If your office was anything like ours today, there were multiple streams of the Sochi Olympics Canada vs. Latvia quarter-final hockey game running on many devices today – from laptops to tablets to smartphones. And if your IT administrators are kind enough (or out of the office) and the streams are able to run unhindered, it could be taxing on your network from a bandwidth point of view as well as the pure number of endpoints being served.

With the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, employees are introducing more mobile device endpoints onto those WiFi access points and bogging them down. So new ways to enable all those devices in the office can help with the heavy workload. Both Belkin International Inc. subsidiary Linksys and D-Link Corp. announced new hardware for WiFi access points and range extenders today that you might want to consider if your office has an Olympic addiction. IT administrators who drop a few of these on their network blueprint may well indeed be awarded a gold medal in networking performance by their colleagues.

Linksys is introducing two new access points that can double as range extenders. The Wireless-N300 Access Point (LAPN300) and Wireless-N600 Dual Band Access Point (LAPN600) both come with power over Ethernet, so you don’t need to place them near a wall outlet, just an Ethernet cable to keep them online provided that you have the right type of router. Supporting 802.11n WiFi, the routers provide up to 300 Mbps speeds and the LAPN600 includes dual-band support running a 2.4 Ghz network and 5 Ghz network simultaneously. The access points can be set up and managed via a web browser interface and have security features including rogue access point detection.

The LAPN300 model is priced starting at US$199.99 and the LAPN600 model starts at US$299.99. Both are rolling out this month via distributors.

D-Link’s new Wireless AC Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1520) is being billed as the first-ever dual band AC range extender available in Canada. AC refers to the 802.11ac WiFi standard this hardware supports, the latest generation of WiFi following 802.11n. The new standard uses beamforming technology to communicate directly to endpoints rather than widely broadcasting a signal through an area and is said to be more efficient (it works with older standards too). Designed for home or small office use, it supports speeds up to 433 Mbps. Just plug it in to an outlet and press the Wi-Fi Protected Setup button on the device and your router to extend your network.

Available in Canada now, the DAP-1520 can be picked up for $79.99 at many retail outlets.

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