We've been huge Sonos fans here at Gear Live for years, but if there's one niggle we've heard complaints about from users more than any other, it's that you have to plug in one Sonos component into your wired network. Normally, this would mean buying the Sonos Bridge in addition to whatever speaker components you'd want to place throughout your home, because it's rare that the place you want to put your Sonos device just happens to be where your networking equipment is. The result? You'd have to pay $50 for the Bridge, upping the price of entry.
Well, now Sonos is set to change how it handles creating its SonosNet wireless mesh network, which is the way that Sonos components communicate with each other. "We've found a way to deliver all the benefits of SonosNet without a product directly connected to your router," the company said in a blog post. The best part? All that will be required is a software update, so existing Sonos owners will be able to ditch the wired requirement as well, once the update goes public.
With the new method, you plug a Sonos component in and then fire up the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet. Then you simply select your Wi-Fi network, put in your password, and Sonos jumps on and takes care of the rest. As long as you don't have a huge house with Sonos components spread so far apart that the wireless signal can't talk to each other (and that would have to be a pretty big house), you are golden. Sonos is launching a beta program to allow those interested to try it out and find any bugs before pushing it out to the masses.
You can check out the Sonos product line-up now.
Read More | Sonos Beta
Apple has finally released a series of 802.11ac routers with the release of the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule 2013 models. In this episode we open up the AirPort Time Capsule 2TB model and give you a look at the specs while detailing the changes from the previous generations of Apple Time Capsule routers and devices. We will be putting the new super-fast 802.11ac AirPort Time Capsule to the test, and will have a review up shortly as well. For now, though, check out the unboxing video, and wonder along with us why Apple continues to stubbornly ship its routers with three Ethernet ports instead of the standard four.
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Western Digital is following up on its recent entry into the home router market with its new AC1300, bringing the new 802.11ac standard into the fold. While a lot of router companies are releasing 802.11ac hardware, there are still no computers that come with the standard built-in, but that isn't stopping Western Digital from proclaiming that the AC1300 outperforms competing routers, thanks to the unique 3-by-3 antenna layout. It's got 4 Ethernet ports (we were hoping for 7, like the WD N900 has!) and 2 USB ports for connecting things like external hard drives and printers. You can pick up the Western Digital AC1300 router now for $190, and the company has also released the My Net AC Bridge for $150, which will allow you to connect up to four Ethernet-enabled devices and get them operating at 802.11ac speeds.
Read More | Western Digital AC1300
The next generation of Wi-Fi connectivity is 802.11ac, and routers are on sale now to provide the signal. The main problem? There are, literally, no laptops, tablets, or smartphones right now that sell with 802.11ac support built-in. Still, you have the opportunity to future-proof your wireless setup in anticipation for the arrival of the super-fast standard, and the Belkin AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router is one of the first available. We got one in for review, and we are in the process of putting it through its paces. In the meantime, while you wait for the AC1200 review, check out our Belkin AC1200 DB unboxing gallery, showing off the spaceship-like curves of the router. You can pick one up now on Amazon.
Read More | Belkin AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router
Remember when Apple launched Ping? It was supposed to be the quintissential social network for anyone who loved music. Except that Apple crippled Ping right out of the gate, and we learned that it wasn't really a social network at all - it was just another method the company wanted to take advantage of to get people to buy more music. It was annoying and resrictive. You could only talk about music that was available on iTunes...and nothing more. Recently, it was rumored that Apple would kill Ping, and now it has been confirmed. Ping closes its doors on September 30th. Anyone out there upset by the closure? Anyone?
Today Google finally took the wraps off of its long-awaited Google Fiber service. Focusing on Kansas City, Google Fiber is both an Internet service and television service, and Google showed off just how awesome the service will be.
First, the Internet speeds. Google Fiber provides gigabit speeds both up and down the pipe. That's 1000/1000 Mbps (which makes our 35/35 connection look atrocious.) The company detailed how far behind the USA is in terms of speed and pricing, and is looking to invoke some major change. Google Fiber Internet will also come with 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage, and there will be no bandwidth caps or overage fees. But that's not all…
Read More | Google Fiber
We're currently readying our Western Digital My Net N900 HD router review, and in the meantime we wanted to hit you with some images of the fantastic piece of networking gear. The My Net N900 HD makes QoS super easy, and will eliminate the need for a switch on larger wired home networks as well. As you can see in the My Net N900 HD unboxing gallery, it also looks pretty good. Check it out, and if you want one, you can get it on Amazon at a discount.
Belkin is set to release its new routers, compatible with the 802.11ac standard, at the end of the month. The Belkin AC1000 and AC1200 are both dual-band routers that support 802.11ac/b/g/n and each has four Gigabit Ethernet ports built in as well. The differences between the two? The AC1000 will sell for $139 and provides maximum throughput of 665Mbps on 5 GHz, while the AC1200 will cost $20 more and provide max throughput of 867Mbps. Only problem now is that, even if you pick one up, you'll have to get a compatible phone or laptop (only ASUS offers one at the moment) if you want the maximum Wi-Fi speeds that these things can provide. Just consider it an investment in the future.
Apple has released a redesigned model of its Airport Express base station. The new model looks very similar to the Apple TV, except that it's white. The new model sports a couple of features that the previous one didn't: dual Ethernet ports (compared to just one on the last one,) and simultaneous dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Airport Express is $99, available today from the Apple Store.
Read More | Airport Express
Last week we reported that Verizon FiOS Internet users were about to receive a significant speed boost, and today it's been made official. Most impressive is that the download speed of the fastest tier has doubled to 300 Mbps, with a 65 Mbps upload speed alongside it. Here's a look at all the new speed tiers:
- 300/65 Mbps (previously 150/35)
- 150/65 Mbps (previously 50/20)
- 75/35 Mbps (previously 35/35)
- 50/25 Mbps (previously 25/25)
- 15/5 Mbps
On the fastest tier, you can download a 2-hour 1080p movie in less than 22 minutes. The new speeds take effect in June.
Read More | Verizon FiOS