News

January 31, 2017

Security in an insecure world: what is a VPN service, and which one is best?

Here is a question our techs often get asked:

If I connect to a Wi-Fi network that does not have a password, is there any way to still ensure my connection is secure?

If this already sounds like Greek to you, what we are talking about is connecting your computer or tablet to a Wi-Fi network in a public place. Some places like hotels may have a password or encryption key for you to gain secure access to their network. Other places, like many RV parks, have "open" networks. These networks are not encrypted or password protected. When joining them, in Windows 8 and 10 you may even get a warning message telling you that data you send over the connection could be accessed by others.

If you want to have extra protection on both secured and open networks, the best way to do this is with a VPN service.

But there are so many available (some pay, some free), how do you know which one is best? Check out this PC Magazine article which goes into more detail about what VPN services do, and which one may be the best for your needs.

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January 24, 2017

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone tutorial DIY Antenna Modification

Our friend Richard Sisco has put together a video tutorial showing a do-it-yourself antenna modification process for the DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone. He uses 1 APA-M25 and 2 APA-M04 Wi-Fi antennas from Alfa to complete the modification.

See the tutorial video here.

See the range test video here (completed from 14,180 feet).

The first video has a link to the specific Alfa antennas sold by Rokland needed for the modification, as well as other parts you will need.

Update 6/15/17: We now have all three antennas used in the mod, plus all three pigtails needed, available in one special discounted package here.

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January 20, 2017

New product: Alfa AWUS1900 quad-antenna 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi adapter

Years ago, city engineers figured out two lanes of traffic were better than one. Then they figured our four lanes were better than two. The same revolution is happening in the Wi-Fi industry with new quad antenna 802.11ac Wi-Fi equipment boasting router connection speeds of up to 1900 Mbps.




At the head of the pack is Alfa’s newly released AWUS1900, a four-antenna USB Wi-Fi receiver compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, 8/8.1, and Windows 10. This connects to your computers USB port with enclosed USB 3.0 cable and boosts the Wi-Fi performance of that specific PC. This is not a router or repeater.





We completed a test here where we transferred a file of 1.69 Gbps from our router’s storage device (Tenda AC1900 router). We then attempted to transfer this file to the same computer on the network, two different ways. First via the laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi card, a standard 802.11n card capable of 300 mbps max transfer. The file took 350 seconds to transfer to the computer.

We then deleted the file and connected the same laptop to the Tenda router with this Alfa AWUS1900 802.11ac USB adapter, and achieved an actual connection rate to the router of 1.3 Gbps (that’s gigabits per second!). The transfer time from the network storage drive was just 70 seconds. That went 5 times faster with the Alfa AWUS1900.



Buy it now at http://www.rokland.com

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January 06, 2017

Single band vs. dual band Wi-Fi adapters

A question we often get is should one go with a single band or dual band Wi-Fi receiver? It would seem logical to always go dual band, this way you can connect to both 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. This is not always the case.

2.4 GHz networks have been the most common type of network in the USA for more than ten years. In the last five years, dual band Wi-Fi routers have become more popular, even more so in the last 2 years with the introduction of 802.11ac routers that use both bands. The 5 Ghz band is a shorter range band but is less crowded and generally offers better throughput. The signal to which you are connecting has to be 5 Ghz though for the dual band adapter to connect on that band.

The FCC has more stringent power limits on 5 Ghz capable radios vs. 2.4 Ghz-only radios. Hence, single band adapters can have more power than even the highest powered dual band devices.

As we enter 2017, if you travel often, you will find there is virtually no place that does not offer a 2.4 Ghz signal, but 5 Ghz signals are usually only found in residential broadband modems and routers. Even public places that do offer 5 GHz capability will generally always offer a 2.4 GHz connection as well.

