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Update 2019: The list of supported OpenWRT Wireless Access Points Vendors

OpenWRT Wireless Access Points Vendors

The exponential growth in demand for wireless internet connectivity has led to the need, for companies in most business environments, to upgrade their Wi-Fi networking infrastructure.

Many companies within the networking industry aim at establishing lock-in barriers with high switching costs in order to make customers dependent on them. This approach progressively increases Wi-Fi deployment costs for organizations, slows down innovation and ultimately ruins the Wi-Fi user experience.

Recently, the networking industry has began shifting from operating as a proprietary closed system to a more flexible system. This shift to a more flexible, open system, occurred as a result of customer dissatisfaction due to high internet connectivity pricing, vendor lock-in, slow innovation, poor quality software, unforeseen charges for services that should have been included in the price of the product, to name a few.

At Tanaza, we believe that the current market conditions allow the disaggregation of hardware and software to occur also in the Wi-Fi networking market and create a disruption.

Tanaza is an vendor-alternative firmware, based on OpenWRT that supports a wide range of access points. OpenWRT is a Linux-based open source alternative firmware for embedded devices that enables the customization of wireless device, as a result of its fully writable filesystem with package management.

With OpenWRT, the network administrator can avoid being locked by the web interface or the web applications of the vendor.

 

Easy to install and to use, Tanaza may be the best option for you, if you are looking for an easy-to-use alternative firmware for your wireless device.

For more information about Tanaza and its wide range wide of supported access points, click here.

If you can’t find the vendor you are looking for, you can make a request and ask to Tanaza to support a new access point.

 

To see the full list of access point vendors compatible with OpenWRT, check below. 

WiFi 6: the next generation of WiFi

WiFi 6: the next generation of WiFi

The next standard for wireless LANs, IEEE 802.11ax, has been conceived to transmit data faster, to better allocate bandwidth among several devices connected to a WiFi network and to more reliably deliver high-bandwidth applications (such as video streaming) than its predecessor, 802.11ac, also known as WiFi 5.

The new naming standard

The 802.11ax specification, also known as ‘high-efficiency wireless’, will be commonly referred to and marketed as WiFi 6.

This is a new naming standard set by the Wi-Fi Alliance®, with previous generations now being retroactively labelled as WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and WiFi 4 (802.11n). This new labelling convention will appear on devices as shown in the image below.

WiFi new naming convention by the Wi-Fi Alliance: WiFi 6, WiFi 5 and WiFi 4

This naming scheme is aimed at making it simpler for final consumers to recognize which of the IEEE 802.11 standards each WiFi device supports.

Faster data transfer speeds

WiFi 6 will have a single-user data rate that is about 40% faster than 802.11ac by virtue of a more efficient data encoding, resulting in a higher throughput: more data is packed into the same radio waves, and the chips that encode and decode the signals will increasingly get more powerful and will be able to handle the additional work.

The new standard also improves the performance on 2.4GHz networks that, despite the large investments of the industry on the 5GHz band to reduce interferences, is still better at penetrating physical obstacles.

WiFi 6’s predecessor, 802.11ac, only uses bands in the 5GHz spectrum; the new standard operates across both frequencies and will eventually expand this spectrum to include bands in 1GHz and 6GHz when they become available.

 

Better performance in dense environments

WiFi performance tends to get worse in crowded locations, such as stadiums, airports, malls and offices, where many WiFi enabled devices are connected to the network at the same time.

The new WiFi 6 incorporates many new technologies to overcome this issue, and according to Intel, it will improve each user’s average speed by at least four times in congested areas.

WiFi 6 can divide a wireless channel into a large number of subchannels, and each of these subchannels can carry data intended for a different device. This is achieved through the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), a modulation scheme which allows for resource unit allocation and will boost capacity, reduce latency and improve efficiency by allowing as many as 30 users at once to share the same channel. This technology is not a part of WiFi 5, which has regular OFDM; OFDMA is compared as a multi-user version of OFDM.

The new wireless standard has also an improved version of multi-user or MU-MIMO. Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 introduced Multi-User MIMO, but it only supports four simultaneous connections on downstream (one on upstream). Wi-Fi 6 will instead be able to handle eight streams of data in either uplink or downlink, offering four times the maximum theoretical throughput of Wi-Fi 5 and supporting more users at once.

Image Source: Qualcomm

Extended battery life for client devices

The new Target Wake Time (TWT) feature enables access points to tell to connected devices when and how frequently they have to “wake up” to send or receive data, reducing power consumption and improving spectral efficiency. This technology will be very useful for both mobile and IoT devices, allowing them to effectively increase their sleep time and consequently extend their battery life.

