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New Router Grabs More 5 GHz Channels To Speed Up Your Wi-Fi

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by thiggins, May 10, 2016.

  1. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Ignition Design Labs today launched the Kickstarter campaign for its Portal Wi-Fi router that was previewed at CES 2016.

    portal_product.jpg
    Portal is a QCA-based AC2350 / 2400 class router with working MU-MIMO. Its main claim to fame, however, is IDL's FastLanes™ technology that provides access to the 5 GHz Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) channels originally reserved for radar systems.

    Most routers don't provide access to these channels because they require constant monitoring for radar signals. If radar is detected, the router must change channel immediately and can't return to it for 30 minutes.

    idl_dfs.jpg
    Portal doesn't have to wait 30 minutes because it uses a combination of hardware and cloud service to constantly scan for radar activity and change channel as needed. This opens up four additional 80 MHz channels, for a total of six 5 GHz channels available for 802.11ac devices to use.

    Portal has changed a bit since its January introduction, adding "smart mesh" technology to connect multiple Portals into one wireless-connected self-managing network. Unlike other mesh router systems like eero, Portal's mesh uses 802.11s mesh, which operates at Layer 2 and uses dynamic PHY routing.

    The router will be managed with Android and iOS apps connecting via Bluetooth LE. The apps will also provide easy guest access using dynamic rolling codes. Other features include parental controls and active intrusion detection.

    If you're sold, you can hit Portal's Kickstarter campaign and get one for as low as $139. If you miss that offer, there are still plenty for $149 or $298 for a twin-pack.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  2. mzaur8

    mzaur8 Occasional Visitor

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    I literally just came here to post about this to see what others think, haha. Looks really interesting. Looking at their Kickstarter page they have some neat videos explaining the technology and seem to have won a bunch of awards. I'm really curious to see snb review this thing and run some benchmarks!

    I'm wondering will all modern AC devices support these channels?
     
  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Some already do. But not like Portal plans to do. The difference is Portal has a dedicated monitor radio so has constant radar detection. If it detects radar, it can change channel and then change back again if it finds it had a false detection, which is common.

    Standard DFS detection requires the channel where radar was detected to not be used for at least 30 minutes.
     
  4. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    Iiish...
     
  5. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    this is one im prob going to sit on the fence with as the claims of congestion on 5 gig really dont effect ppl living in normal houses and there are still far more ppl on 2.4 gig thatn 5 gig

    the claims the web site make are as usual bright lights and loud noises designed to ensnare you like a deer in the head lights

    how it all works in the real world is the key and until the reviews come out for those in congested areas and they are happy to be shoved of one channel and on to another in the middle of what they are doing

    this also prob wont excit our euro friends who already use the channels that are covered in the fat lane anyway

    from the faq

    where will it be available

    The US and Canada, followed by Europe. Portal is required to be certified for each country by their regional regulatory authorities.



    look forward to some testing tim :)
     
  6. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    5 GHz is getting more crowded every day. 5 GHz' more limited range does help keep neighbors out of each others' hair. But apartments, dorms and other high-density housing situations are going to need all the channels they can get.

    Enterprises already limit 5 GHz to 20 MHz bandwidth for frequency planning. So the real potential may be more in enterprise space.

    The CES demo was a perfect example. The spectral plot in the demo room showed no one else using the DFS channels!

    I would think European countries would be excited. Many allow use of fewer channels than the US.
     
  7. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    thats fine for the states and canada where its not allowed atm but in europe they already use those channels but not the higher ones

    those channels will also start to get congested if this technology takes off just like initially the lower 5 gig and now the upper 5 gig channels are in congested areas , everything look great when its the first on the block but once everyone else moves in as well its back to the same same

    these dfs channels also dont have the same power tranmit levels as the higher 5 gig do they ?

    im just not sure i like the idea of being switched to a new channel while im in the middle of something as i assume it wont be a true seamless change

    like i said i will sit on the fence and see what eventuates , looks like we wont get them here anyway
     
  8. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I've seen a lot of snake oil. If this technology works well, it has more practical potential than a lot of the other "innovations" being foisted on us.

    Keep an open mind.
     
    pete y testing likes this.
  9. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    This is not snake oil - my AP's do this already if set to auto - manual selection will not get one into a DFS channel, but letting it auto-select - it'll move in once the DFS primary user check is done (finding radar like signals).
     
  10. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I did not say this is snake oil. Reread the post, please.

    Your APs have to obey the 30 minute rule, though, right?
     
  11. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    What allows this product to avoid this rule? Is that a regulation rule, or just that other DFS implementation decide to only rescan every 30 minutes, for performance reasons?
     