Therefore, if your goal is to be able to detect signals from the greatest distance when travelling, a 2.4 GHz high powered long range Wi-Fi receiver like Alfa AWUS036NH will be the best option. If you want to pick up from further away than your laptop’s stock card but do want to have 5 Ghz capability for home use also, Alfa AWUS036ACH is our highest powered dual band product.

Or, if you want to be covered for all situations, get both. With our low prices, you can get both items today for under $75.00 with free US shipping.

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January 02, 2017

Florida sales tax increase in effect 1/1/2017

Happy new year to all of our friends and customers. This past November, Alachua County, Florida voters passed a 0.5% infrastructure sales surtax, making the effective sales tax rate for businesses operating in this county 6.5%. This increase went into effect on January 1, 2017.

Sales tax is only applicable to orders being shipped to the state of Florida where we are located. Buyers in the other 49 states are not subject to sales tax. Tax is automatically added to applicable orders during the checkout process and cannot be waived by Rokland staff.

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October 25, 2016

Gift cards are here!

Need the perfect give for the RVer, boater, or computer enthusiast in your life? A Rokland.com gift card is the perfect choice. Don't pick the same tired gift card choices off the display in the drugstore, get them something that shows you really put some thought into it, and something you know they will love.

Click here to order a gift card. Gift card codes are sent by email- simply send the code to the person you are gifting. We don't charge any fees- you pay $25.00 and your recipient gets a full $25.00 to spend on anything in our Rokland.com store.

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October 12, 2016

New product: Alfa AOA-2409N outdoor omnidirectional 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi antenna w/ mount

Now available for immediate shipping, Alfa AOA-2409N, a 9 dBi gain outdoor fiberglass Wi-Fi antenna with special heavy duty marine mounting bracket.



Alfa AOA-2409N vs. Alfa AOA-2409TF

Many of you are familiar with Alfa AOA-2409TF, our low cost 9 dBi outdoor antenna from Alfa, and will wonder about the difference. The antennas are almost identical, the key difference is AOA-2409N comes with a special heavy duty pole/PVC mounting bracket. This bracket is not backward compatible with AOA-2409TF because it requires that the connector stem of the antenna be longer in order to fit. Hence, AOA-2409N has a longer connector stem to fit the bracket.

AOA-2409TF is a great option for direct connection to an Alfa Tube USB adapter or Ubiquiti Bullet. AOA-2409N is a better solution when you need to mount the antenna separately.

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October 06, 2016

Hurricane Matthew: what you can do to help Florida businesses

The most dangerous Hurricane to hit the east coast of Florida in decades is approaching. Our company, Rokland Technologies, is located in Gainesville, FL. As of this posting it is unclear how much our area may be affected. But your interaction with Florida businesses will be impacted, and here is what you can do to help.

Why we are closing Friday

Our company and many other companies in Florida will be closed Friday October 7th. While it may seem like it is nice to have a day off, in fact many residents will be evacuating, while others will be concerned about family and friends. We have decided to close even if the storm is not as bad as expected in order to keep our employees off of local roads so emergency and utility vehicles have an easier time navigating. Because of office closures, you may be getting a voice mail box, or email replies may take some time. We understand this can be frustrating especially if there is a technical issue with your order or you need to place an urgent order. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Expect order status delays

When it comes to order status, this is understandably the big question many of you will have. Your order should have a tracking number attached to it. If your order was placed Thursday afternoon or later, it may not ship until Tuesday October 11th, because Post Offices are closed Monday for Columbus Day. You can cancel orders with us if they have not yet shipped. If your tracking number shows the item has not moved from a Florida location for several days, it is likely due to Post Office back log.

Please wait at least 10 days to report a package lost

If your package has not arrived within 10 days of mailing and tracking last shows it is in Florida, please contact us so we can file a claim and replace your package or refund your money.

Thank you for your consideration and we will do our best to resume normal customer service via phone and email as quickly as possible after the storm passes.

