Five things to know before you buy a new router in 2020

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> Tyler Lizenby/CNET If you’re looking for more horsepower from your home network, 엠카지노추천 a new Wi-Fi router might be in order. Problem is, shopping for an upgrade can get confusing in a hurry. What does all of the jargon mean? How fast is fast enough? Is it worth it to spend extra for a multipoint mesh router, or for one that supports the newest version of Wi-Fi, called Wi-Fi 6?

Don’t feel overwhelmed. There are certainly lots of specs and technical nuances that go with wireless networking, but if you’re just looking for a reliable router that you don’t need to think about too much, you’ll do just fine if you understand a few key basics. Here’s what to know before you zero in on a purchase.

Speed ratings are basically bullsh*t

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: The speed ratings you’ll see on the packaging as you stroll down the router aisle are essentially meaningless.

Enlarge Image”Combined speeds” is a meaningless, misleading term. For instance, this router makes it seem like it can hit speeds of 2.2Gbps (2,200Mbps), but in reality, its fastest band has a top speed of 867Mbps — and that’s only in a controlled lab environment.

Ry Crist/CNET I’m talking about figures like “AC1200” and “AX6000.” The letters there tell you what version of Wi-Fi the router supports — “AC” for Wi-Fi 5, or 802.11ac and “AX” for Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax. The numbers give you a rough sense of the combined speeds of each of the router’s bands — typically 2.4 and 5GHz, and perhaps a second 5GHz band if we’re talking about a triband router.

The problem is that you can only connect to one of those bands at a time. When you add their top speeds together, the result is a highly inflated figure that doesn’t represent the speeds you’ll actually experience. If it’s a triband mesh router that uses that third band as a dedicated connection between the router and its extenders, then that band’s speeds don’t directly apply to your device connections at all. 

To make matters worse, those top speeds on the box are actually theoretical maximums derived from lab-based manufacturer tests that don’t take real-world factors like distance, 엠카지노추천 physical obstructions or network congestion into account. Even at close range, your actual connection will be a lot slower.

None of that stops manufacturers from using those speed ratings to describe how fast their products are. For instance, that hypothetical AX6000 router might claim to support speeds of up to 6,000Mbps — which is nonsense. A router is only as fast as its fastest band. Don’t be fooled.

Your ISP sets the speed limit

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how fast your router is — you’ll only be able to connect as fast as the plan from your internet service provider allows. If you’re paying for download speeds of, say, 100Mbps, then that’s as fast as your router will transmit data from the cloud. Period.

That’s a significant limitation these days. In our own top speed tests, M카지노 we’re seeing a growing number of routers that can comfortably hit speeds of 1,000Mbps or faster — but with the average fixed broadband speed in the US currently sitting at just over 100Mbps (or 엠카지노주소 less, if your ISP throttles your connection), few of us can hope to surf the web as fast as that anytime soon.

That isn’t to say that fast routers aren’t worthwhile. Upgrading to a faster, more powerful access point can help you get the most out of your internet connection, especially when you’re connecting at range. To that end, be sure to keep an eye on our latest reviews as you shop around to get a good sense of the specific routers that might be the best fir for your home. We’re constantly testing new models and updating our best lists with new test data.

New routers that support Wi-Fi 6 like the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien are available now — but for most, it isn’t a priority upgrade just yet.

Chris Monroe/CNET Wi-Fi 6 is here — but it’s still early

Wi-Fi 6 is the newest, fastest version of Wi-Fi, and it’s the main reason we’re starting to see so many new routers capable of hitting gigabit speeds with ease. You can read more about the way the speedy new standard works in my full Wi-Fi 6 explainer, but the gist is that it lets your router send more information more efficiently to multiple devices at once.

There are all sorts of new routers available this year that support Wi-Fi 6, including ones that cost a lot less than you’d expect — but there are still relatively few Wi-Fi 6 client devices outside of early flagships like the iPhone 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S10. Wi-Fi 6 is backward-compatible, mind you, so it’ll still work with your existing, older-gen Wi-Fi devices. It just won’t do anything to speed them up, because those older devices don’t support the new features that make Wi-Fi 6 faster than before.

