Wi-Fi is one of the most commonly used forms of wireless technology available today. Nearly every modern device, whether it's your laptop, smartphone, tablet, wearable, or even home appliance connects to Wi-Fi networks to reach the internet. That means that Wi-Fi networks often get congested and slow, which quickly gets frustrating. A new startup claims it can fix this problem by utilizing much more of the 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrum than we currently do.
Ignition Labs' says that its technology can utilize 250 percent more spectrum for Wi-Fi than what current consumer Wi-Fi routers are able to. The key to this is its ability to scan and monitor the new spectrum for interference and instantly switch traffic over to a clear channel. That allows for up to six simultaneous 802.11ac Wi-Fi channels, compared to the two channels that most routers use. This kind of technology has been limited to commercial routers so far, but Ignition says it's developed a way to make it for a much lower cost.
The Portal utilizes 250 percent more 5GHz spectrum than other routers
The company is demonstrating this technology in the Portal router, a $150 device that will be available on Kickstarter in February. But the goal is to get the tech into mainstream consumer routers, so that the next Netgear or D-Link router you buy makes use of it. Even better, Ignition says that the majority of recent phones and devices made in the last three years can already make use of the broader spectrum.
The Portal router has other features to make it easier to use, including app-based control similar to Google's OnHub. It's a simple, understated design without external antennas or sharp lines, and Ignition says the idea is to make it blend into the background. But the Portal isn't supposed to be a mainstream product — Ignition president and co-founder Terry Ngo stressed that this is just a beta product to demonstrate the technology, with the endgame to get it into routers made by other companies.
Ignition's technology could potentially change the way Wi-Fi works in our homes and offices, but we'll reserve judgement on it until we can put it to the test ourselves.