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October 04, 2016

Mac OS 10.12 Sierra Beta for Alfa AWUS036NHR, AWUS036ACH, and more

We have a beta version of Mac OS 10.12 Sierra drivers for the models AWUS036EAC, AWUS036AC, AWUS036ACH, AWUS036NHR, AWUS036NHV and U24N. This does NOT work with AWUS036NH. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Mac OS, be sure to uninstall any previous Alfa software before running the beta installer.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT BETA SOFTWARE: Publication of beta software does not mean that Rokland Technologies is advertising compatibility or offering technical support for the above products and Mac OS 10.12 Sierra. Please review product pages for what operating systems we advertise specific models as compatible with. Beta software may be buggy or incompatible with some Macs. Beta software is for existing owners of the above products and products should not be purchased for the sole purpose of using with Mac OS 10.12 Sierra since we cannot guarantee stability.

To use it, download the package and open it on your Mac and run the installer inside. Here is a PDF guide showing you how to connect to a network once installed.

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July 15, 2016

Wi-Fi not working? Have a back up plan...

Twenty years ago, students worried about turning in a paper for school late because their floppy disk wasn't working, or the printer ran out of toner. These days with so much school work being submitted online, the biggest worry is what happens if your laptop's internal Wi-Fi card starts acting glitchy or stops working altogether?

Alfa AWUS036EAC: The "USB flash drive" of Wi-Fi adapters



The best solution to this problem is to keep a portable USB Wi-Fi adapter with you at all times. Alfa's AWUS036EAC model adapter is the perfect choice. It is not a USB flash drive that stores data, but it is about the same size. The antenna and USB connector are built-in, so there are no cables or external antennas to carry with you. When connected to a compatible computer, it shows up as a separate Wi-Fi adapter and allows you to connect to wireless networks to get Internet access. So if your PC's internal card stops working, you have an instant solution.

Because it is the latest 802.11ac standard, it is compatible with all Wi-Fi networks in use today, including 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac 2.4 and 5 GHz networks.

Pick on up today for a low price.

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April 25, 2016

Our new Alfa R36 support center is live

We have taken all of the links related to the R36 from our support page, including firmware downloads, tutorials, and help PDFs, and copied them all onto a new page just for the R36 router. This will make access to help for your R36 easier. Visit this URL today:

http://rok.land/r36support

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April 01, 2016

Announcing Rokland+, Wi-Fi that picks up around the world (April Fool's joke)

[We published the article below on Friday, April 1st, 2016 as an April Fool's Day joke. Because the day has passed, we have added this text to clarify this is not a real product].

Introducing Rokland+, a new Wi-Fi receiver and router combination so powerful, it can go all the way around the world.



Up until now, items capable of receiving Wi-Fi signals such as cell phones and laptops were limited to a couple hundred feet of range from typical Wi-Fi routers. Some of our long range Wi-Fi products released over the years have pushed this to 1000-2000 feet or more.

But now we've really done it- our new Rokland+ Wi-Fi receiver is capable of going all the way around the world to pick up a Wi-Fi signal from our Rokland+ Wi-Fi router.

So if you live in a home in Gainesville, Florida, and you have a Rokland+ Wi-Fi router in your home and a Rokland+ Wi-Fi receiver connected to your computer, it will go around the world and connect to your router.

Here are some important FAQs about our new product

1. Can the product pick up other Wi-Fi signals around the world?

A: No, it can only be used with a Rokland+ router installed in the same home as your adapter

2. If my Rokland+ router is installed 100 feet away from my Rokland+ Global Wi-Fi adapter, how do I know the signal is really being picked up from around the world, instead of just the 100 feet?

A: Good question

3. When will Rokland+ equipment be ready?

A: We thought it would be ready this summer but now we are looking at an April 1, 2017 planned launch date, we've run into some supply side issues through several channels and hope we won't be fooled again.

4: Aww y'all got my hopes up for a second, can I at least get a coupon code for something else on your site for wasting my time?

