Portal router aims to boost your Wi-Fi speed
Your home environment is getting more crowded than a freeway during rush hours that can slow your Wi-Fi to a crawl. Ignition Design Labs, the company made up of engineers who built their bones at places like Qualcomm and Broadcom, has made Portal, a harmless looking router that intends to speed up Wi-Fi networks.
Albeit Portal supports 802.11Ac Wi-Fi, but works on all the six channels of the 5GHz spectrum, ensuring faster Wi-Fi in places like dense apartment buildings. Previously, simply bouncing onto a 5GHz network was sufficient to eliminate the overcrowding in the 2.4GHz spectrum. However, as more people these days are upgrading their routers, it even fills up the speedy 5GHz spectrum.
“The fundamental problem is that as WiFi becomes more popular and applications becomes more demanding, your problem is not going to be ‘how fast does my router go?’,” said Terry Ngo, CEO, and co-founder of Ignition Design Labs. Rather, the actual issue will become, “How does it survive in an increasingly connected environment?”
In order to deal with that dilemma, Portal uses a concourse of features. For one, it fills in nine antennas, along with 10 advanced radios inside of its sleek, curved case. Ngo suggests there’s no need for giant antennas we usually see on consumer routers. It’s smart enough to jump between several 5GHz channels if it identifies things are getting crowded.
Portal also comes with a surprising feature; radar detection. The feature allows the router to use a part of the 5GHz spectrum usually reserved for weather systems in the U.S. most of the devices simply avoid that spectrum completely just to avoid the wrath of the FCC. Portal can turn off access to that spectrum for some people living near the weather radars by implementing continuous radar detection. You don’t need to worry if you are locked out from that bit of spectrum, Portal will still have 3 more 5GHz channels for you than any other routers.
Portal depends on the cloud to optimize your network, just like Google’s OnHub router. For instance, if any particular location doesn’t have access to the 5GHz spectrum reserved for radar, Portal will be able to know in advance. It can keep track of how crowded Wi-Fi channels get in your locality, as well as it can optimize which channels are being used at various times of the day.
Portal features five gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB ports to stream your content. The company also developed a mobile app, which you can use to set and manage Portal, along with the option to log onto its setup page just like a typical router.
While most of the new routers like Luma and Eero are focusing on large homes and big reception areas, Portal focuses on the people living in the apartment buildings and other dense areas. However, Portal also comes with extended range solutions. Just connect two units together in a mesh network and it’s ready for large areas.
The company started a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $160,000. Early backers can get this for $149 during the campaign. According to the company, it will ship at the end of this summer.
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