Netgear is unveiling a number of connected products at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week, from an Orbi router with faster Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking technology to the Meural Canvas II digital picture frames.
The networking gear company demoed the products for the press in San Francisco ahead of the conference.
The gear is arriving just in time to meet demand, thanks to the growth of the internet of things, streaming, and multitasking in the home.
“People are streaming, they’re multitasking with another device while they are watching, and this drives the need for more connected devices in the home,” said Amit Rele, senior product manager at Netgear, in a briefing. “People are engaged in parallel play.”
Orbi Wi-Fi 6 RBK850
Netgear debuted its Orbi routers in 2016 as a way to extend the coverage of faster Wi-Fi throughout your home. It used a dedicated wireless connection between two Orbi units to deliver faster connections for each device in your home, as well as extending the range in terms of how many feet you had to be from the router to get a good connection.
The demand for more networking in the home is driving the need for Wi-Fi 6, a new version of wireless networking based on the 802.11ax standard, with multicasting and up to 4 times better performance than 802.11ac and 40% better data throughput for the dedicated backhaul between Orbi units.
Big tech companies like Intel and others are now launching components with Wi-Fi 6 support, and systems will use a new generation of Wi-Fi 6 chips. The Orbi RBK 850 (replacing the RBK50), will use Wi-Fi 6 to bring 2.4 gigabit per second wireless speeds to a wider reception range in the home. The new Orbi has a 2.2 GHz quadcore Qualcomm central processing unit (CPU) with 3 times the speed of the prior model. Overall, you can get 2 times the number of streams (12) and 3 times the speed with Wi-Fi 6.
A pair of the Orbi RBK 850 routers will debut in mid-October for $700.
Nighthawk 8-Stream Wi-Fi Mesh Extender
Netgear is also introducing the Netgear Nighthawk 8-Stream Wi-Fi Mesh Extender (EAX80). Rele said it supports Wi-Fi 6, working with your existing Wi-Fi to create a more powerful home mesh with speeds of up to 6 gigabits per second.
You can use the same Wi-Fi name as your old network, as well as the existing password, making installation seamless. If you have Netgear Arlo security cameras, those will also automatically connect on the same network and same password. The idea of the extender is to reach parts of your home that Wi-Fi normally doesn’t reach. It will be available soon for $250 and supports eight streams, four in the 2.4GHz band and four in the 5GHz band.
Orbi Outdoor Satellite
You can also extend Orbi to the outdoors with the weather-resistant satellite box. It operates at 3 gigabits per second, and you can mount it on walls or poles. It has slightly more range than the previous version and extends your internet into your backyard or other outdoor locations.
Meural Canvas II
The Meural Canvas II lets you send any artwork to your wall, in both vertical or horizontal aspects, as it has a swivel mount. The idea is to bring technology to visual culture, just as home stereos and TVs have done for music and film. You can look at everything from space imagery of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing to classical art.
If you get a subscription to the smart picture frame ($70 a year), you can access an art library of 30,000 works. The subscription also gets you some cloud storage.
There are now two sizes available, the new Meural Canvas II at 27 inches and the Meural Canvas I at 21.5 inches. You can wave your hand a few inches in front of the frame to move to the next picture with a gesture, or you can control it using an iOS or Android app. It has an ambient light sensor that can change the brightness of the image to suit natural lighting.
The new version consumes 45% less power, and it has extended range for Wi-Fi connectivity. There’s a port for SD cards, so you can add your own photos more easily. And it’s run by a quadcore Arm CPU. Netgear has art partnerships with National Geographic and The Little Prince.
The smaller 21.5-inch Meural II frames cost $400 (black/white) and $500 (birch/walnut), while the Meural II 27-inch frames cost $600 (black/white) and $700 (birch/walnut).
They are available for preorder now and are shipping in late September.
This Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router looks like Darth Vader’s Star Wars fighter. Of course, Netgear can’t call it that. But it is pretty speedy for all your streaming and gaming purposes.
It can get 802.11ax wireless speeds of more than 10.8 gigabits per second or 4 times the data capacities of 80.11ac. It has an AX-optimized 1.8GHz quadcore processor, with a Multi-Gig 2.5G Ethernet interface for wired connections.