A: Sure, use the code FOOLMEONCE to save 10% on purchases of $50 or more through Sunday April 3rd. And no, the coupon code is not a joke! Though it must be entered in italics to work...no, no it doesn't need to be. OK, we're done. The coupon code is real though, seriously.

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[We published the article above on Friday, April 1st, 2016 as an April Fool's Day joke. Because the day has passed, we have added this text to clarify this is not a real product].

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February 23, 2016

Understanding mode switching in Realtek RTL8812AU 802.11ac Windows drivers

So you just received your brand new 802.11ac USB adapter, capable of 867 mbps, and you plug it in and run a diagnostic program and wait, what’s this? It says it is a USB 2.0 device? You run another diagnostic program and it says the same thing! You know that USB 2.0 is only capable of 480 mbps. So the adapter is not really 867 capable after all….hmmmmm...but wait, actually it is.

The reason this happens is because the driver switches between USB 2 and USB 3 modes as needed.

These devices are backward compatible with older networks that have speeds below 480 mbps, such as 802.11n 150 and 300 mbps networks. The default mode of these USB 3.0 devices according to diagnostics is USB 2.0. When you are not connected to any network, this is the mode that will be displayed. When you connect to an 802.11n network, or a 1T1R 802.11ac network, the adapter will stay in USB 2.0 mode because the max speed of 480 for USB 2.0  is more than your network connection rate.

But connect to an 802.11ac network above 480, such as an 867 mbps 802.11ac 5 GHz network, and then check diagnostics again. Now it shows USB 3.0 as the mode. The chipset uses smart switching to go into either mode depending on what type of network to which you are connected.

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February 18, 2016

Alfa WiFi Camp Pro - long range Wi-Fi repeater kit for camping - now in stock

Summer time is just around the corner. One must-have tool for travel this year is Alfa Network's new Wi-Fi Camp Pro kit. This contains an Alfa R36 USB router/repeater, an Alfa Tube-U(N) long range Wi-Fi receiver, and a fiberglass encased 9 dBi outdoor antenna (Alfa model AOA-2409TF).

When used together, the parts in this easy-to-setup kit allow you to pick up a Wi-Fi signal from a distant location, and share it as a Wi-Fi hotspot in your RV or cabin to which multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices can connect.

Here's an example:

You've been to several campgrounds in your new RV. Sometimes you are parked near the main office and Wi-Fi reception is fine. But at this new place you are parked down toward the river, quite a way from where the Wi-Fi signal is originating, with several other RVs and trees in the way. You get OK reception on your Android tablet when you stand right outside the RV but when you walk back inside it drops to 1 bar. With WiFi Camp Pro you set up the Tube-U(N) adapter and antenna on the outside of the RV and run the 16-foot cable back inside to the R36 router. After a few minutes to configure the R36 via its Easy Setup Wizard, you are pulling in the park Wi-Fi and sharing it throughout your RV as your own personal hotspot. Now your kids can get online with their computers and your spouse can do the same. You even give your lot neighbor the password so he can use it, after he agrees to clean out your waste tank of course.

But WiFi Camp Pro is not only for camping. It can be used at any location where you are trying to extend a distant Wi-Fi signal. Get yours today. It would make a great gift for the outdoor gear person in your life as well.

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February 17, 2016

New rok.land shortlink URL

We are always looking for ways to improve our technical support and customer service. Some feedback received in the past is that some of our links to product pages and driver downloads can be very long, causing email clients to break them up making only part of them clickable, meaning you have to copy and paste the full link into a browser manually, which can be annoying.

This week we launched a new domain specifically to provide shorter redirect links to our longer URLs. When you read our blog, Facebook page, or contact us and receive email replies, you may get links that look like this:

http://rok.land/1Tr1ksQ

rok.land is a new domain that belongs to us, so you can be assured these links are safe to follow. They will redirect to pages on our main web site. Our main web site will always be http://www.rokland.com but you can also get there by going to http://rok.land

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February 05, 2016

Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan beta drivers for AWUS036NHR AWUS036NHV U24N

We have a beta version of Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan drivers for the models AWUS036NHR, AWUS036NHV and U24N. This does NOT work with AWUS036NH.

