Wi-Fi is about to get a lot better, thanks to a new wave of 802.11ac features

Linksys EA7500
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Multi-gigabyte speeds, direct signals for all devices instead, and 160 megahertz channels are all now part of the 802.11ac standard. That’s according to a release from the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that sets the standards for local wireless networking.

You might not realize it, especially if you’ve stuck with whatever router your ISP gave you, but Wi-Fi keeps getting better. The Wi-Fi standard keeps offering more and more power, and the new “wave 2” features of 802.11ac go a long way at making what were exclusive features become standard, Ars Technica is reporting.

A notable feature is MU-MIMO, or multi-user multi-input and multi-output. This technology allows routers to communicate with different devices much more efficiently, by creating direct links between the router and individual devices.

Until this technology came around, routers would constantly switch between devices, meaning if you were watching a movie on your tablet while playing a game on your laptop the signal would essentially alternate between the two. MU-MIMO changes that, by communicating directly with individual devices.

MU-MIMO is already offered on advanced routers, such as the outrageously powerful Linksys EA9500. However, the feature wasn’t an official part of the Wi-Fi standard until now.

Another new feature doubles the maximum channel bandwidth, from 80 MHz all the way to 160MHz. This is staggering. That kind of spectrum space offers bandwidth of up to 866 megabits per second, which is fast. This means any router offering two bands can provide well over a gigabit of speed.

Finally, the new standard uses more channels on the 5GHz spectrum. This should help alleviate problems in densely populated areas, where competing routers overlapping with each other can slow down connections.

It’s really excited to see the Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard catch up with some of the great things router makers were already implementing. And if you’ve been waiting to buy a new router, now might be a good time. Some of the higher-end devices out there will blow your mind.

Computing

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Computing

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.
Computing

Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'

Intel has announced a new packaging technology called 'Foveros' that makes it easier for the company to place multiple chips together on one package. That includes chips based on different Intel architectures, like Core and Atom.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.