The “802.11” wireless standard (or what we call WiFi) was first published in the late 1990’s by the US Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) to allow device manufacturers to independently develop 2.4GHz (and later 5GHz) wireless products and ensure that they are forward compatible. Over the years, there have been advancements in the technology that have allowed faster data rates and improved reliability. Most devices designed with the earliest 802.11 standards are still compatible with the latest 802.11 routers – which is testament to how robustly the IEEE designed that original spec. This is a summary of how the standard has evolved:
802.11b – In 1999, the first mainstream consumer products (such as the Linksys BEFW11S4 router and the original Apple iBook) were designed with WiFi using the 2.4GHz frequency band and had a maximum data rate of 11M bits per second (Mb/s).
802.11g – By 2002, the IEEE released this faster specification that took advantage of improvements in chip performance to increase the maximum data rate to 54Mbps, and maintaining forward and backward compatibility with earlier 802.11b devices.
802.11n – In 2009, this specification integrated multiple signal technology (called “Multiple Input Multiple Output”, or MIMO) and also optional use of the 5GHz band. This increased the speed and range of WiFi and reached a maximum data rate of 300Mbps.
802.11ac – In 2013, the IEEE published this new dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) specification to optimize use of the frequency spectrum and signalling to allow up to 1300 Mbps at 5GHz plus another 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
The Differences Between a 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless Network:
Supports most Wi-Fi devices
Less attenuation by walls and objects
Congested band due to Bluetooth, cellphones and lots of other non-standard wireless devices
Fastest data rates
Relatively uncongested frequency band (at the moment)
Not suitable for some devices due to antenna complexity, range limitations and power consumption
We live in a world driven by the applications on our smartphones and viral videos on the internet. Because of this, we expect to receive all the entertainment content we want, anywhere, at any time. We also expect our entertainment devices to be connected seamlessly for sharing. But in reality, connectivity in the home is far from perfect, especially when it comes to wireless, smart home entertainment systems. Rather than enjoying our entertainment content wherever we want in the home, we find ourselves stranded on “entertainment islands”: the smart TV you have in your living room is an island separate from the stereo system; the stereo system is separate from the blue tooth speakers; the PC is its own thing, and the kids’ rooms…well…let’s just say that’s something completely different as well.
Current solutions like video dongles (Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire) and multi room audio, such as Sonos, are great for individual use. However, combining these individual systems to work together to create a truly connected smart home is non trivial – it requires precise synchronization, low latency for lip sync and a general reliability over standard Wi-Fi, something that hasn’t been done – until now.
Blackfire Research is making the smart home smarter, achieving whole home connectivity by getting entertainment content and devices off their islands. With our revolutionary new protocol, The Blackfire Realtime Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework, smart home owners are able to mix and match devices – from multiple brands that are Blackfire enabled – to create a whole home entertainment system that sounds great and looks stunning, all over standard Wi-Fi. The Blackfire RED framework is superior to all other solutions and does what no other solution can: wirelessly stream both HD 5.1 audio and 4K video simultaneously across multiple devices and stream both audio and video content from any device to many devices throughout the home.
According to IT Pro Portal, analysts are predicting the average smart home in the year 2025 “will include 50 to 100 plus connected ‘things’, including appliances and lighting with a huge mesh of wireless sensors.” That’s a lot of devices that need to be connected, and that number will just continue to grow as more and more smart home products enter the market. With the growing number of smart home products, Wi-Fi is, and will continue to be, the glue that holds it all together. Currently, more than 75% of U.S. broadband households use Wi-Fi for connectivity” (Parks Associates), and Blackfire leverages standard Wi-Fi, a basic utility for many at this point, to achieve stunning, high-end results.
You’ve never seen anything like the Blackfire RED framework because it’s never been done before. Harman Kardon, Pioneer, and Onkyo have all began shipping Blackfire powered products in over 100 new products this year alone.
At Blackfire Research, we’re fired up. Join The Blackfire Revolution today.
Critically acclaimed, French-Canadian indie-rock band, Arcade Fire, has released their fifth studio album, “Everything Now.” Since their debut back in 2004 with “Funeral,” Arcade Fire has taken the industry by storm, winning basically every music award imaginable and catapulting indie sounds into the mainstream conscious. With each new album’s release, Arcade Fire’s popularity, influence, and talent grows. But with this latest venture, the band nose dives from the pedestal they were put on. “Everything Now” lacks the lyrical, emotional, and auditory depth Arcade Fire is known for – what made them lovable underdogs, misfits, and self-proclaimed “weirdos” in the first place. The band’s ability to create a remarkably stunning and cohesive album is practically thrown out here (or perhaps gets weighed down entirely by the pressure to produce another Arcade Fire masterpiece.) Either way, the album’s overall sound delivers as “The World’s Lamest Disco,” from the title track’s ABBA-inspired cords (sadly the best track on the album), to the disjointed, painfully clichéd “Peter Pan,” to the album’s lead single, “Creature Comfort” (which is essentially an anti-suicide message that somehow comes off as self-centered thanks to a line about their music preventing a fan’s suicide), Arcade Fire is in a state of artistic crisis. For a band that has always stood for something, “Everything Now,” tries to stand for too much – and winds up standing for nothing.