- Orbi – a tri-band Wi-Fi router mesh system
- Nighthawk X8 – AC5300 Tri-Band Wi-Fi modem router (D8500)
- Nighthawk X10 – Wi-Fi AD7200 router (R9000)
- Three new Arlo HD security cameras – the Arlo Baby Smart HD Baby Monitoring Camera, Arlo Pro Wire-Free HD Security Camera and Arlo Go Mobile HD Security Camera with 4G LTE.
One of the most sought-after products was a NETGEAR S8000 8-port gigabit Ethernet switch with 4 x 1000Mbps link aggregation for up to 4Gbps streaming to 4K video, VR, and backup devices. Port aggregation is becoming indispensable for large data files – Netflix’s 4K highly compressed video streaming is 7GB per hour. A 4K uncompressed movie occupies about 5.3GB per minute – around 700GB for a movie.
Also in vogue for 2017 is the return of small-to-medium business-based Network Attached Storage (cloud storage is still too slow and incurs costly data charges), PoE+ web managed switches, 4G LTE fall over modems, and business-grade Wi-Fi access points.
Patrick Lo, NETGEAR chief executive and founder, said, “For more than 20 years, our innovative networking solutions have continually expanded the outer limits of speed, connectivity, and intelligence. We connect the world – whether it be people to people, people to things, or things to things – both inside the smart home and outside in the mobile world, to enhance people’s lives.
“Now, a growing number of devices have the intelligence to speak directly to each other through the connected home and mobile networks made possible by NETGEAR. Whether it’s in streaming media, securing your home, or sharing business-critical data, NETGEAR is creating a new — and better — relationship between you and your world to help you thrive,” he added.
Wi-Fi AD7200 is fast but you need AD-equipped end-points for maximum speed
iTWire covered the X10 AD7200 announcement last October and is yet to review the R9000. Early international reviews state that it can indeed stream 4K video content over Wi-Fi, especially when married to a ReadyNAS Networked Attached Server and using port aggregation.
Wi-Fi AD7200 is made up as follows: 2.4HGHz x 800Mbps, 5GHz x 1733Mbps and 60GHz (AD) of 4600Mbps. The latter speed requires AD endpoints that won’t really come into mainstream use for a year or so. In the interim, there will be AD USB dongles to add this functionality to computers. But the real reason to buy this is future-proofing – most routers are bought with a 5-10-year usage timeframe. Note that 60GHz signals are “shorter” meaning that they don’t extend as far as 5GHz and 2.4GHz respectively.
With that in mind, you can save money using NETGEAR’s AC5300 router (R8500) that received iTWire’s tick of approval as it edged slightly above other AC5300 contenders for the most mature firmware and its active antenna. But it was very close!
Tri-band Mesh router – what Orbi means
Orbi is a mesh system – in other words, you can “weave” Wi-Fi around the home and to the garden shed by meshing satellite units together. Wherever you are in the mesh, your device will connect to a single SSID and the strongest signal. It is different to a typical range extender.
Each Orbi covers about 185 square metres of home space at up to AC3000 speed (dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 400Mbps, 866Mbps and 1733Mbps) with MU-MIMO and Beamforming. Importantly each provides up to four gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB 3.0 port. One connects to the existing gateway modem via Ethernet and the others are placed strategically around the home with the help of a placement app.
Wi-Fi cameras can keep you safer
The Arlo range of security cameras have a lack of local storage (cloud storage only) on some models and lack of a comprehensive network-based security platform limits their appeal. Nevertheless it is now a very comprehensive range, if only due to its flexibility.
In December, NETGEAR acquired Place meter an industry leader in computer vision analytics for transforming video into meaningful data that makes the physical world safer, smarter and more efficient. Place meter’s world class technology will merge with the Arlo Smart Home Security team to apply smart machine learning to NETGEAR products, beginning with cutting-edge video analytics solutions for the Arlo camera platform.
NAS (Network attached storage) is easy
Cloud storage can be expensive and slow – after a shooting a 100 or so 12MP photos (average size 4-5MB) I can have 500MB to upload to the cloud. But even at a blazing fast – not – speed of 256kbps upload (Telstra Ultimate cable 100Mbps down and 256Kbps up) it takes well over five hours to upload.
When NBN offer synchronous cloud (same speed both ways) I will consider it. For now, a NAS attached to the network gives me 1Gbps (or more if I port aggregate) potential speed (if you plug the smartphone into the network) or over Wi-Fi AC it takes about five minutes.
The same goes for streaming video – file sizes for HD content are usually 2GB for a movie. It is far faster to download the movie to the NAS and then stream from there (if your provider allows it) and some NAS devices have built-in DLNA and Plex media servers (eliminates the need for a separate computer to act as a streaming device).
NAS is also good for small business that may want to move to the cloud but cannot get the upload speeds or cost effective links.
Netgear’s ReadyNAS also allows remote connections (good for the home user too). It comes in 2, 4, 6 and 8 bay models and they can be populated with drives of one's choice – theoretically up to 80TB!