The first next-gen Wi-Fi router, and more
TP-Link Talon AD7200 £350 uk.tp-link.com
TP-Link has just become the first manufacturer to support the new 802.11ad standard for Wi-Fi with its Talon AD7200
router. It’s a bit pricey at the moment, but this new standard is a real step forward for Wi-Fi technology, which was very much designed with heavy-duty tasks in mind, such as streaming 4K video from Netflix, or even your own 4K videos recorded with the latest models of iPhone and iPad.
Sometimes also known as WiGig, this new form of Wi-Fi steps up from the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands of standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi and transmits a signal on the high-speed 60GHz band, which is capable of speeds as high as 4,600Mbps. The Talon is also backwards-compatible with 802.11ac/b/g/n, which means that total throughput on all three bands can be combined for a massive 7,200Mbps. As always, those speeds represent the theoretical maximum, but TP-Link says that the Talon can download 4K movies as large as 100GB in around eight minutes, compared to 14 minutes for 802.11ac routers, or a full hour for an older 802.11n router.
This new standard has its limitations, though. The 60GHz band has quite limited range – in fact, like Bluetooth, it’s pretty much limited to just a single room when
The 60GHz band has quite limited range – like Bluetooth, it’s largely limited to a single room
indoors. However, that can still be really useful if you just need to stream 4K video to a single device, such as a shiny new 4K television in your front room. And, of course, the Talon can also use 802.11ac to transmit a signal with longer range to other areas in your home or office.
Other upgrades you’ll need
802.11ad isn’t going to change things overnight, either. You’ll need superfast broadband in order to stream 4K video from Netflix and other services, and, of course, your Macs, iPhones and other devices will also need to support 802.11ad in order to get the benefit of the Talon’s top speeds. Still, Apple has always been very keen on Wi-Fi technology – it was one of the first manufacturers to support 802.11ac – and we don’t think we’ll have to wait long to see new kit from Apple that supports this new generation of superfast Wi-Fi.
Sengled Snap £180 (TB C) sengled.com
Security and lighting may well be the two most popular types of home automation devices, so Sengled has decided to bring them together with its new Snap lighting system. This powerefficient LED light bulb is sturdily built, so it can be used either indoors or outdoors in a garden or porch. Hidden sneakily inside it, there’s also a 1080p Full HD camera with a microphone, motion detection, and infrared night mode. It’s got Wi-Fi connectivity too, so you can also keep an eye on things when you’re away from home.
Humax Musaic MP5 £279 musaic.com
At first glance, the Musaic looks like a fairly conventional multiroom speaker system, with Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity, and support for Spotify Connect. However, the Musaic also uses the IFTTT interoperability standard, enabling it to communicate with other devices, such as Philips’ Hue range of lights. Using IFTTT can be a bit tricky, but the IFTTT website has a collection of ‘recipes’ you can download to perform tasks such as setting an alarm that wakes you up with music and gentle lighting first thing in the morning.
Neato Botvac D3 £400 neatorobotics.com
Robotic vacuum cleaners sound like a great idea, but most of the models that have been available so far have been pretty expensive. Neato is bringing down the cost with its new Botvac D3 Connected, which sneaks in at £400 for the first time. Like other models in the Botvac range, the D3 can be programmed to automatically sweep different rooms and areas within your home, and its built-in battery can cover up to 1,800ft2 on a single charge. There’s is also a D5 Connected model, priced at £550, for larger homes up to 4,500ft2.
Apple is likely to adopt the new 802.11ad standard sometime in 2017, probably starting with new iOS devices.