Powerline technology takes the signal direct from a router and sends it around a home to different rooms that feature a special plug-in adapter, using the electrical cables in the building. It’s faster than adding Wi-Fi repeaters that just push a weak signal a little further. See What is Powerline? and Best Powerline Adapters.
The company has seen sales rocket in lockdown as working from home and the explosion in streaming entertainment push home Internet signal strength to the limit.
Akamai data reports that home Internet data usage has surged 30% since lockdown began in March – 82% of this increase is in video streaming services such as Netflix and Zoom.
Devolo is rolling out the latest version of its WPA3-compliant Magic Powerline and Mesh Wi-Fi product, Magic 2 Next. Read our Devolo Magic 2 Powerline review.
Magic 2 Next builds on the tri-band 2.4Gb home-networking performance made possible by the latest second-generation G.hn technology, by adding Access Point Steering to its toolbox.
What is Access Point Steering?
Access Point Steering improves on Fast Roaming technology by determining which wireless devices require the fastest connection.
Fast Roaming - also known as IEEE 802.11r or client steering - allows smartphones to decide which Wi-Fi access points to jump onto for the best reception. But older devices aren’t always Fast Roaming compliant, and allowing the device to choose the aces point could slow down other devices on the network.
Access Point Steering on the other hand, lets the Wi-Fi access point decide which devices need to handover at the most appropriate time. This improves overall performance because the system knows about all the devices in the home, rather than one client deciding what it needs in isolation.
What is MU-MIMO?
Devolo uses MU-MIMO in its new products.
MU-MIMO stands for multi-user, multiple input, multiple output, and is a wireless technology supported by routers and endpoint devices.
This allows the Wi-Fi access point to deliver up to four streams to four different devices, or clients.
Magic 2 Next product range
Devolo’s Magic 2 Next Powerline and Mesh products begin with a two-adapter Starter Kit, with an RRP of £169.99. A three-adapter Whole Home Kit is priced at £269.99, with single add-on access point adapters costing £109.99.
Magic 2 Next should go on sale in the UK in mid July.
Devolo Wi-Fi ac Repeater+
The company has also announced a cheaper Wi-Fi extender, the Devolo Wi-Fi ac Repeater+.
This doesn’t use Powerline as a backbone, but does use Mesh technology to push a Wi-Fi signal further round a house. Read our reviews of full Mesh Wi-Fi networks.
It’s not as fast a solution as Powerline, but might suit smaller homes at a lower price.
This product uses Beamforming to accurately direct a signal to the point in the room where the Wi-Fi signal is needed, and Fast Roaming to allow devices to switch to the strongest signal as the user moves from room to room.
Crossband Repeating enables optimum broadband use on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. It means that the Reater+ can receive and send signal at the same time. Cheaper repeaters can’t do this simultaneously and so much reduce the speed of the Wi-Fi.
Like the Magic 2 Next Powerline system, the Repeater+ uses Mu-MIMO technology for communication with several devices.
The Repeater+ will cost £59.99 each, and is expected to be available in August.
Devolo Magic 2 DINrail
The third new Devolo product is Magic 2 DINrail. This is more suited to business environments that feature DIN electrical setups, rather than domestic homes.
DIN is a German electrical rack-mounting standard. Indeed, it stands for "Deutsche Institut für Normung", which translates as ‘German Institute of Standards’.
The Devolo DINrail is connected to the building’s DIN controller or fuse box - via professional installation – for what Devolo claims will produce “the world’s fastest Powerline” as it is directly connected to the electrical phases.
This DINrail module should be available in the UK in late summer, and will cost £149.99.
For Wi-Fi and network tips, read our How to speed up a home network feature.