’t be tucked away out of sight in a closet. The industrial design of the R9000 is similar to previous routers, and I am not entirely sure the market appreciates that in the living room (often cited as the reason for the attractively designed mesh routers becoming popular). The other strange feature is the 10G SFP+ fiber port. My market research revealed no consumer NAS models with that network interface. A 10G BASE-T port would have been nice, but, that increases the BOM cost. Consumers must note that the real-world performance of 802.11ad, like all other Wi-Fi technologies, is nowhere near the theoretical numbers. Under ideal conditions, real-world TCP throughputs of the order of 1.7 Gbps can be expected.

Netgear is also aiming to simplify setup and operation of the unit with a new ‘Netgear Up’ router installation app for both iOS and Android. Various housekeeping tasks will also be supported in that app.

Derudover understøttes også det sædvanlige sæt Nighthawk-funktioner som ReadyCloud, OpenVPN osv. R9000 vil også blive understøttet af Min Open Router Netgear open source community. Installationen af ​​open source firmware vil dog resultere i tab af værditilsætningsfunktioner som Plex.

Netgear R9000 Nighthawk X10 er nu tilgængelig til køb i butikker samt e-tail butikker til $ 500.

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