Oct 03 2015

News - SiliconDust Opens HDHomeRun DVR Early Access

If you've been kicking yourself for missing out on the HDHomeRun DVR funding campaign, and the associated early builds of the software. SiliconDust is now allow you to opt-in to get access and a year of service for the same price as the original Kickstarter.


Oct 01 2015

News - NETGEAR Announces Quad-core A15 ReadyNAS 212/214

We recently reviewed NETGEAR’s ReadyNAS 202 finding it an excellent option for consumer NAS. Building on the device’s solid performance, NETGEAR announced the ReadyNAS 212 & 214 today bumping the spec from dual to a quad-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex A15 for the 2XX family. The general feature set hasn’t changed; still offering all of the great backup and cloud goodness as before. The increased CPU performance has been put to good use in the ReadyNAS 21X, with software based (single stream 1080p->480p) transcoding now available via Plex, penalty free real-time A/V scanning, and the full potential of dual Gigabit link aggregation in the box. I for one am very interested in seeing how these $329/$499 NAS devices perform in real conditions, especially with NETGEAR making link aggregation much more approachable to the average consumer with today’s other product announcement.

Full PR after the click.

Oct 01 2015

News - NETGEAR Announces Tri-band AC5300 X8 R8500 802.11AC Wi-Fi Router

Today NETGEAR announced the latest addition to their high-end consumer 802.11AC Wi-Fi routers; the $400 Nighthawk X8 R8500. Like other “AC5300” routers the X8 is based on a 1.4GHz SoC with tri-band Wave2 sporting one “1000Mbps” 2.4GHz and two “2166Mbps” 5GHz radios. Unlike previous generations of 802.11AC routers the X8 has two features which make it very unique compared to the competition; powered antennas and six Gigabit Ethernet ports. With two of the wired ports supporting link aggregation (including 802.3ad) it pairs nicely with NETGEAR’s other product announcement.

Unfortunately MU-MIMO is not yet enabled on the device, but the hardware is ready -- just waiting on firmware which should ship by end-of-year. While this is interesting, to take full advantage clients will need to be MU-MIMO enabled as well so it isn’t nearly as exciting as the active antennas which take signal amplification away from the noisy mainboard and places it where it can make the most difference to every wireless client, as well as cutting down on the number of physical antennas hanging off the router. According to NETGEAR’s PR, this has incredible benefit (see above), and I’m inclined to agree, but of course it’s something that we’ll want to test out before repeating it too loudly.

Full PR after the click.

Sep 25 2015

Review - D-Link AC3200 Ultra Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router - DIR-890L

D-Link DIR-890L

Last January I had a chance to check out D-Link’s upcoming lineup of big-red routers (a welcome departure from the bland canister of previous years Smile), with the $290/£215 DIR-890L being the first to ship and the first to make it into “the lab”. Offering a dual-core 1GHz CPU, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and USB2.0/3.0 expansion it ticks all the boxes of a modern high-end 802.11AC Wi-Fi router. What makes the D-Link DIR-890L interesting is that it is our first look at Broadcom’s XStream platform, which pairs 1x2.4GHz (600Mbps) alongside 2x5GHz (1300Mbps) radios to earn the AC3200 moniker. With next generation “Wave 2” AC2350 802.11AC routers already on the market, the obvious question is how the Tri-band approach holds up against newer technology. Let’s find out.

Sep 03 2015

News - The FCC Wants To Eliminate Custom Wi-Fi Router Firmware

I was quite a shocked the other day to discover that the FCC wants to ban custom/3rd party firmware for Wi-Fi routers like dd-wrt. The goal, which is understandable from their perspective, is to remove the ability of radio wireless devices to work outside of their allowable parameters. The problem is that this is one of those "use a sledgehammer to crack a nut" solutions - it is inappropriately disproportionate. Fortunately it's not too late to act, and someone has setup a page on what we can do which includes sending feedback to the FCC via their website.

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