Target Wake Time, in addition to saving power on the client device side, also enables wireless access points and devices to define and negotiate specific times to access the medium, reducing contention and overlap between users.

Target Wake Time (TWT) Feature

Image source: Qualcomm

When will we get WiFi 6?

While some routers already advertise “802.11ax technology” and many products supporting WiFi 6 were presented during CES 2019, 802.11ax WiFi won’t be finalized until the end of 2019. There also aren’t any WiFi 6 client devices available yet, so so these routers won’t bring any benefits to consumers before the transition is done: indeed, both the sender and the receiver need to support the latest generation of WiFi to gain the advantages.

The five most used access points by Tanaza’s customers in 2018

Tanaza multi-vendor’s approach allows WiFi professionals to choose the hardware they want to work with when designing their WiFi network infrastructures.

Tanaza supports many brands from consumer-grade access points to enterprise-grade wireless devices, facilitating ISPs and MSPs to develop public WiFi hotspots in different sectors like hospitality, education, healthcare, retail, public places etc.

The ten brands the most used by our customers are:

 

Ubiquiti   –  Tp-link –  Open-mesh –  Mikrotik  –  D-link  –  Linksys  –  Intelbras  –  Wi-Next  –  LigoWave  –  EnGenius

 

To help its customers, Tanaza developed the Access Point Selector, a free tool that allows WiFi professionals to select the best hardware according to their WiFi project.
In three simple steps, select the location, the size of the location and the level of service you want to offer, you will access a complete list of wireless devices. In addition, the tool will provide you with relevant information such as the required number of units, the number of concurrent users per unit and the cost of each device.

Tanaza multi-vendor’s aspect empowers the hardware by delivering to the device a professional set of features for WiFi cloud management. Below, you can find the list of the five most used hardware by our customers in 2018. 

Ubiquiti UniFi LR

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

20 dBm / 100 mW

Radiation Shape

Sector

Installation

Ceiling

Power Supply

PoE

TP-Link TL-WR841N/ND

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

21 dBm / 126 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop

Power Supply

DC

OpenMesh OM2P

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

23 dBm / 200 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop;Wall

Power Supply

DC;PoE

MikroTik RB951UI-2HnD

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

20 dBm / 100 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Desktop

Power Supply

DC;PoE

Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2

Radio

2.4 GHz (B/G/N)

Max Power (2.4 GHz)

23 dBm / 200 mW

Radiation Shape

Omni

Installation

Pole

Power Supply

PoE

CES 2019: four interesting innovations in the wireless devices industry

CES is one of the biggest meetings for businesses of consumer technologies to present their new products and speak about the main innovations. During four days, more than 4K companies including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware meet to exhibit their products and share their thoughts about their industry.

This year, the CES takes place in Las Vegas from the 8th to the 11th of January.

 So, what’s new? What are the main innovations within the wireless industry for 2019?

We made a list of notable products presented during the CES 2019. This list is not exhaustive.

The new D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway, probably one of the best WiFi routers of CES 2019

D-Link, the Taiwanese networking company, launched its new WiFi router, the D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway that allows super-fast wireless 5G internet data for home WiFi. It is conceived to receive a super-fast wireless 5G signal from any internet service provider and deliver internet to home connected devices. This D-Link WiFi router supports a faster form of 5G than the current Verizon 5G network (which is a 300 megabit-per-second speed network).
Even if 5G home internet network is still at an early stage of development, this D-Link WiFi router is probably one of the best WiFi routers presented to the CES 2019. This WiFi router will be available on the market in the second half of 2019.

TP-Link and its first family of WiFi 6 routers

TP-Link, the Chinese manufacturer networking products, unveiled its first WiFi 6 routers.
As we mentioned in a previous article, the WiFi alliance recently simplified the names for wireless standards, and the new generation of WiFi, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), is starting to arrive. TP-Link presented to the CES 2019 its first WiFi 6 routers: six wireless devices in total, varying from high-end routers to extenders, all using the new wiFi 6 standard in order to deliver better and faster internet. TP-Link is the first manufacturer of networking products to announce that their wireless devices will support WiFi 6.
WiFi 6 new standard should be launched throughout the year so these routers won’t bring any benefits to consumers before the transition is done and that consumer devices support WiFi 6.

Netgear Orbi mesh router will support WiFi 6

Netgear, the multinational computer networking company, is the second manufacturer to announce the release of WiFi 6 routers in the second-half of 2019.
The Orbi Mesh System will get an update and be able to receive WiFi 6 signal. Netgear announced that WiFi 6 devices will be fast enough to provide gigabit Ethernet speeds over a wireless networking signal. The update will come with the Netgear’s series of hardware RBK50.