  12. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    another factor i just thought about is the adapters , many dont support the dfs channels anyway , eg my pce-ac68 only supports upper and lower channels on 5 gig , the tp link T9E however only supports lower 5 gig and dfs channels and not the upper 5 gig channels , i know thats in the drivers but that to comply with the regs

    i havent see an adapter yet that can or will cover the entire spectrum
     
  13. pete y testing

    pete y testing Very Senior Member

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    from what i can gather from the blurb its got a 10th antenna that continually and actively scans the range to detect and redirect the channel if needed ,the regs state that unless its actively scanned the 30 minute rule applies so im guessing until now its only been on start up that its been detected or is only been passively scanned
     
  14. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    It has a dedicated monitor radio and cloud-based decision logic. The 30 minute rule comes from old methods that had to drop all connections and scan for radar. As you might imagine, users don't like being dropped, so the scan isn't done very often.

    IDL's technology scans continuously and can change channels back quickly if it gets a false detection.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  15. Razor512

    Razor512 Senior Member

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    Is there a way to adjust the time limit, e.g., from 30 minutes, to 30 milliseconds?
    I wonder if there are cases where a radar system may spam a bunch of crap over a wide range of frequencies, and how DFS will behave in such a case.
    I just worry about the reliability of DFS, as the way I see it, if you have a need for those channels, then it is hard to trust the reliability of the connection since 100% availability is not guaranteed. The last thing you want is to be in a situation where you must use WiFi, and the router decides to switch channels while you are in the middle of a multiplayer game.
     
  16. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    30 milliseconds, really? I would be surprised if the device discussed here with the dedicated antennae could react so quickly to radar signals and actually switch any devices back and forth as needed.

    If you must game (multiplayer), then WiFi that relies on DFS channels is the last thing you want. Even with the system discussed here.
     
  17. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    I think we caught each other out of context... never intended to suggest that you mentioned "snake oil", on the contrary, I was supporting your position - it's not snake oil - and folks do need to keep an open mind...

    IMHO - This is good stuff - anything that makes better use of available spectrum is always good..

    FWIW - not a "30 minute rule" - this is more implementation - some vendors play it very safe going into DFS space, and for good reason...

    The AC3200/AC5300 devices are a good example of this in some regulatory domains where that second radio must live in DFS channels - and I've seen more than a few posts about this with folks thinking their router is broken/bad - which is not the case - it's one of those "listen very well" before speaking...
     
  18. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    I think it's more of an implementation detail - I think there is a defacto 10 minute listen/detect before enabling transmitter, but I don't think that is a "hard" requirement as long as a transmitter jumps away/re-tunes if it detects energy meeting DFS keep out requirements...

    DFS is a minefield as WiFi is a permitted secondary user of that spectrum - because if a transmitter is found jamming a primary user, it's not good for the equipment vendor and user - hence the issues with some 3rd party developers bypassing DFS (and other Reg Requirements based on region).

    From an implementation perspective - OBSS scans happen all the time - some chips do this more often than others - and thru OBSS, one can schedule a DFS scan in between - lot of nifty stuff inside those 11ac drivers that vendors keep as blobs/firmware... I know that Qualcomm has doing a lot of work on this, not just for DFS, but also for LTE-unlicensed access - which is a sore point with many in the WiFi community in general...
     
  19. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    You don't have to drop the clients - an DFS/OBSS scan takes very little time - you sample the spectrum - and if the AP decides to jump - it does, and the clients follow - that jump takes about 500mSec, so there's a bit of interuption, but this happens at the PHY level, with primitives moved to the MAC for signaling... for most, it's totally transparent.

    Not a very big deal actually - it's different when re-tuning channels from a WebGUI/Aap, and that has to do with programming the chipset from the App layer and how the WebGUI/App layer is developed/architected - e.g. here's a new set of parameters - maybe it's a channel change, maybe new SSID, new credentials, etc - but let's push a new config into the chip, and reset it...

    We're getting into stuff that I know a lot about, and can't say much...
     
  20. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    This gets into an odd place - because adapters - when you look at Windows/Driver/Advanced Settings/Channels - that's for AdHoc/IBSS, where the adapter is now the primary coordinator of a BSS - and this is reasonable...

    But for a client - it's really about searching and finding an AP - so an AP operating if DFS space - the client just has to passively scan for beacons in those channels, not actively probe, so it takes a bit longer, but since beacons are 100 mSec intervals for most AP's as a default, it doesn't take very long...

    And if this helps - Apple doesn't do much special here... and this is an 11n card, since I'm on my old MacBook Pro at the moment... and the three 5Ghz sources at the moment inside my network - 11n on CH100+1 (WiFi video Bridge/Quantenna Based), AP1 is on 52 (11ac) and AP2 is on CH132 (also 11ac) - so at the moment, all of my 5GHz is in DFS land for the FCC/US reg domain...

    (BTW - those 11ac AP's - Airport Extreme AC models, occasionally Apple/Broadcom do things right, eh?)

    ========

    Card Type: AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x10E)
    Firmware Version: Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (7.21.95.175.1a6)
    MAC Address: 28:cf:e9:aa:bb:cc
    Locale: FCC
    Country Code: US
    Supported PHY Modes: 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Supported Channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165
    Wake On Wireless: Supported
    AirDrop: Supported, Channel 149