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A Wi-Fi 6 Chip Built on Intel



One of the core critics of the Killer Networking hardware has been reliability and hardware drivers. On the latest generation product, the company took away with them by working with Intel, with Intel hardware and Intel's stack of drivers. Intel's part of the deal was to include hardware and IP from the Killer team to enable Killers features: Advanced Stream Detection, Killer Intelligence Engine and Priority. This launch is in collaboration with Intel again for Wi-Fi 6-enabled AX1650 chip, available for integration into devices or as an M.2 module.

Killer and Intel: A "Killer" combination for Wi-Fi 6 [19659003] Intel recently announced its Wi-Fi 6 module, AX200. Rivet Networks Killer AX1650 is a development on this card that supports the same features: up to 2.4 Gbps theoretical throughput with a 2
5;2 connection better latency in multi-user scenarios, extended battery life in mobile devices, and sharing the same base driver bundle. The Killer AX1650 promises to actually hit the Intel module on the market and will ship in Alienware devices in April.

By default, Wi-Fi 6 provides most of these benefits – up to 40% better performance than 802.11ac, increased throughput in dense environments and a better race-to-sleep environment. The value added for the Killer version comes in the quality of the service offered beyond what the Intel solution provides.

A quick essay on Killer: A New Killer

The company behind the Killer product line, Rivet Networks, spun out of Qualcomm's Atheros division back in 2014 and has since built its latest technology with any partner who can offer the best combination of features. For the Wi-Fi modules since 2017, this has been Intel, and that partnership is now in its second iteration. As mentioned above, Intel builds what Rivet needs in its base chip and that chip is sold both as an Intel solution or a Killer solution with the extra features enabled, but with the same hardware during and same base driver stack with additional tweaks on the Killer side.

These tweaks allow the Killer product to do several things that the Intel version cannot do: it uses trained algorithms to detect types of network traffic (streaming, games, VOIP, video, downloads) from the traffic patterns, and then calibrates priority queue accordingly, ensuring that higher priority and latent sensitive traffic leave the system first. The software is automatically delivered with a pre-programmed white list of auto-priority software, and users can adjust the priority of the flight. Rivet also performs its own internal controls every night to ensure that the top 1000 applications are still correctly detected. By downloading the network detection algorithms and the prioritization process to the hardware, one of the benefits of Killer is lower CPU usage compared to other optimal software solutions.

What this means is that the two biggest problems users have with the killer implementation, the hardware and the drivers, share the common backbone of Intel – without the installed Killer software, the hardware is executed by the Intel solution.

Additional Killer Features

Aside from the Advanced Stream Detect hardware / Rivet Networks, the company has built up the offers it offers, all built using the underlying hardware as a point of acceleration. One of these is the Killer Intelligence Engine, which provides a list of optimizations that the software provides to provide a cleaner networking experience, as well as recommendations that the user can do as well.

These optimizations include, for example, that video stream detection be placed with low priority or preferably print traffic through various connections based on reliability, latency and bandwidth. In the talk of rival network, KIE has actually been a super tool for its customers to diagnose network problems.

Another prominent feature is xTend, which allows users to use the Wi-Fi module connected to a Wi-Fi network while transmitting as an access point. It uses time cutting to handle the two, but if users need to expand their network (say in a limited hotel room), the Killer software can help manage this. For the AX1650 product, it means a full Wi-Fi 6 access point, so devices like Samsung Galaxy S10 can utilize the connectivity features that Wi-Fi 6 provides.

For customers who want to integrate Killer into a laptop or on a motherboard with multiple Killer connections (Wi-Fi plus wired), the package also allows Double Shot Pro, allowing users to configure which tube data can go down, prioritize bandwidth and latency for users who can benefit from multiple connections or networks.

We have actually been in contact with Rivet Networks for several years. One of the most important highlights of discussing with them is that they are not afraid of feedback – they get a lot of what you can imagine. The team at Rivet has met me several times over the years to discuss their hardware and software offerings, and I've seen the product line develop over time, with some of my entries that make it the final versions. There is a lot of positivity in the team, and the true belief that they have a differentiating product that gives enthusiasts great benefits for their gaming system. Being based on the Intel solution, the Killer product is a bit more expensive than Intel, and if that was not good, Rivet's partners would not continue to use product generation after generation. As an objectively neutral opponent, considering that I am talking to all of Rivet's competitors in a similar way, I can understand where the Killer product range offers that level of differentiation compared to the competition and compared to Intel's solutions. OEMs like Dell, Acer and MSI all tend to agree on their game portfolio and have used the Killer solution for several generations.

Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 2×2

The first collaborator with Rivet Networks for the AX1650 is Dell's Alienware, which will ship with the new chip in April. Considering our conversations with suppliers at CES, it looks like the Computex show in June will be a hub with a lot of new hardware, so we can expect to see additional messages there. For users who want to buy the AX1650 separately for their system, an associated M.2 module will be available on Amazon over time.

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