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Razer helps optimize Portal WiFi router for low-latency gaming

By Greg S ยท 8 replies
Dec 7, 2017
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  1. Razer has announced a partnership with Ignition Design Labs to deliver high-performance WiFi by optimizing the existing Portal router for gaming. Using quad-stream 802.11ac with Wave-2 MU-MIMO, the Portal router is designed to provide reliable high-speed connections throughout the home.

    Any competitive gamer knows that connection speed and latency is critical to achieving victory. Portal is an AC2400 router containing nine internal antennas that is capable of covering 3,000 square feet but can also be set up in a mesh configuration to double the effective coverage.

    In order to reduce latency as much as possible, Portal has four certified dynamic frequency selection FastLanes to allow quick switching between radar-protected channels when interference is detected. Connected clients will automatically be shifted to the fastest available channel and to the closest mesh node to maintain consistent performance.

    The rear of the router provides nothing special. There are four Gigabit ethernet ports, a WAN port and two USB 2.0 ports as well as a power input and reset button.

    Instead of accessing router settings via a local IP address, Portal is configured using a smartphone app that connects via Bluetooth. Portal can be controlled from anywhere after initial setup, making network management easy.

    The Portal router is available at Razerstore now with worldwide availability starting in 2018. A single router costs $149.99; adding a second for mesh networking does not provide any savings.

    Permalink to story.

  2. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 507   +274

    Wireless gaming....ROFL
    Panda218 likes this.
  3. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 982   +508

    I may not be an RF engineer, but I know what BS smells like. Lets break this down, shall we?

    Doesn't exist. Full stop. There is no "quad-stream" sub-standard defined by IEEE underneath the 802.11ac standard. Pure marketing spin, and I haven't been able to determine even what they are spinning. There is no info given by any company on what "quad-streaming" is supposed to even be. Multiple channel use simultaneously? Unlikely, since the client WiFi module would need to be able to send and receive on multiple channels simultaneously as well.

    This is called frequency hoping. It has existed since WWII. Nearly every WiFi router uses it. Also, certified by whom? Portal? IEEE? Santa Claus?

    This is just flat-out wrong.... I promise you, these are nowhere near the frequencies of any radar, nor would radar be able to "protect" your channels from interference. If anything, a strong radar signal would probably mess up your connection.

    This is a selling point how? When I want to configure my router, the last thing I want to do is also have to configure its Bluetooth. Why does it even have Bluetooth? Its another attack surface, and they could have made the phone app access the configuration page through an IP address. Never mind that if I run into an issue with my mesh network, the last thing I am going to want to reach for is my phone to try to fix it. I'm going to get on my computer, and either use a big-boy web browser, or use a more advanced, special purpose interface if something is really messed up.

    I get it Techspot, these kinds of ads help pay the bills, but at least demand some kind of minimum quality in your ads. Your advertising to nerds; we smell TS marketing spin from a mile away. I am now less likely to ever purchase a Portal system, or recommend to my friends that they do if they ask me about mesh networking.
    Kotters and jobeard like this.
  4. Chris Mitchell

    Chris Mitchell TS Rookie

    I think you misunderstand the point here. They are not protected by radar. DFS frequencies are usually restricted for radar and military. You need DFS to be able to use these protected frequencies, which most routers today do not. Those that do, jump off for good when they receive even the slightest sign of use in the frequency.

    Portal actually constantly scans for traffic, actively avoids those channels but thus enables to use lanes that standard routers have no access to.
  5. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 982   +508

    Took me 30 seconds to find:

    2.4GHz and 5GHz are specifically reserved for the IEEE 802.11 specification. You don't run into Radar until around 3.5-3.75GHz, and then not again until above 9.6GHz. Neither radar band is anywhere near either WiFi band. While you are correct that devises that transmit and receive wirelessly - on any frequency - must correct for, and protect themselves from, any deviation from their designated band, all devices do this. If they didn't do this, the FCC would never approve them. As an aside, the FCC is currently cracking down on illegal wireless microphones that were imported without getting FCC approval. So it is not just this WiFi router. Therefore, they are taking a "feature" and spinning it into a FEATURE.

    My issue isn't with TechSpot writing - though I don't think they actually wrote this piece - it is with their editing/vetting process.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,193   +1,359

    IMO, 'radar' here is a metaphor, not an implication of a specific technology. Using interference detection to trigger base frequency switching might be 'radar' magic to some.

    Would like to watch the system when ALL channels are occupied - - does it go into an endless loop seeking a clear channel?
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 982   +508

    But in that case, you just get back to some marketer spinning a barely-related, but well-known term into some kind of buzz word. Never mind my feeling on continuing to explain technology to the masses as "magic" or with out-right lies, don't spin it to the technically inclined. The company just comes across as condescending at best.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,193   +1,359

    As already noted, the spec sheet doesn't show 'radar' nor an appropriate Fq for that functionality - - so it's ALL hype.
    btw: radar reflects off solid objects, not other RF signals :grin:
  9. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 982   +508

    You're absolutely right, which is why WiFi has difficultly extending through large floor patterns without boosters, extenders, or access points, and why we use radars to detect solid objects. However, RF signals do interfere with one another. This is why the FCC blocks out entire bands for aviation and naval radars - just to make sure that the only RF in those frequency ranges are the RF signals that are actually supposed to be there, and to minimize interference. The basic issue with interference is when two similar waves are out of phase with one another, they rib each other of energy and begin to cancel out. The degree to which this happens depends on a large number of factors - frequency, amplitude, wave length, phase similarity (or dis-similarity), etc.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_interference - I don't generally recommend Wikipedia, but the sources for this article are reliable and accurate, I would suggest you read those if you're looking for a crash course in the basics of RF technologies.

    But, again, my issue isn't with the spec sheet - nerds read those. My issue is with the marketing.

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