It should also work with 10.6 through 10.10 and features a new minimized user interface.

To use it, download the package and open it on your Mac and run the installer inside. Here is a PDF guide showing you how to connect to a network once installed.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT BETA SOFTWARE: Rokland postings of beta software DO NOT constitute compatibility advertisements. Beta software is published for the use of existing owners of the products to try it on their operating systems and should not be read as an advertisement or promotion of the product for the specific operating system. Beta software is not 100% tested across different systems and may not be stable for all users. To see the operating systems we advertise as compatible with any given product, check the compatibility section of the respective item page.

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January 25, 2016

Weather advisory: shipping transit delays possible

Severe winter weather throughout the United States this past weekend has shut down many Post Office sorting facilities and air/truck routes. Even if you do not live in an area directly affected by winter weather, there is a good chance the path your package will take to get to you was affected. Therefore kindly allow an extra 2-4 days on top of your estimated delivery period to receive standard and Priority Mail shipments.

At Rokland we do not have any additional details on package whereabouts other than the tracking information shown on the US Postal web site. When we call the Post Office, their agents read us the latest tracking information shown on the US Postal web site. The only person who knows exactly where a package is at any given time is the US Postal Sorcerer, but he lives way up in the mountains and, as you would assume, is unreachable this week due to severe winter weather.

If your package has shown no tracking update after one week of mailing, please contact us.

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September 18, 2015

A first look at Alfa 802.11ac high speed Wi-Fi USB adapters: AWUS036ACH, AWUS036EAC, AWUS036AC

We've worked with Rakuten.com to produce this first-look video featuring Alfa's newest 802.11ac high speed Wi-Fi USB adapters. Have a view and let us know if you find these quick-look videos useful in the comments section below.

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July 08, 2015

Windows 10 Support for Alfa Network products- updated 2017



We've created this page to help you keep track of our products that will work with Windows 10, and what models may require a future driver update. Each time we update the page we will put the update date in the title above.

Many of our products now ship with Windows 10 drivers, however in some cases you may need to download the driver, or we may have a newer driver available.

AWUS036H/AWUS036EW/Tube-U(G)/UBDO-gt8

Driver support? The legacy 802.11g products from Alfa seem to work on Windows 10 using the 12/2009 driver for Windows 7, but it must be loaded manually instead of via the Windows 7 installer. In some cases, the driver update wizard can help. You must be connected to Internet first through internal Wi-Fi. Then go to Device Manager, go to Other section, and right click RT81787 device, and select Update Driver. Then select "Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software". Allow wizard to finish. Note this process will not work if you do not have Internet access through your internal Wi-Fi card or built-in Ethernet when doing it. Or you can try to manually install the Windows 7 driver. This video here shows how to do it on Windows 8 and the process is the same on Windows 10.

*We do not advertise AWUS036H/EW/TubeG/UBDO-gt8 to be Windows 10 compatible. This is because the above methods are just workarounds for an old driver and they may not work in call cases.

AWUS036NH/AWUS036NEH/Tube-U(N)/UBDo-nt8

Simply download this update here. Once downloaded, double-click it to launch. During install, select the option to Install Driver Only. If you have older software on the PC, you may be prompted to Remove All first. Complete that step and run the program again.

AWUS036AC, AWUS036ACH, AWUS036EAC

Driver support? If you upgrade from Windows 8, you may find in Device Manager a Code 37 error, but we have an updated Alfa driver that is Windows 10 compatible. Simply download this update, unzip the package, and run the Setup program instead. One PC restart is required on completion.

 

AWUS036NHR/AWUS036NHV

Driver support? These devices seem to work with the most recent Realtek drivers on CD however we found that for the AWUS036NHR/NHV, the best performance still comes from a 2011 driver for this chip. We are not sure why newer drivers seem to have lower sensitivity, but here is a link to the 2011 package we found works the best in Windows 10 so far.

