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Next-Gen Wi-Fi Lands @ CES with 802.11ac Products

If you just got around to updating the home network to Wireless N, this latest bit of networking news stemming from CES 2012 may leave a bitter taste in your mouth: TRENDnet is just one of many vendors now showcasing a line of products supporting the next generation 802.11ac wireless standard. The company has revealed a 1300 Mbps Dual Band Wireless AC Router (TEW-811DR) and a 1300 Mbps Dual Band Wireless AC Media Bridge (TEW-800MB), both set to arrive in late 2012.

The new 802.11ac standard will reside within the higher 5 GHz band and eventually offer theoretic speeds of up to 6.8 Gbps. However, the first generation of products like these two TRENDnet devices will only provide either 866 Mbps or 1.3 Gbps (1300 Mbps). Still, 802.11ac will be backwards compatible, allowing dual-band 802.11n devices to reach speeds up to 450 Mbps. Single-band devices like most laptops, tablets and smartphones only connect through the highly-congested 2.4 GHz band, and likely can't reach the maximum speed.

"802.11ac wireless coverage is similar to that of wireless n and provides whole home coverage," the company explains. "New Beam Forming technology further improves the ability to transmit wireless signals around physical obstacles such as masonry walls."

TRENDnet’s 1300 Mbps Dual Band Wireless AC Router will offer 450 Mbps on both channels, but up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band for 802.11ac devices. It will also have Gigabit Ethernet ports; WMM technology, which prioritizes video and audio packets; and the aforementioned Beam Forming technology, which improves wireless transmissions through physical obstacles.

As for the Wireless AC Media Bridge, think of it as a rather large external wireless adapter that features four Ethernet ports. The device connects to a router via Wi-Fi and then sends/receives data packets to/from four connected devices (like a game console, Smart TV, desktop etc) without the need for drivers and USB cables. This particular model is dual-band like the Wireless AC Router, offering up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It will also feature WMM technology, Beam Forming technology and quick WPS setup.

According to TRENDnet, both devices will cost around $200 USD when they hit the market by the end of the year. Until then, look for more information about 802.11ac products to roll out this week and at different tech shows throughout 2012.