MediaTek presents its new connectivity chipset with the latest WiFi 6 standard

MediaTek is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that provides chipset for wireless communication.  During the CES 2019, MediaTek reveals its new chipset that will be compatible with the latest WiFi standard: WiFi 6.
The chipset will prioritize traffic, bandwidth and user demands while delivering the new WiFi 6. The chipset will also support multi-user MIMO, increasing the channel capacity per device on a given network. Last but not least, it will allow for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple-Access (OFDMA), optimizing activities, such as social media, youtube, Netflix, on a given network. This new chipset is designed for the new generation of WiFi 6 routers, access points and repeaters.

Tanaza firmware now available for MikroTik hAP AC Lite TC

mikrotik hap ac lite tc

Tanaza now supports the MikroTik hAP AC Lite TC.

This device is a Dual-concurrent Access Point: this means that it provides WiFi coverage for 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies at the same time.

Its versatile and sleek design allows the unit to be positioned either horizontally (desktop) or vertically (tower case) to save space, it can also be wall-mounted thanks to the kit provided with the device. Suitable for indoor deployments, its compact dimensions allow you to install the hAP ac Lite TC in offices, schools, bars, B&Bs and many other venues.

By empowering MikroTik hAP AC Lite TC with Tanaza’s firmware, you will get a full set of professional features to manage your WiFi networks and your social hotspots. Create an SSID for your guests with the social login or the email authentication, collect data and insights about your clientele to run targeted marketing campaigns. Control all your networks remotely, from one single dashboard and configure each access point easily.

>>See the full list of supported devices

FCC proposes rules for unlicensed use of the 6GHz band

FCC proposes new rules for the unlicensed use of the 6GHz band

In response to the demands of high tech companies for a more so-called “mid-band” unlicensed spectrum, on October 23rd the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to propose making available up to 1,200 MHz of spectrum for use by unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band.

“Unlicensed devices that employ WiFi and other unlicensed standards have become indispensable for providing low-cost wireless connectivity in countless products used by American consumers”, we read in the official statement. Unlicensed devices include WiFi routers, connected home appliances, fitness trackers, cordless landline phones and baby monitors.

On December 17th, the FCC released its NRPM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) document, outlining the proposed rules for unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band.

 

 

New rules to avoid interferences

 

Since various parts of the 6GHz frequency range are already used by fixed, mobile, and satellite services, the FCC commits to protecting these incumbents, while at the same time opening the band to an increase number of unlicensed devices.

Concisely, the FCC wants to introduce four new unlicensed subbands, named U-NII-5 to U-NII-8.

In the case of U-NII-5 and U-NII-7 (respectively, 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz) a new scheme called Automated Frequency Control (AFC) will protect incumbent users (mostly point-to-point microwave links) from harmful interference.

Conversely, the U-NII-6 and the U-NII-8 subbands (respectively, 6.425-6.525 GHz and 6.875-7.125 GHz) should be only used indoors at a lower power level. In those portions of the 6GHz band, licensed mobile services such as the Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Cable Television Relay Service already operate.

“The Commission tentatively concludes that this two-class approach can expand unlicensed use without causing harmful interference to the incumbent services that will continue to be authorised to use this spectrum,” we read in the NPRM document. Moreover, The U-NII-5 band is currently under study by the European Commission for a possible expansion of WiFi bands in Europe.

The objective of the proposed new rules is twofold:

  • To enable unlicensed devices to operate only on frequencies where the devices would not cause harmful interference to authorized licensed services
  • To allow a more intense use of a valuable spectrum resource to benefit consumers.

 

 

Creating new opportunities for the future of WiFi

 

The Wi-Fi Alliance praised the results of the October 23rd vote, stating that “the demand for WiFi connectivity has increased manifold while unlicensed access to critically important mid-band spectrum has remained relatively unchanged.”

“Today, more than ever, WiFi is expected to deliver vast amounts of data traffic that comes with broadband services such as 5G,” said Alex Roytblat, Senior Director of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi 6 is designed to support these growing data throughput requirements, and needs additional unlicensed spectrum access to accommodate wider channels and other technical innovations. That is why access to the mid-band, 6 GHz, unlicensed spectrum is so important to Wi-Fi’s future.”

According to Claus Hetting, Executive Director of the WiFi-NOW organization, “The amount of frequencies available for WiFi to operate in could more than double, possibly already by the end of next year. This staggering amount of new spectrum will likely spark a massive new growth cycle for the WiFi industry and allow consumers and businesses to apply low-cost WiFi technology to multitudes of new use cases.”

 

If you want to develop a WiFi project, our business consultants can help get you started and make the most out of it by understanding your business needs and guiding you through all the different features of the Tanaza platform, showing how they can help you to deploy a successful WiFi project.