Eventually, we’re going to start seeing Wi-Fi 6 support in things like media streamers, tablets, smart home gadgets and other common client devices. As you fill your home with devices like those, a Wi-Fi 6 router will become a more meaningful upgrade (and, again, it’ll help if ISP speeds can play catch-up in the next few years, too). For now, though, it’s more of a future-proofing extra than a must-have.

A mesh router like the three-piece Eero setup tested here can help spread a stronger signal throughout your home.

Steve Conaway/CNET Don’t forget about coverage

We tend to fixate on speeds when we talk about routers, but the truth is that there are really only two Wi-Fi speeds that matter in most cases: “fast enough,” and “not fast enough.” After all, having a blazing fast connection in the same room as the router is great, but it means little if you can’t get a strong signal when you’re trying to stream a late-night Netflix binge in your bedroom on the other side of the house.

That’s why, for most people, the most meaningful move you can make for your home network is to upgrade from a standalone, single-point router to an expandable mesh system that uses multiple devices to better spread a speedy signal throughout your house. Mesh systems like those typically won’t hit top speeds that are quite as high as a single-point router, but they make up for it by delivering Wi-Fi that’s “fast enough” to all corners of your home.

Streaming wars spill into CES 2020 as media nabs the spotlight

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> CES officially kicks off Tuesday. 

Getty Images This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around. Every year, CES draws the tech-obsessed to gawk at fancy televisions and off-the-wall gadgets. This year, though, the conference’s long-running media sideshow is flooding onto the main stage, including two keynotes by companies vying to shape the future of TV.  

Media companies and marketers long have fueled a show-behind-the-show at CES, one that has little to do with the next hot doodad. The mobs of media folks in Las Vegas may never even make it over to any of the big show floors. Instead, they’re squirreled away in hotel suite meetings or mingling at panels and parties around the Aria Resort & Casino, the epicenter of CES’ media confab sometimes referred to as Tech South.

Meanwhile, 엠카지노추천 companies seem to be rushing toward a convergence of tech and media.

On one hand, tech giants are pouring resources into becoming media heavyweights. That goes for stalwarts like Netflix, estimated to have unleashed a $15 billion budget for programming last year, as well as relative newcomers to video like Apple, which launched its Apple TV Plus in November on the back of a reported $6 billion budget to rope in some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. And AT&T’s $85 billion takeover of HBO-owner Time Warner — now WarnerMedia — finally made it into the clear last year. 

On the other hand, traditional media players are arming themselves with tech firepower like never before. Disney launched its Netflix competitor, Disney Plus, in November, a culmination of its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox last year and of years spent reorienting the entire company around the service. And Comcast’s NBCUniversal is waiting in the wings to follow suit with its own streaming service, called Peacock, early this year. 

CES 2017 brought the unveiling of Hulu’s live-television streaming subscription, and 2016 was marked by Netflix’s keynote reveal that it launched worldwide except in China. What does CES 2020 have in store? Here’s a peek at the media presence in Vegas this year.

Streaming wars at CES

The streaming wars are pitting a raft of new streaming services against each other, and they’re all launching within about seven months of each other. The outcomes of these skirmishes will shape the future of television — and affect how much you pay to watch your favorite shows and movies. Apple and Disney were first to enter the fray in November, and three more companies are launching their competitors, backed by billions of dollars in investment, in the first few months of 2020. 

And all three of them are presenting at CES this year. 

The first is probably one most people have never heard of: Quibi, which has even morphed its Twitter name to “WTFisQuibi” in recent weeks. Backed by every major Hollywood studio, Quibi is being touted as a star-studded mobile subscription service for short-form video — “quick bites,” or quibis, as the company has dubbed them. 

Quibi boasts an eye-popping slate of talent. Among traditional Hollywood stars, Quibi has lined up Dwayne Johnson, Chrissy Teigen, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Idris Elba, 엠카지노추천 Zac Efron, Tina Fey and husband-and-wife combo Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner (but on different shows) — as well as a dizzying number of others. Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott are all contributing series. Plus, Quibi has recruited popular online celebs like Liza Koshy, Shan Boodram and Rachel Hollis.

