The 802.11 standard for wi-fi networking is now 20 years old, and each new generation of the standard has provided greater speed than its predecessors. However, the forthcoming 802.11ax — also known as Wi-Fi 6 — represents perhaps the greatest change in the relatively short history of this now-ubiquitous technology.
We’ve covered some of the technical aspects of Wi-Fi 6 in recent months, but the defining feature of this new standard is that as well as providing greater speed, Wi-Fi 6 is also intended to support greater ‘density’ of networking connections for the millions of permanently-connected smart devices that now form the Internet Of Things (IoT).
As we’ve reported, the final standard for Wi-Fi 6 isn’t expected until late 2019, but a number of manufacturers have already announced plans for new routers based on the current ‘Draft 3.0’ version of that standard. Netgear certainly isn’t the first manufacturer to announce support for Wi-Fi 6, but it is one of the few networking companies that could be described as a household name and the release of its new Nighthawk AX range of routers represents something of a mass-market debut for the technology.
Pricing & options
There are four routers in the new range, with prices starting at £150 ex. VAT (£180 inc. VAT, or $200) for the Nighthawk AX4. That’s the entry-level model in the range, but it supports dual-band, 4-stream 802.11ax wi-fi with speeds of up to 3Gbps — which would be close to top-of-the-range for a conventional 802.11ac router.
The second model is the Nighthawk AX8, which is also a dual-band router, but steps up to 8 streams with speeds of up to 6Gbps, and is priced at £250 ex. VAT (£300 inc. VAT, or $299). The AX8 also adopts an eye-catching ‘winged’ design, that hides the router’s multiple antennae within large plastic fins that project upwards on each side of the unit.
The AX4 and AX8 routers are primarily aimed at home users who want high-speed wi-fi for tasks such as gaming or streaming video on multiple devices. However, it’s the two high-end AX12 routers that are most likely to appeal to business users, as they provide even greater speed as well as advanced features that will be suitable for larger offices, public venues such as hotels and restaurants, or even large sports venues.
The first of these two models to ship is the Nighthawk AX12, which Netgear demonstrated for ZDNet recently. Priced at £300 ex. VAT (£360 inc. VAT, or $500), the Nighthawk AX12 is another dual-band router with speeds of up to 6Gbps, but it supports up to 12 streams with eight antennae providing greater range and reliability for connecting large numbers of devices. The router also supports ‘dual Gigabit Ethernet aggregation’, allowing you to combine two Ethernet ports to provide a 2Gbps wired connection for office networks, as well as a ‘mesh’ wi-fi option that can link multiple routers together in order to cover a greater area than a single router.
The AX4, AX8 and AX12 models are all available now, and Netgear is also planning to release the top-of-the-range Nighthawk Tri-Band AX12 router during the summer, a tri-band model that supports 12 streams and a top speed of 10.8Gbps that goes far beyond any previous generation of wi-fi. Pricing for this model has yet to be announced.
The 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 routers will be backward-compatible with existing devices that use 802.11ac (which the Wi-Fi Alliance has retrospectively renamed as ‘Wi-Fi 5’). However, new Wi-Fi 6 features such as TWT (Target Wake Time), which helps to save battery power for always-on devices such as smart lights and security cameras — do require client devices that support 802.11ax as well.
It’s still early days for this new wi-fi standard, but the promise of greater speed and reliability for IoT devices in large offices and public venues suggests that Wi-Fi 6 will find an eager audience when the final version of the standard is released later this year.
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Hertz massive Tesla Model 3 EV order sends interest rocketing
Hertz today made a whopper of an announcement, revealing that it will be ordering 100,000 Teslas over the next year and adding those EVs to its fleet. Not only that, but Hertz will also install several thousand chargers at its network of locations around the US and Europe. With this move, Hertz says that it will “offer the largest EV rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world.”
Specifically, Hertz said today that it would purchase 100,000 Tesla Model 3s and those cars will start being available at airport and neighborhood locations across the US and Europe in November. At first, Hertz says its EV fleet will only be available in major markets within the US and “select cities” in Europe, but it seems the company is looking to expand availability rather quickly.
By the end of 2022, Hertz says it plans to have these Tesla Model 3s available in 65 markets, expanding further to 100 markets by the end of 2023. In all, Hertz plans to install 3,000 Tesla superchargers at various locations in the US and Europe as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this announcement sent Tesla’s stock on something of a surge this morning, but even more important is the impact this could have on the public perception of electric vehicles.
Hertz says that EVs will comprise more than 20% of its global rental fleet when the order is complete. In addition to placing this order, Hertz has also hired NFL star Tom Brady for an ad campaign centered around renting, driving, and charging these Tesla Model 3s. On Hertz’s website, we see that charging will be included in EV rentals, but only for a limited time. Beyond February 1st, 2022, it sounds like renters will have to foot the bill for charging.
