CES2017 round-up

Networking vendors beef up Wi-Fi systems

A Velop modular Wi-Fi node displayed in the Linksys booth at CES 2017.
A Velop modular Wi-Fi node displayed in the Linksys booth at CES 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Getting rid of Wi-Fi blind spots in your home is the top priority for networking vendors this year.

Major brands such as Asus, D-Link, Linksys and TP-Link all showed off Wi-Fi systems at CES 2017. These systems use multiple modular Wi-Fi routers that communicate with each other in a mesh network, instead of a single powerful router to bathe your home in Wi-Fi signals.

They were first introduced by networking start-ups such as Eero and Luma last year. Even Google launched a similar system called Google Wifi last month.

Netgear was the first major networking vendor to get into Wi-Fi systems with the Orbi. It is currently the only Wi-Fi system to be available in Singapore. We reviewed the Orbi last November, and found it effective at improving Wi-Fi coverage, though its speed fell short of that of the top routers in the market.

However, competition is heating up, with Linksys' Velop expected to be available this quarter. Like the Netgear Orbi and Asus HiveSpot, Velop has a dedicated wireless band reserved for connection between multiple units, which should lead to better Wi-Fi speeds compared with models from rivals that lack this feature.

D-Link's Covr and TP-Link's Deco Wi-Fi systems offer the option of using powerlines to connect the routers together.

It may also be easier to set up these Wi-Fi systems, compared with a regular router. Many of these systems can be configured via a mobile app, without the use of a PC. However, they tend to be smaller than a normal router.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Networking vendors beef up Wi-Fi systems'. Print Edition | Subscribe