Asus has introduced a new member to its Google WiFi-rivalling Lyra family of mesh networking devices at CES, with the fresh addition bringing Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa on board.
Lyra Voice is a tri-band AC2200 router providing 802.11ac Wi-Fi as part of Asus’s mesh system – interacting with other Lyra hubs which extend the wireless network – with a microphone and stereo speakers bolted on to facilitate full Alexa support.
So, you get the full range of Alexa’s tricks built-in, just as with Amazon’s own Echo speaker or its variants. You can tell Alexa to play music (drawn from Amazon’s own library, if you’re a Prime subscriber), inform you about the news or weather, tell you a joke, keep a to-do list, or interact with other smart home devices like connected light bulbs.
Essentially, Lyra Voice is like the primary Lyra hub in the existing system – i.e. it incorporates the router, communicating with the other satellite hubs which extend the wireless network to cover the further reaches (and Wi-Fi dead spots) in your house. The difference being its Alexa-powered smart speaker capabilities.
Also in the same family, Asus unveiled the new Lyra Trio multi-hub mesh Wi-Fi system which, as ever, has the same aim of banishing Wi-Fi dead spots.
The triangular-shaped Trio sports dual-band 3x3 MIMO (as opposed to the existing Lyra which is tri-band 2x2 MIMO) and seamless roaming to get you the best wireless connection wherever you happen to wander about the house. Asus says it prioritizes network security, with ‘always-on privacy protection’ for your smart home devices (and other devices, for that matter).
It’s not clear where this will be pitched in terms of price compared to the existing Lyra mesh networking system, because Asus is still to reveal the cost of both Lyra Voice and Lyra Trio. They will become available at some point in the first half of this year.
Finally, Asus revealed a traditional router in the form of the RT-AX88U. This is a dual-band router with four antennae and support for next-gen 802.11ax which allows for theoretical Wi-Fi speeds of up to 6000Mbps.
Asus notes that it utilizes a smart combination of OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology, with 802.11ax offering around four-times faster throughput compared to 812.11ac Wi-Fi when it comes to traffic-dense environments (where there are a lot of wireless signals packed in close proximity, such as apartment blocks).
The RT-AX88U looks like a typical Asus router, which is to say it’s the usual stealth bomber-like black piece of hardware bristling with antennae, and it offers no less than eight Gigabit LAN ports, so there’s no shortage of wired connectivity.
The device also supports the firm’s AiMesh Wi-Fi technology, meaning it can be used as part of a mesh network, giving it a bit of extra flexibility. Again, pricing of the RT-AX88U is to be confirmed, and like all the networking hardware discussed here, it will go on sale in the first half of 2018.
- New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2018