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Cisco Ups Wi-Fi Gateway Ante

Mari Silbey
4/29/2013

There's a new wireless gateway in town. Comcast Corp. has announced an Xfinity Wireless Gateway made by Cisco Systems Inc. that enables in-house Wi-Fi connections of up to 270 Mbit/s. The super-fast wireless throughput is thanks in part to the gateway's support for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. This dual-band technology offers two advantages. First, the gateway can drive higher speeds by making use of a wider 40MHz channel within the 5GHz band. (The traditional channel size is 20MHz.) And second, the gateway can offload compatible devices to the 5GHz band, which both relieves congestion on the 2.4GHz band, and opens up access to spectrum where there is far less interference with neighboring Wi-Fi networks. The new Cisco hardware was tested by Allion USA, which reports that it outperformed two Actiontec Electronics Inc. gateways distributed by Verizon Communications Inc. and a 2Wire Inc. gateway used by AT&T Inc. Allion cites the combination of 802.11n technology, multiple antennae use (3x3 MIMO) and dual-band support as critical factors in the gateway's higher Wi-Fi speeds. The Cisco gateway also supports MoCA 2.0 for wired in-home networking. Meanwhile, Comcast is combining the launch of the new gateway with speed increases for two of its Xfinity Internet tiers. The Blast! Plan is increasing from 25 Mbit/s down/4 Mbit/s up to 50 Mbit/s down/10 Mbit/s up, while the Extreme 50 plan is jumping from 50 Mbits down/15 Mbit/s up to 105 Mbit/s down/20 Mbit/s up. For more: see Arris & Moto Dominate D3 Modem Market in 2012. — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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