Saturday, March 14, 2015

Netiquette IQ Blog Of The Day - Broadcom’s 5G WiFi


Broadcom’s 5G WiFi: 5 Ways it Improves Your Internet Experience

By: Blake Snow

Posted: Jan. 08, 2015

LAS VEGAS — Before I was hired to be part of Broadcom’s Blog Squad at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week, I hadn’t really given much thought to how much or how often an embedded semiconductor company touches our lives.
Home automation technology on display at the Broadcom booth at CES 2015.
I quickly discovered that Broadcom’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips and other connection wizardry reside in the mechanical closets of most of our gadgets. That includes phones, computers, set top boxes, game consoles, dongles — really any electronic device that wants to send and receive information—as well as the back-end networking equipment that transmits data to and from data centers.

I covered many topics for Broadcom this week, from smart homes todaythe future of wearables, and a show overview. But it was Broadcom’s newmulti-user Wi-Fi technology that interested me the most. And while that may sound fabulously boring, if not disingenuous, I really mean it.

Here’s why: Bandwidth is all I really crave now.

I don’t care about the specs in my iPhone, Chromebook, Roku, or any other gadget I own. I just want their apps to work. For that to happen, I need a robust connection at home and work that’s smart enough to handle the growing number of concurrent users and devices all working together to clog the intertubes.
Are You Wi-Fi Ready? Smart Devices Need Robust 5G WiFi to Maximize Their Potential

Earlier this week, Broadcom unveiled a suite of 5G WiFi-enabled router products designed to bring 802.11ac performance to the modern home Wi-Fi router or workhorse enterprise access points so that speedier, bandwidth-busting hubs can better serve every connected device.
Here are five reasons everyone should care about smarter, faster, wider-ranging and multi-user Wi-Fi:

It overcomes grainy video streams. I’m fortunate to have Google Fiber in my home. But the included 802.11n router is ill-suited for the task when several video streams or devices jump on the network. This is because old routers weren’t meant to handle the amount of devices we connect to them now. That, and they’re incapable of throttling older or distant devices that are hogging bandwidth, power, and signals as the access point attempts to maintain a connection with them. This is particularly troubling for video streams, one Broadcom engineer told me, which explains the lag I experience when my kids log on to Netflix while my wife and I use other Internet applications.

It supports multiple users. Because not all Web traffic is equal, the Internet can sometimes slow down, depending on the applications others are using on the network at the same time. “Wi-Fi is a lot like highway lanes,” Broadcom’s Ananda Roy, a wireless applications software engineer, told me this week. “5G WiFi widens those lanes and adds more of them so your newer devices don’t get stuck behind slow devices or in rush hour traffic.” I was unable to test the experience at home, but there’s no reason to believe the technology isn’t a significant improvement over my 802.11n router.

It plays nice with existing devices. Not only are 5G WiFi routers backward-compatible with older wireless devices, chances are, anything you’ve bought in the last three years already supports the standard. That means next-gen Wi-Fi is available today for less than it cost when it was released several years ago. Buying a new wireless router is anything but a status purchase, “but it improves the quality of experience of all the devices we love,” Roy said.

 It has better range and wall throughput. That’s a fancy way of saying 5G WiFi offers better coverage and signal strength to the devices you connect, whether they’re in the corner room upstairs, the basement downstairs, or passing through concrete walls at the office. In short, 5G WiFi lets you do more with the internet you already have because it manages multiple devices better, while future-proofing your home or office network.

 It downloads and transfers data 5x faster. Even though I get gigabit internet at home when wired in, I only get 200 mbps on wireless. First world problems, I know. But I’m paying for a Gig. Shouldn’t my router support it and all the glorious transfer speeds, downloads, and uploads that come with it? With 802.11ac Wave 2 routers, the answer is yes. And according to Broadcom’s Manny Patel, 5GWiFi performance is up to 40 percent faster than older variations of Wi-Fi. 
Reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I’m Blake Snow. Thanks for reading. May all your connections be speedy this year.

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