WiFi Router Standards – A Quick Guide

WiFi Router Standards – A Quick Guide


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
  • Better range
  • 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
Powered by Blackfire: The Harman/Kardon Omni 10 Wireless Speaker

Powered by Blackfire: The Harman/Kardon Omni 10 Wireless Speaker


Blackfire Research is proud to partner with Harmon/Kardon, a leading global manufacturer of audio systems, to make the best wireless speakers on the market. Blackfire’s technology can be found in any of Harmon’s wireless Omni speakers. Today, we’ll take a closer look inside the Omni 10, the wireless HD loudspeaker that started it all.


With its small, elegant design, the Omni 10, wireless HD loudspeaker, packs a lot of punch. Powered by Blackfire’s patented technology, the Omni 10 sets the bar for the industry’s best performing small room speaker. (Based on objective performance studies of currently available Wi-Fi speaker technologies as defined by the ITU Indoor Radio Propagation Model.) The Omni 10 supports superior, lossless HD audio without synchronization issues, playback lag or dropouts between multiple speakers, and streams up to 24bit/96kHz studio quality sound, all through Wi-Fi.


A multi-speaker setups allow for multi-room and multi-channel wireless surround sound. Harmon/Kardon’s user-friendly design allows you to enjoy your music from anywhere in your home, all with the touch of a button: enjoy the same song throughout the entire home through “Party Mode,” or Press “Link” to continue playing your music on another device. Multi-room and multi-channel wireless audio also lets you play different songs in different rooms, so you’ll never have to fight over music tastes again!


You can stream music from your smartphone or tablet through the Harmon/Kardon controller app, or, take advantage of the Omni 10’s Bluetooth capability by streaming music from your tablet or phone. While using Bluetooth, “the speaker will automatically translate the signal to Wi-Fi…all over your house for a truly flexible whole home audio experience**”so you never have to worry about range limitations, dropouts, or low quality audio. If streaming music isn’t your thing, the Omni 10 also has a 3.5 mm auxiliary input that allows you to connect your speaker to almost any audio device.


Harmon/Kardon’s Omni 10 wireless HD Loudspeaker powered by Blackfire comes in either black or white and can be purchased for $199.95 each.



*Based on objective performance studies of currently available Wi-Fi speaker technologies as defined by the ITU Indoor Radio Propagation Model.
** http://www.harmankardon.com/HKOMNI10BLKAM.html

Behind the Patents: Traffic Independent Synchronization (TIS)

Behind the Patents: Traffic Independent Synchronization (TIS)


Blackfire Research boasts 14 U.S. patents, all of which are used to create flawless solutions for better, wireless home entertainment. In Blackbook, we’ll take a closer look at some of the patented technology behind Blackfire’s brand. Let’s start the series off with “Traffic Independent Synchronization,” or, TIS for short, which produces better management and precision operation when it comes to synchronizing wireless speakers.


TIS is our patented synchronization technology that can be used to sync any number of wireless devices, from multi speaker 5.1 audio systems, stereo systems, even your entire home theater. One problem facing a standard method of synchronization is that its performance is tied to the performance of the network environment. At home, if you regularly experience spotty Wi-Fi, you won’t have much luck getting those expensive wireless speakers you got for Christmas to sync properly. In fact, there will most likely be a noticeable playback lag from one speaker to the next. TIS ensures that the synchronization of any device is not dependent on how well your router works. So, even in poor Wi-Fi conditions, the synchronization of your speakers won’t be impacted. Sounds good, doesn’t it?


Another problem with a standard method of synchronization is that the more devices you have on a given network (and therefore, the more congested the network is) the slower it runs, which could produce an extended lag between multiple speakers and between your TV and the speakers – even total dropouts. Unlike our competitors, Blackfire’s patented TIS technology always maintains latency between audio and video pairings and among the speakers themselves. With TIS, the sync of the speakers in your wireless home entertainment system will remain undisturbed by heavy network traffic, so you’ll never miss a single moment of your favorite song or movie again.


Finally, Blackfire’s patented TIS software results in superior synchronization at range compared to competing technologies. That means, products with Blackfire’s TIS software will perform better farther away from your Wi-Fi hotspot or router than other brands.

Want to hear the difference for yourself? TIS works with many different hardware platforms, and currently, can be found in all Harman Omni products. Happy listening!


Based on objective performance studies of currently available Wi-Fi speaker technologies as defined by the ITU Indoor Radio Propagation Model.