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World's First 802.11ad Router Will Supercharge Your Wi-Fi

LAS VEGAS — As far as TP-Link is concerned, AC routers are so 2015. The networking equipment maker hit CES 2016 with a new router based on 802.11ad that promises to mush more data to all those connected devices in your home.

The Talon AD7200 Multi-band Wi-Fi Router doesn't have a price tag or a ship date just yet. For now, TP-Link wants you should just focus on all that speed its new router can theoretically deliver — about 7Gbps worth.

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802.11ad adds a new frequency to the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands you've become accustomed to with AC routers. The 60-GHz band adds more bandwidth to your network and is capable of speeds up to 4.6Gbps. Adding that figure to the speeds of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands gives you that 7Gbps theoretical throughput.

In terms of performance, TP-Link says users with an 802.11ad router could download a feature-length 4K video in about 4 minutes or transfer 1,000 photos in around 5 seconds.

At its CES booth, TP-Link set up a Talon AD7200 router and connected it to an Asus laptop. A display above the router kept track of how much data each band was pushing through, and when I was in the booth, the new 60-GHz band transferred an 8GB HD movie file in a little less than 48 seconds. That same transfer took 1 minute, 38 seconds on the 5-GHz band, while the 5:20 transfer time on the 2.4-GHz band would have left you with enough time to pop a bag of microwave popcorn to enjoy with that movie.

Eight antennas ring the Talon AD7200 router, which has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN port along with two USB 3.0 ports. The router supports MU-MIMO technology for optimizing how bandwidth is distributed and beamforming technology for sending targeted Wi-Fi signals at specific devices.

TP-Link isn't turning its back on AC routers now that the Talon AD7200 is the new kid in town. The company is also releasing the Archer C5400 tri-band router and the Archer C3150 dual-band router with MU-MIMO support. Neither router has a price tag yet. And while those routers will certainly appeal to homes with hefty data needs, it's clear that 802.11ad is going to draw an increasing amount of attention in data-dependent homes.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.