AWUS036NHA

Mixed bag. On our PC it auto installed an Atheros driver from 1/4/2010 with version number 2.0.0.32. The driver was stable and we went online and had normal browsing speeds. We have not thoroughly tested the throughput of this driver yet but it seems normal. We have also had buyer reports this product causes crashes on their Windows 10 machine and therefore we do not suggest purchasing this product for Windows 10. Instead this commentary is for existing owners of their product who might be looking for something to try. If your Windows 10 system does not auto install this adapter, you can download the 1/4/2010 driver here. Once you download it, open it and drag the contents to a folder on your desktop, then go to your Device Manager, find this device, right click and update driver, and choose the options to search for a driver manually, and browse to where you put these drivers. Again this may not work for all users or may cause system instability so we do not recommend buying this adapter for Windows 10 use.

AWUS051NH v2/AWUS052NH/AWUS052NHS

Simply download this software here. This is the newest driver for AWUS051NH v2, AWUS052NH, and AWUS052NHS. This contains the latest Windows 10 driver and also works for Windows XP through Windows 8.1 as well. Watch the video below for information on how to scan for and connect to networks.

How to use the Windows 10 Connection Manager to connect to networks

One thing we found is available networks for your external USB Wi-Fi adapter are displayed differently from Windows 7 and 8/8.1. We've put together a video tutorial showing you how to ensure you are connecting to a network with your Alfa USB adapter:

 

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June 25, 2015

New in June- Rokland has the latest 802.11ac gear from Alfa Network

If you are not yet sure why upgrading to 802.11ac is worth it, or if you don't yet know what 802.11ac is, jump over here and read this article.

If you are ready to upgrade to 802.11ac, Rokland.com and Alfa Network, Inc. have you covered with three new additions to our 802.11ac product category this month.

First up is AWUS036ACH, essentially a high powered version of the 2014 AWUS036AC, which was Alfa's first entry into the AC game. Newly revised FCC rules allow for increased output power on the 5 GHz radio band and Alfa has jumped to take advantage. AWUS036ACH packs extra power and heightened receive sensitivity, and features dual upgradeable 5 dBi gain RP-SMA antennas. It is fully compatible with Windows Vista, 7, and both Windows 8 and 8.1. If you are looking for a combination of fast 802.11ac speed and the ability to pick up a network from the far side of your home, the long range AWUS036ACH is the perfect choice.



Then we have AWUS036EAC, which is a small form factor 802.11ac USB adapter with integrated antennas. It includes an LCD docking clip so it can easily go wherever your laptop goes. It is a dongle-style so it can also be plugged directly in to the USB port of a compatible laptop or desktop computer. It is also compatible with Windows Vista, 7, and both 8 and 8.1.

Finally we have AC1200R, Alfa's first and highly anticipated 802.11ac Wi-Fi router. With four detachable RP-SMA dual band transmit/receive antennas and four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, AC1200R redefines networking speed. The router also features a full internal firewall and internal web site blocking/filtering capability. AC1200R is the router of choice if you plan to upgrade your entire home to the 802.11ac standard.

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June 24, 2015

An introduction to 802.11ac Wi-Fi

When shopping for Wi-Fi products, you may have come across terms like 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac and wondered what they mean. Over the years, Wi-Fi technology has improved allowing for faster download speeds and greater range. 802.11ac is the newest form of Wi-Fi technology that offers the fastest speeds yet.

Depending on your age, this may bring back memories or it might be a history lesson. In the 1990s, Internet access was commonly achieved at home through dial-up Internet access speeds of up to 56 Kbps (kilobits per second). As broadband permeated homes around the turn of the century, 10 Mbps (megabits per second) connections to a modem were achievable by using Ethernet cables.

