Rivet Networks, maker of the Killer line of networking solutions, today announced its first Wi-Fi 6 chip, the Killer AX1650. The new network controller is the second multi-gig-compatible update from Rivet this year after the company launched its 2.5Gbps Killer E3000 Ethernet controller in January at CES.
Based on the new wireless specification formerly known as 802.11ax (hence the “AX” in Killer AX1650), the new 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 controller was built in collaboration with Intel and touts the significant performance and usability improvements promised by the emerging Wi-Fi 6 market. These include a theoretical maximum throughput of up to 2.4Gbps, up to 4 times increased throughput in dense environments, and improved power efficiency (thanks in part to the fact that faster speeds mean shorter time transferring data, allowing mobile devices to keep their networking chips in lower power states for longer periods of time compared to previous networking specifications).
While these benefits are common to most upcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices, Rivet is aiming to distinguish the AX1650 by combining them with the existing Killer network and gaming optimization software, which has been tuned to take advantage of the new faster networking specification. Key Killer software features include:
Killer Control Center 2.0: The newest version of Killer Control Center, which launched alongside the E3000 in January, lets users monitor and control their networking experience with features such as the ability to visualize real-time and historical traffic data, configure app-specific bandwidth priorities and limits, and block unsafe or unknown networking traffic. This is also where users can configure Killer GameFast, which can automatically pause unneeded applications and Windows processes when gaming to ensure the best gaming performance, and Killer Intelligence Engine, which can automatically optimize the user’s network configuration or recommend changes for improved performance and reliability.
Killer DoubleShot Pro: The Killer DoubleShot Pro technology, which can combine wireless and wired networking connections for improved throughput, is enhanced by the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6. When a device is equipped with both Killer Wi-Fi and Killer Ethernet chips, users can assign certain applications to either interface. Previously, users could assign their highest priority traffic to the Ethernet interface for the best speeds and reliability, while less important traffic, such as Windows Updates or background file transfers, could be routed to the wireless interface. With Wi-Fi 6 and the Killer AX1650, the wireless interface can often now be as fast or faster than the wired interface, giving users two high-speed options for independently routing network traffic.
Killer Wireless xTend: The existing Killer Wireless xTend feature lets users configure their Killer network interface as a Wi-Fi extender in addition to a receiver, helping cover areas of weak wireless signals without the need to upgrade a router or purchase dedicated wireless extender devices. With the AX1650, this feature can take advantage of the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, including improved range and throughput.
Based on the combined benefits of these software and hardware features, Rivet is touting significant performance improvements compared to devices based on the 802.11ac specification. This includes real-world bandwidth of up 1.8Gbps in ideal conditions (with 1.5Gbps typical), up to 75 percent lower network latency, and up to a 3x improvement in online game latency.
The Killer AX1650 will be launching soon in high-end gaming laptops from Alienware. Exact models and availability have yet to be announced. Like all Wi-Fi 6 devices, the AX1650 is backwards compatible with 802.11ac/n, but you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6-capable router to take advantage of all of the AX1650’s features.