Now playing: Watch this: CES 2020 preview: Surprise booths, slim screens and smart… 2:56 The company has stayed mum about the talent it’ll be bringing to the CES stage. But Quibi’s CES keynote is shaping up to be the service’s big public unveiling ahead of its April 6 launch, so your safest bet in Vegas next week will probably be that Quibi tries to blow away the trade show with celebrity wattage. 

So far, Quibi has said the service will cost $8 a month for ad-free memberships or $5 for monthly subscriptions that also run ads. The keynote will be Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. PT in the Park Theater, led by Quibi founder and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, the former chief of eBay and Hewlett-Packard. 

Katzenberg hasn’t been shy about Quibi’s ambition, saying the service should become as definitive for short video as Google is to search. “Five years from now … if we got this right, there will have been the era of movies, the era of television and the era of Quibi,” he said at SXSW in March.

The second combatant in the streaming wars to take the main CES stage is Comcast’s NBCUniversal, which will also launch Peacock in April. Peacock will be leaning into its back catalog of shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation. It hopes to make a reboot of The Office, as well as planned revivals of Battlestar Galactica by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell. 

But we don’t know nearly as many details about Peacock yet. The service will have a paid subscription and another tier supported by advertising, but it hasn’t specified price yet. We know some of the programming slated for Peacock, but not nearly all. One odd thing about NBCUniversal’s CES keynote: It comes a week before the company will hold a large private event unveiling Peacock in detail. 

NBCU’s keynote will also be Wednesday at the Park Theater, but at 4 p.m. PT. Officially titled “If TV Was Invented Today: NBCUniversal Reimagines the Future of Entertainment,” it will be led by the company’s head of advertising and partnerships, Linda Yaccarino, and it will include talent like Mandy Moore, star of NBC’s This is Us, and Terry Crews, host of America’s Got Talent. 

Finally, AT&T’s HBO Max will unleash in May with Friends, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones and Watchmen plus its own lineup of originals. Though AT&T’s WarnerMedia — the division behind HBO Max — isn’t presenting a keynote, it will make a presentation at the media-focused conference in the Aria on Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. PT. The tech chief of WarnerMedia, Jeremy Legg, and Andy Forssell, 엠카지노주소 the group’s head of direct-to-consumer business (that is, streaming) are set to describe their experiences building a streaming video platform. 

Media mavens should also keep their eyes on: 

a Digital Hollywood conference track Monday

a Future of TV Is Now conference track Tuesday, as well as one focused on marketing

an Entertainment Summit hosted by Variety on Wednesday

The music front

Streaming music will have a presence at CES this year, too. 

Zane Lowe is the creative director of Apple Music. 

Getty Images Most notably, Apple is making a rare appearance at CES. While an Apple executive appearing on a CES privacy roundtable has generated a lot of attention, far less notice has been paid to another Apple figure speaking at CES this year. The creative director of Apple Music, Zane Lowe, will participate in a talk Tuesday at 1:15 pm ET at the Aria. 

Apple Music launched years after the latest wave of streaming music services already had the momentum to make streaming the main way people listen to music worldwide. But Apple Music quickly became the world’s second most popular music service by subscribers behind only Spotify. 

Speaking of the global leader, the company doesn’t have an official presentation at CES. But it will host a happy hour with a panel discussion about the future of podcasts. Spotify has said to expect a news announcement at the event, 엠카지노추천 which will be Tuesday evening ahead of the company’s annual CES party. 

And Amazon Music will be trotting out Alicia Keys alongside the service’s head of label relations, Andre Stapleton, and a Grammy-winning mastering and mixing engineer, Emily Lazar. They’re all collected to talk about “the importance of delivering music the ways artists recorded it.” Amazon Music’s panel will be Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT at the Aria. 

Not at all coincidently, Amazon launched Amazon Music HD service in September. So another safe bet: Count on lots of cheerleading for that $13-a-month subscription.