Ethernet hookups grew in popularity as broadband speeds increased, but this limited connectivity in multi-computer homes. With prices of PCs dropping, demand for wireless access to home networks grew, and the answer came in the form of 802.11b wireless networking (Wi-Fi), allowing computers up to 11 Mbps of wireless data transfer.


802.11b wasn’t the first type of Wi-Fi but this guide is only meant to touch on past common W-Fi standards. 802.11b had very limited range. In 2003, the first 802.11g standard Wi-Fi products hit the market, offering expanded range and speeds up to 54 Mbps. As time passed and online video streaming and gaming grew in popularity, 802.11n products were introduced- first as drafts, and finally as a standard in 2009.

A brief history of Wi-Fi

1999 802.11b Wi-Fi introduced, limited range, speed up to 11 Mbps
2003 802.11g Wi-Fi introduced, better range, speed up to 54 Mbps
2007 802.11n Wi-Fi introduced, increasing speed up to 150/300 Mbps
Today 802.11ac offers better range, speed up to 1000 Mbps (gigabit speed)


Among 802.11n products are varying options, the most common of which are 150 and 300 Mbps. All three of these standards use the 2.4 GHz band. Dual band 802.11n products integrate the 5 GHz band as well. We won’t get into 802.11a, an earlier 5 GHz standard, as it was not commonly used in homes. Here we are in 2014 and we have yet more numbers and letters to deal with: 802.11ac.

What can AC do for me?

802.11ac increases the maximum speed on a network up to 1,000 Mbps (Megabits per second).

When 802.11n was introduced in 2007, most computer manufacturers including Apple chose to use only one or two antennas resulting in a maximum of 150 to 300 Mbps on 802.11n. Therefore 802.11ac is up to three times faster than most 802.11n computers and Macs.

Wi-Fi speeds compared


According to an article by Stephen Shankland, we can expect a billion 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices by the end of 2015. 802.11ac operates on the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and offer speeds up to 1000 Mbps from your home router. So 802.11ac will be the new norm, but what benefits does it bring beside faster theoretical maximum speeds? After all, your home WiFi has only a 25 Mbps downstream, isn’t 300 Mbps 802.11n sufficient for you?

More Users

802.11ac brings the ability to handle more users and traffic from one access point. This prevents congestion and bottlenecks as more users and devices join the network.

According to a Cisco white paper on 802.11ac entitled “802.11ac: The Fifth Generation of Wi-Fi." 802.11ac routers can provide “more available bandwidth for a higher number of parallel video streams.” Sometimes that video buffering message we get on Netflix or Youtube can be attributed so slower ISP speeds. But it can also be because somebody on another computer in your house is trying to watch a video or do a large download at the same time, causing a bandwidth bottleneck. 802.11ac is designed to fix this.

The Cisco white paper goes on to add “802.11ac achieves its raw speed increase by pushing on three different dimensions:

  • More channel bonding, increased from the maximum of 40 MHz in 802.11n, and now up to 80 or even 160 MHz (for 117% or 333% speed-ups, respectively)
  • Denser modulation, now using 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), up from 802.11n's 64QAM (for a 33% speed burst at shorter, yet still usable, ranges)
  • More multiple input, multiple output (MIMO). Whereas 802.11n stopped at four spatial streams, 802.11ac goes all the way to eight (for another 100% speed-up). “

Smart antennas

A new technology called “Beam Forming” allows 802.11ac to focus Wi-Fi signals where they are needed, rather than broadcasting all signals in a 360-degree pattern.

When signals are broadcast in all directions, the result is a weaker and slower connection. Beam Forming is a “Smart” way of sending and receiving Wi-Fi signals based on where they are needed.

For example, if your router is downstairs and your Mac is located in a bedroom upstairs, rather than broadcast signals in all directions at the same power (including to your neighbors), Beam Forming technology focuses signals toward your bedroom thereby improving your speed and connection.

