Connected Objects Networking

Eero can be your hero in overcoming wireless dead zones

A frequent annoyance for Wi-Fi users is when a dead zone prevents them from accessing the Internet in certain locations of their homes. Another annoyance is having to reset a router when it mysteriously stops working.

Eero has been designed to blanket a user’s entire home with fast, reliable Wi-Fi in order to eliminate dead zones and all the other frequent wireless issues that Internet users typically experience. The device looks like a basic router and plugs into an existing cable or DSL modem. Users then just download an Android or iOS app and it will instantly recognize Eero and prompt users to create their own network name and password. Additional Eeros need power from a standard wall outlet and get placed around the home with the help of the app.

A typical apartment will need two Eeros, while an average house will need three and a larger house will require four to work at maximum effectiveness. The Eeros work together to form a mesh network. Unlike traditional routers and extenders that only allow for data to make a single hop, Eero allows for multiple hops with minimal signal loss. Consumers can connect up to 10 Eeros. One unit will cost $199 and its maker will bundle three at the discounted price of $499 when it ships this summer.

Eero holds a lot of promise, as long as it works as effectively as its maker claims. The Splitter is a rival device that attempts to resolve wireless dead zones, but Eero is a far more advanced system.

Connected Objects Technology

Splitter resurrects Wi-Fi dead zones

It can be frustrating when an expensive router can’t provide Wi-Fi to the garage, a far corner of a large house or another Wi-Fi dead spot. Vancouver company ANTLamp has created a relatively low-cost solution.

The Splitter is a device that connects to a Wi-Fi router and splits power and data on a single network cable, enabling the user to place the router on a ceiling or anywhere else in the house where the best Wi-Fi coverage can be provided. There is no need for an extension cord or power outlet. The device can also be used to power small devices such as cable modems, security systems, lamps and some small TVs. ANTLamp is looking to ship the Splitter in August and backers can get one then by pledging $59. It is trying to raise $17,000.

There are certain applications where the device will certainly come in handy, especially if attaching a router to the ceiling is indeed the best location to provide Wi-Fi coverage for an entire house. But at least some consumers may be better off just buying a wireless range extender or wireless repeater at a lower price.  The product’s unoriginal name likely won’t help either.


Cell Phone Accessories Music

Sharebuds MX2 retract the cable, share the music

The Premise. Ever wanted to show a friend a video on your phone, or wanted to let them listen to a song? Most people just pop one of their earbuds out and hand it over — but this results in a diminished sound value and some questionable transfer of ear wax.

The Product. Sharebuds were inspired when the developers saw known-by-first-name celebs Oprah and Bono listening to a song on a Project(Red) iPod. Rather than rely on a simple — or not-so-simple — splitter, their solution combines two pairs of headphones on one cord — one to wear and one to share. The newest perk of the MX2 redesign is that both sets of earbuds are now retractable, which makes them more useful as daily wear headphones. Just tuck the extra pair away and go on your way, as you might hear Fleetwood Mac singing if I could share their song with you.

The Pitch. The video is not anything special. It doesn’t ever actually show how the product works, though. It just looks like two people wearing separate pairs of headphones. You have to scroll down the page to actually see a shot of the whole headphones set as well as a wide range of folks with different relationships — father and son, mother and daughter, couples Yes, you’re far more likely to share music with those you know than complete strangers. Also provided is a collage of audio sources — everything from Spotify to Netflix. Since Sharebuds don’t rely on any software, copy protection isn’t an issue. There are also quotes from a number of celebrities, including Tom Arnold, Selena Gomez, Hoobastank and Plato, although the last one probably wasn’t approved by his PR team. The project owners are also teasing a wireless version of the Sharebuds in a more traditional headphone design due in December 2014.

The Perks. The Sharebuds MX2 will be available in May 2014 at a price of $79, but the developers are doing something interesting to take advantage of the holiday giving season offering you to buy a special $50 gift card that can be redeemed for a pair at a discount. This could set a precedent in how project owners allow people to take advantage of gifting when their actual products are months away.

The Potential. It’s tough to say how good the Sharebuds’ audio quality is. Most people, while having many of the relationships featured in the campaign, don’t need to share headphones too often and retractable coils are prone to wear out. It might be useful to take the Sharebuds along if you know you’ll be traveling with a friend or loved one with whom you share music tastes. But if they bring their own buds, a splitter and a spare pair may do just as well.