Netgear has begun the rollout of its 802.11ac Wi-Fi product lines designed to support far higher wireless speeds than ever before.
The company unveiled a pair of new devices for the Wi-Fi standard while announcing the shipment of its first 802.11ac product, the R6300 home router.
Reaching speeds of up to 1300Mbit/s, Netgear believes the 802.11ac platform will provide dramatic performance improvements over current-generation 802.11n devices, which it believes will soon become unable to handle data traffic loads.
Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of wireless at R6300 hardware development partner Broadcom, told reporters that as connected devices emerge and video streaming grows more popular, routers will need to handle far larger traffic loads.
"It is that proliferation that has driven the need for a new wireless networking standard," he said.
"The number of devices that are competing for bandwidth becomes an enormous problem."
Both firms see 802.11ac as the solution to emerging wireless connectivity issues. In addition to the larger bandwidth, 802.11ac hardware boasts a smaller energy consumption to improve battery life on mobile devices and 802.11ac routers will offer improved signal quality and range over 802.11n hardware.
Netgear said that the its R6300 router will soon be joined on the market by two more products. The R6200 router will be offered as a lower-cost alternative for networks with fewer connected devices, while the A6200 USB adaptor will allow notebooks and PCs with legacy Wi-Fi hardware to achieve 802.11ac networking speeds.
David Henry, vice president of product management for Netgear, said users will see an immediate and dramatic impact from the new Wi-Fi format.
"That speed improvement is the difference," he said. "Where 802.11n is like being in a family sedan on the highway in San Francisco, 802.11ac is like driving in a sports car on the Autobahn with no traffic."
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