Just how smart is smart? Your home may contain any number of devices that claim to be smart but do you really trust them to respond in an appropriate manner when they receive instructions, especially when the instructions emanate remotely from an outside source not under your control. It could happen.
The current big topic, referred to as IoT or Internet of Things, is for all your household goods, whether fridges, kettles, lights and even air purifiers, are all interconnected and remotely accessible via the Internet and a mobile device.
This item from Netgear even looks sinister as you remove it from the black box that this switch comes in. The matt black finish and the areas made up of triangles and rectangles add to the illusion that this device is somehow not a friendly one, add to that the dark blue ‘V’ of LED light when switched on it becomes more menacing.
It is 19.5x14.5x3.7cm before anything is plugged in to the rear of it, so add another 3cm to the middle figure the depth. It weighs 765grams main because the case is Zinc-Alloy. The base has four small 1.5x1cm rubber feet to make sure it stays flat on your table or desk and it has to be used in this way as unlike some routers it is only stable in this formation.
Carrying a WiFi hotspot is your pocket is made possible by this next device.
A saying, probably more relevant now that during my youth, stated that you could never find a policeman when you wanted one. Nowadays you could probably say the same thing about Wi-Fi hotspots unless you wanted a cup of coffee. Fortunately, while carrying a police officer in your pocket is not really possible, a mobile hotspot could be a distinct possibility.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S is an AC2600 Smart WiFi router. I have been looking at the latest R7800 model of this particular device. It offers the user quad-stream X4S architecture for use with advanced gaming and streaming features on your LAN.
Following the standard NETGEAR plinth shaped appearance, combining a plastic matte black base with a dark grey top, the Nighthawk X4S has dimensions of 285 x 185 x 50 mm (W x D x H). To gain the full benefit of this router you will need to attach the provided four antennas. These antennas can be screwed into sockets that are positioned on either side of the unit and along the rear of the router.
If I said Master Socket few would know I was referring to how your Ethernet connection should be connected, if you have problems with slow speed or lots of time your line drops it’s the first thing the phone engineer will talk about.
It seems that the only thing that should connect to your Master Socket is your Modem or Modem/Router. Phones should only connect via secondary sockets, of course this is not a problem if everything connects via Wi-Fi and everything is well in range. Only once you satisfy these criteria will BT or whoever your ISP is will then look to see if the problem is elsewhere. A pair of Orbi routers can be the answer, in my case they are.
NETGEAR has recently released a combination of router and satellite to help boost network traffic but you need to provide the modem.
Recently released by NETGEAR, the Orbi™ WiFi System promises to provide high-speed WiFi throughout buildings of up to 4,000 square feet in area. This kit consists of units that are designated as the router element and a satellite which make use of tri-band technology. You also get appropriate power lead and an Ethernet cable. You will need to provide a modem for the required Internet connection.
Offering to add VDSL / ADSL Internet connectivity to your router-based LAN set up is a NETGEAR modem.
Supplied in undistinguished packaging made up of a rather plain cardboard box, the DM200 is a Broadband high speed DSL modem from NETGEAR. This product acts as the link up connection device between the vast virtual world, known as the Internet, and your router and / or computer. The DM200 product offers the user VDSL / ADSL Internet access.
Netgear’s Nighthawk X4 dual band AC2200 extender can be used to deliver high throughput as either a WiFi range extender or as an access point to deliver WiFi to a remote area when it is connected to the router via an Ethernet cable.
The X4 operates on both both 2.4 and 5G bands and employs MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology which is claimed to be able to provide a aggregate throughput of 2,200Mbps. This, understandably, will only apply when used in conjunction with a MU-MIMO router. White in colour it has ventilation holes on every surface with the exception of the front. It is 16cm tall and 8.5cm wide and has the 13A plug at the lowest point on its rear surface.
The Kensington USB 3.0 hub model UA3000E provides three USB 3.0 ports as well as a Gigabit Ethernet connection and so could be a useful add on to a netbook or laptop which lacks necessary ports.
The UA3000E is a small unit which is compatible with both Windows and Macs. It will take up very little room in a laptop bag and will provide much useful connectivity. It is black in colour, weighs just 68g, is 105mm x 45 x 25mm in size and has heavily chamfered edges which give the impression that it is smaller than it actually is. The three USB 3.0 ports are along one side and, at one end, is the Gigabit Ethernet. At the other end is the 10cm long USB 3.0 cable to connect to the laptop.
