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Current home networks not ready for the smart house: Intel

Performance suffers when a high number of devices are connected to today's home networks, and users experience it and don't know why it happens, says Intel.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

In Tuesday's Computex keynote, Intel reiterated its vision of 50 billion connected devices in four years' time, and to get to such numbers, it expects 50 devices per household to be connected to the internet, a five-fold jump on the present number.

Intel's Gregory Bryant appears as a live hologram at Computex 2016

Intel's Gregory Bryant appears as a live hologram at Computex 2016

(Image: Chris Duckett/ZDNet)

Whether or not those predictions come to pass, according to Gregory Bryant, Intel General Manager of Connected Home and Commercial Client, current home networks are struggling with the present -- let alone the future.

"Today's wireless access points, nobody talks about it, they are great with one thing, maybe two things on the network," he told ZDNet. "You got three, four, five, six, performance goes, it's terrible. A lot of people experience that, they just don't know why."

"Today's home network is not ready for the smart home of the near future -- the experience is not where it should be."

In order to point the way forward, Intel developed its Haven Lake reference design, a home gateway that uses a 14-nanometre AnyWAN GRX750 system on a chip with a 2-core x86/64 Atom processor running at up to 2.5 Ghz, which is able to connect to optical fiber, DSL, G.fast, and 4G/5G networks. It is also packed with a 100Mbps network-attached storage solution. To boost Wi-Fi performance, the gateway uses a Xway Wav500 Wi-Fi chipset with multi-user MIMO support to handle more than 100 devices and 1Gbps of traffic simultaneously.

Bryant said the gateway is the result of the February 2015 purchase of Lantiq.

"We integrated them into our connected home division," he said. "We were number one in cable, they were number two in DSL, they had fibre assets and they had a Wi-Fi access point team."

"This access point, it's awesome at having higher a number of things connected to them with smaller packet sizes -- which in the house tends to be the case when you start connecting different devices."

Intel said it expects 1 billion home gateways to ship in the entire market over the next three years, and has already signed up Arris, ASUS, Belkin, Foxconn, Haier, Linksys, and Netgear as OEMs.

Earlier in the presentation, Intel announced its Broadwell-E family of processors. The beefiest out of the bunch comes in the form of the 10-core Core i7 6950X, which arrives with a hefty $1,723 price tag, 25MB of cache, a 3GHz base clock speed, support for 4-channel DDR4-2400 memory, and 40 PCI-E lanes. The other processors in the lineup are the 8-core i7 6900K, and 6-core i7 6850K and i7 6800K.

Compared to its brethren, the 6950X has the lowest base clock frequency, and as cores are reduced across the family, the base and turbo frequencies available increase.

Based on Xeon processors, the new extreme chips use Broadwell architecture rather than the newer Skylake architecture.

The company also announced its Xeon E3-1500 v5 processor family, which has Iris Pro P580 graphics baked in, and is targeted at media processing and data centre graphical workloads. Intel said the E3-1500 v5 can handle up to two real-time H.265 4K streams, or up to 18 1080p streams, at 30 frames per second.

Computex continues throughout the week.

Disclosure: Chris Duckett attended Computex as a guest of Intel.

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