The wireless mesh wave is in high gear now. Just a day after Netgear announced its new wireless mesh-based home Wi-Fi system (Orbi), Amped Wireless today announced that pre-orders were now open for its system, the ALLY Wi-Fi System.
The system is a wireless mesh system (Amped Wireless calls it a “seamless roaming solution”) that includes MU-MIMO technology, AC1900 Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and a mobile app for setup and network monitoring purposes. Customers can buy one unit (aka the ‘router’) for $199.99, or buy a two-unit system (with a ‘router’ and ‘extender’, branded ALLY Plus) for $379.99. Amped Wireless says the units will ship in early October. The two units are pre-paired and labeled as a router and extender, similar to the Netgear Orbi system. This is different from systems by eero and Luma, which are identical units that then become routers or extenders based on placement during the setup process.
Amped is touting its partnership with AVG as a selling point for the ALLY system, providing security software that’s built into the router, protecting all devices (including tablets and phones) from malware and “fishy” websites (sites are monitored/blocked via the device’s web browser, it's unclear whether this can monitor/block malicious mobile apps), not just notebooks or computers that would require separate software.
The ALLY app also features parental controls that can monitor a child’s network activity, block specific sites, or set up a curfew schedule, in addition to the always-popular “Internet pause” feature. This is accomplished by creating profiles via specific devices, and then monitoring access through those profiles.
In addition, the system includes technology based on Amped’s experience with high power, long-range wireless features. The company claims the system (a router and extender) can provide up to 15,000 square feet of coverage, but emphasized that this is a spherical coverage claim, not linear (so those of us with 15,000-square-foot houses would likely need additional coverage). Like other two-device systems, the ALLY would likely be used for a home with about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet of space.
The router unit includes a Gigabit WAN Ethernet port for connecting to a broadband device (cable modem, DSL, etc.), as well as three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for connecting other wired devices (TVs, game consoles, etc.). A single USB 3.0 port lets you attach a USB external hard drive for file-sharing purposes. The extender unit has one additional Gigabit Ethernet port, and no additional USB port. Each unit includes four 2.4GHz internal amplifiers, three 5 GHz external amplifiers, four 2.4GHz internal low noise amplifiers and three 5GHz external low noise amplifiers. The system utilizes three dual-band internal high gain antennas and one single-band internal high gain antenna on each unit as well.
More details on the system are at the Amped Wireless website.
I hope to have a full review of this system when we get some review units in early October (fingers crossed!).