There are lots of advantages for Wi-Fi perhaps the most compelling for most will be the lack of trailing wires, so how do you get Wi-Fi to work when you are close or perhaps even just beyond the normal coverage given by your router.
A lot of my sockets are on the shirting board so that means anything that juts out below the plug itself are not directly connectable without the aid of an extension lead. I know newer properties have the standard of all/most plug points being at waist level but a short extension lead in the box would have been useful and in my home anyway most plugs are utilized so a pass through might help those with newer properties. It is 16x8x4.5cm at the base of the unit it is slightly less higher up.
This next product adds WiFi functionality to a Powerline solution.
While WiFi is often the chosen option of many when setting up a home network with the minimum of disruption, this method is not always totally suitable for certain dwellings with walls getting in the way and blocking the passage of the wireless signal. In such instances you might prefer going with a solution that helps circumvent the problem caused by blocking walls while still retaining some of the benefits of WiFi.
If you need to extend the range of the WiFi signal used by your network then there is a choice of products including the NETGEAR Nighthawk™ X4.
That old chestnut of a question that asks “How long is a piece of string?” could well be adapted to apply to the WiFi signal in your WLAN. “How wide is the range of your WiFi?” The answer will depend on the circumstances regarding the layout of your home and the surrounding environment. Distances and signal strengths could be affected by the number, thickness and constitution of walls and other blockages plus household applications.
The main purpose of Wi-Fi extenders is to allow you to access your Wi-Fi signal in places that it does not comfortably reach. This kit does that but it can also give you an extra Ethernet port ideal for those devices that do not have Wi-Fi.
For those who do not know this Wi-Fi anywhere technology requires two 13amp plugs one near your router and the other in whatever far flung part of your property that cannot normally effectively receive the Wi-Fi signal, the two requirements to make this work are that they are on the ring main circuit and that it is an electrical socket and not a gang socket or a surge strip on either end.
A trip to the BT Tower in Central London was the occasion to attend the launch of a new Wi-Fi product.
You may have seen the television advert, involving a helicopter, regarding the new BT Smart Hub which has been launched with the impressive claim of having the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal when measured against its major competitors. As BT expects this particular product to be delivered to many customers via the postal route, this Smart Hub comes packaged in a box that BT feels should fit most letterboxes.
Adding to its portfolio of Wi-Fi extenders, NERGEAR has released a new model.
My home is on a single level. What it lacks in height is partially compensated by its spread from the front to the back as it encompasses several intervening solid walls. As a result my wireless local area network (WLAN) does tend to struggle when delivering a signal from my work system and router-modem situated at the front of my home to a second computer located at the rear of my home.
Adding to its range of Smart Managed Switches, NETGEAR has released this next product.
While mere mortals generally find the four Ethernet ports making up standard routers or router/modems to be adequate for their local area network needs, those involved in running small to medium business environments need more powerful devices with a greater range of available Ethernet connections. One such product offering to deliver the additional power and more Ethernet connection is the NETGEAR ProSAFE XS708T.
A recent visit to the iconic BT Tower in London saw BT launce their latest Smart Hub which is said to be faster than the competition such as Sky and Talk Talk and easier to setup and use, it also has a more stable form factor than most others.
The BT SmartBub measures 16x22x6.5cm the last figure is with the flip out feet engaged without them it is only 2.5cm thick. All the user connections are in a single line at the back, first the Broadband input, then a USB port, next four bright yellow Gigabit Ethernet ports then the DC power input and finally an on/off button.
The question that needs to be answered first is whether this next review concerns hardware or software. In fact, as will quickly become clear, the review starts off by covering the hardware before moving on to the software element of this NETGEAR offering.
Providing the hardware element in this package is the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 212 box. This is a 2-bay Network Attached Storage device that comes with a three year Diskless warranty. The box, combining a colour scheme of matte and lacquered black, has dimensions of 220 x 101 x 142 mm (D x W x H) and weighs, in its original diskless state, 2.03kg. Powered by a 1.
When all the router’s Ethernet ports are full, Netgear’s SOHO Gigabit Ethernet switches provide a means of connecting more devices to one’s LAN. In addition they can often make the house a tidier place by cutting down on the number of long cables needed around the network.
If there is such a thing as a universal modem router, the Archer VR900 from TP-Link is it. It has 2.4/5GHz wireless connectivity and is compatible with ADSL and VDSL standards as well fibre, cable and 3G/4G USB dongles.