NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

At CES 2017, Are Next-Gen Routers Getting the Attention They Deserve?

At CES 2017, Are Next-Gen Routers Getting the Attention They Deserve?


CES 2017 was packed to the rafters with everything technology. Drones, TVs, goggles, and thermostats. Robots, cars, cameras, and dishwashers. Search the internet for the best-of CES and you’ll see list after list of the coolest gadgets and the most unique toys. But what you might not see on those top-10s is internet routers. Though they were at CES, these unsung heroes of home broadband don’t normally get press coverage. After all, they do the boring, dirty, sometimes complex and difficult-to-explain work of connecting all of our devices to the internet. Their updates and improvements are incremental and don’t lend well to buzzy blog titles. However, this year there are two new router systems well worth highlighting. Both from Linksys, there is the new Velop Whole-Home Mesh Wi-Fi system and the WRT32X, a specialized gaming router with – we’re not making this up – built-in Killer Mode.

Velop solves a problem so pervasive, so frustrating, it’s surprising this is the first major-market solution; Velop fixes home Wi-Fi dead spots. Velop is a multi-unit wireless broadband system where users place multiple Wi-Fi nodes across their home in order to maximize Wi-Fi signal and connectivity. Unlike Wi-Fi repeaters, there’s no loss of speed or increase in latency from one node to the next. Linksys refers to Velop as utilizing “dynamic tri-band technology”, which they indicate results in whole-home seamless wireless broadband. Velop also makes home Wi-Fi easier to use because it allows a single sign-on via one Wi-Fi name. For anyone who’s home is big enough to require multiple routers or repeaters, this is a huge help. Below is a video detailing Velop:

While Velop solves a common logistical problem, the new WRT32X gaming router solves a slightly more niche concern: shooting your friend before he shoots you. The WRT32X is a multi-user MIMO Gigabit router which in short means it allows multiple users to better share the same router without speed loss or latency problems. Linksys reports this new router uses enterprise-grade hardware to create an ideal gaming experience. They’ve even partnered with Killer Networking, a technology and product company that specializes in gamer-focused network solutions, to further optimize gaming experiences. For example, the router has a “Killer Mode,” where it automatically seeks and detects other Killer-enabled devices and computers on its network and tunes them to maximize the gaming experience. As gaming, VR, and other online activities that demand extremely low latency become more popular, routers like this will become even more necessary.

Though they may never make headlines, routers really are doing the hard work of making our home broadband networks function the way they’re supposed to. Beyond just allowing us to do what we want, they help us take full advantage of the incredible internet speeds entering our homes. Linksys’s two new products featured at CES 2017, Velop and the WRT32X, are each a step closer to creating home internet experiences that not only work well, but work to suit our specific needs and to make using the internet a seamless experience.