802.11ac devices are backward compatible with 802.11n and g routers, but you need an 802.11ac router at home to take advantage of 802.11ac specifications. You can still get 802.11n routers in big box stores, but eventually all router offerings will be 802.11ac. New computers will include internal 802.11ac cards, but getting an 802.11ac USB WiFi device for your current computers would be wise. You can use your current internal Wi-Fi cards to connect to an 802.11ac router, but performance will be the same as you get with your 802.11n router.

Alfa Network, Inc. and Rokland are delivering 802.11ac solutions

Alfa Network, Inc. and Rokland LLC have partnered together since 2007 to bring you the best products of the 802.11n and 802.11g standards. We continue to do so with new 802.11ac equipment. This month we have available several new 802.11ac USB upgrades for Microsoft Windows computers, as well as a brand new 802.11ac Wi-Fi router from Alfa, model AC1200R. Click on the items below to learn more about each one.

Alfa AWUS036ACH 802.11ac High Power AC1200 Dual Band WiFi USB Adapter

Alfa AC1200R 802.11ac 1200 Mbps Gigabit Long Range Wi-Fi Router

Alfa AWUS036AC 802.11ac Long Range AC1200 Dual Band WiFi USB Adapter

Conclusion

In summary, 802.11ac is the latest and greatest in Wi-Fi networking and does provide a number of real world benefits from speed increases to the ability of a single access point to manage more connections at once. To make sure your network is compliant, you need an 802.11ac standard router, and it is advisable that all computers on your network have 802.11ac functionality.

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This article contains portions reprinted from a trade article with permission

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June 24, 2015

Why buy on Rokland?

Free shipping with no minimum buy

At Rokland, all products on our site ship free every day, with no minimum like $35.00, and no $99.00 yearly subscription for the privilege. The price you see for the item is what you pay, and many of our items have quantity discount boxes on the item page starting at just two pieces, so you can save if you need multiple units.

Low price guarantee

Our sales staff checks on a weekly basis to ensure we offer the lowest prices available online. If you see a price including shipping from another authorized retailer for the identical part, just let us know and we can match the price (quantity restrictions may apply).

In-house customer support, located in the USA

In a recent online survey, one of the most frustrating parts of buying from online big box retailers was a lack of dedicated customer support. Survey takers cited runarounds as the biggest issue. When you want help you don't want to email the big box site to be told to call the retailer to then be told by the retailer to call the manufacturer, to then call and get an overseas call center representative who has never even used the product you are calling about. At Rokland, our techs have used all of our products, and all work out of our Gainesville, Florida office. When we don't know the answer, we will find out for you. We have a selection of online guides and videos to help you, as well as e-mail and phone support.

Replacement or Refund guarantee

If you have a problem with a purchase, we will replace or refund it with the advertised return period, your choice. Almost all Alfa brand products on our site come with a full 1-year warranty (unless otherwise specified) and that warranty is handled in the USA for our US buyers. Some big box cites do not give you a choice or have shorter return policies like 14 days. We understand you need time to test a product and make sure it suits your needs.

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June 10, 2015

Alfa AWUS052NH and AWUS052NHS now in stock

The long awaited dual band Wi-Fi adapters from Alfa Network, Inc.- AWUS052NH and AWUS052NHS- are now in stock at Rokland.

AWUS052NH features two external RP-SMA antenna ports for easy antenna upgrade, along with 300 Mbps maximum speed.

AWUS052NHS is a lower cost dual band option using the same chipset, but with just a single antenna 150 Mbps design.

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April 11, 2015

Video guide- how to update Alfa R36 firmware

Now available is our video guide showing you step by step instructions for updating or changing the firmware version of your Alfa R36 router. Generally if your R36 router is working fine then you do not need to update the firmware. But if you need to change what adapters is supports (for example you own an R36 router used with your old AWUS036H adapter and you just bought the new AWUS036NHV and want to make your R36 compatible) then a firmware update could be necessary.

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