It’s an ambitious plan, but in today’s announcement, Hertz cautions that the order of 100,000 Tesla Model 3s may be impacted by factors outside of its control. Specifically, the company is talking about the global semiconductor shortage, which could impact the production of computing hardware for some time to come. In any case, look for the option to rent a Tesla Model 3 to start popping up at Hertz locations next month.
Bently Mulliner to unveil new bespoke collections at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show
Bentley Mulliner has curated three new bespoke design collections for its American clientele. The Mulliner Nauticus Collection will debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this October 27 to 31, 2021. The Nauticus Collection includes four Continental GT V8 Convertible models dressed in a fancy yachting theme.
The Continental GT Nauticus Collection has Aegean Blue and Ghost White paint with custom 22-inch Aegean Blue polished wheels. Wearing Bentley Mulliner’s carbon fiber Styling Specification, each Nauticus Bentley also gets a carbon front splitter, side skirts, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser. Also, the interior is resplendent in Brunel, Linen, and Portland leather in bespoke color splits, while the center console is home to open-pore chevron light veneers.
“This timeless classic further highlights the infinite possibilities and abilities in which to blend art and technology into a unique emotion and experience,” said Peter Brandt, Holmann Automotive Vice President and General Manager of Bentley Fort Lauderdale. “The individuality and distinctiveness of the Mulliner design aesthetics perfectly align with our pursuit of creating unique customer experiences.”
Meanwhile, Bentley of Manhattan commissioned the Mulliner Skyline Collection for the Flying Spur, Continental GT Convertible, and Bentayga luxury SUV. As expected, the Skyline Collection draws inspiration from the breathtaking skyscrapers of the Big Apple.
All members of the Mulliner Skyline Collection will wear a unique Onyx black paint applied by hand and robots, said Bentley. Other noteworthy features include 22-inch black and silver alloy wheels, darker exterior trim, LED welcome lighting, and premium silver interior trim.
Last but not least is the Mulliner Miami Collection, inspired by Miami’s colorful lifeguard stations and pulsating art scene. The collection includes the Flying Spur, Bentayga, and Continental GT finished in bright Orange, Blue, and Lime Green paint. Inside, Bentley’s Miami Collection gets two-tone painted piano veneers, Klein Blue leather upholstery, and bespoke quilting, among many others.
“Our dealers are very involved in each of their local markets and communities with appreciation to maximize the ability to promote Bentley’s craftsmanship,” said Mike Rocco, Vice President of Sales & Operations for Bentley Americas. “The opportunity to expand inventory offering to customers and present a truly unique experience through the Personal Commissioning Guide is remarkable.”
Vazirani Ekonk is possibly the world’s lightest electric car
Indian electric automaker Vazirani is not as mainstream as Tesla and other legacy EV makers, but what will soon change with the launch of Ekonk performance EV. The Ekonk is a low-drag performance concept that signifies the birth of Vazirani’s assault in the burgeoning EV category. The name ‘Ekonk’ is a derivative from Indian scriptures representing the divine light, “where for the first time design and innovation comes together,” said the company.
From the looks of it, the Ekonk is a dedicated performance contender, and it’s doing it the old school way: By shedding weight. Vazirani claims Ekonk is the world’s lightest electric car, and losing pounds in an EV is hard to do without losing a wheel or two. Tipping the scales at around 1627 pounds (738kg), the Ekonk is almost as lightweight as other three-wheeled EVs like the Arcimoto (590 kg) and Daymak Spiritus (620 kg).
In addition, Ekonk is lighter than the Aptera solar EV (816 kg), and it has four wheels instead of three, so Vazirani may be up to something here. How did they do it? “Biomimicry – studying how animals and humans use breathing to regulate their body temperatures – combined with some ancient Indian manufacturing techniques resulted in the invention of the DiCo technology,” said Chunky Vazirani, CEO of Vazirani.
Vazirani’s proprietary DiCo battery cooling technology “allows the batteries to cool directly with the air, as opposed to needing liquid cooling,” adds Vazirani. The carmaker adds DiCo is the first solid-state direct cooling system that utilizes nanoparticle technology to enhance the range and performance of any EV.
The automaker did not mention the battery capacity, but it did say Ekonk can rush to 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.5-seconds and has a top speed of 192 mph. Also, we have no idea how many motors are hiding underneath Ekonk’s aerodynamically optimized body shell, but Vazirani claims 722 horsepower and mountains of torque.
Additionally, Ekonk is a proper driver’s car. Vazirani said Ekonk has no driver aids, with just the electric motors and the wheels separating the driver from the road. It’s not a bad-looking thing, either, but the absence of a fixed or foldable roof means this car is a genuine track toy. If you don’t like a speedster, Vazirani also has the Shul hyper EV (with two doors and a roof) with the same DiCo battery cooling technology.
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