Rivet Networks Q&A: From The Bigfoot Killer NIC To Qualcomm And Back

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Rivet Networks Q&A (Cont.)

The Killer Wireless-AC 1535 boasts of increased bandwidth and range, with lower latency and more advanced packet inspection / detection. We understand you’re not going to disclose all of your secret mojo, but how is it the Wireless-AC 1535 achieve these things whereas competing solutions have not?

In addition to the Multi-User MIMO support mentioned early, our Extreme Range technology on the 1535 has both an external low noise amplifier to help detect and improve weaker signals, as well as an external signal amplifier for improved transmission. These two amplifiers combine to help the 1535 have greater throughput at longer range than competing products. So far this has been demonstrable in 100% of the reviews done on the product.

The 1535 has the same great packet detection and prioritization that the E2400 has, but given the variability of wireless there are many other opportunities for us optimize the user experience. We have worked super hard on this product to reduce system generated latency down to under a millisecond. To put it in perspective the Killer E2400 has system generated latency down to under 200 microseconds (1/5th of a millisecond). This means that most gamers can play wirelessly with the 1535 and get an experience that is very close to wired performance. We see gamers with awesome notebooks plugging into Ethernet all the time. We understand gamers will still do this a large percentage of the time, but we also want them to know that wireless gaming has never been better.

killer 1535

Do you have any plans to release any more Killer-branded add in cards?

We have a full roadmap that will continue to enhance Killer Ethernet and wireless products over the next several years. But just to be clear, we have no current plans for another add-in card. The current plan is for everything we do to be sold in systems and on motherboards like it is today. In addition, we are looking into other products that can provide the quality and performance Killer customers expect and really add some concrete value to our partner’s solutions. We can’t dive into those details but I can assure you we will let you know as soon as we have something we can talk about.

Are there advantages to using a Killer NIC over and above gaming?

Absolutely. One of the foundations of our products is Advanced Stream Detect technology, which we mentioned earlier. One of the best parts about this is that it works way beyond gaming. For example, a test case we encourage someone to do who is testing the technology is to start up streaming HD video. While the video is playing smoothly, fire up a bit torrent or another large file transfer that maxes out your network connection. Once your buffer runs out on your video, you will see your video start to stutter and eventually even stop completely if you are not using Killer with Advanced Stream Detect. With Killer, though, your video will be uninterrupted because we will prioritize your video traffic over your download. This is true for VOIP, TeamViewer, Skype, etc. We prioritize the applications that are critical over important but not urgent things like downloads. If a user doesn’t like how we prioritize things they can easily go into the Killer Network Manager and set their own priorities. Our goal is to provide the user the optimal networking experience and we understand that some users will need to adjust their priorities to achieve this.
killer e2400

How does Advanced Stream Detect differ from the basic QoS options available in many routers? Would ASD compliment a router with QoS?

Great question. Most people don’t know this, but it was our team from Bigfoot that created Qualcomm’s Streamboost technology which is found today in many performance routers. This feature uses a similar technology, but is implemented at the router level. StreamBoost is quite a bit more advanced than standard router QoS as it truly manages traffic on a per application basis.

Router QoS and Killer work very well together. The router typically prioritizes ports and protocols. This is a good start, but since Killer knows exactly what is happening on a certain device it can be much smarter and impactful about what is prioritized at a device level. Killer also optimizes several parameters on the device which is something a router can’t do. A user will get the best experience if they have both a router with good QoS + a Killer Networking product on the device they are using.

Can you explain how Killer DoubleShot PRO and DoubleShot-X3 PRO differs from traditional network teaming?

Traditional network teaming is usually a server feature, and is all about fault tolerance (what happens when a connection drops) and bandwidth aggregation (maxing bandwidth at all time). We have taken a different approach. We call it “Smart Path Selection”. When DoubleShot Pro is active, Killer takes the highest prioritized networked applications and puts all of their traffic over your faster connection. This is almost always your Ethernet connection. By smartly deciding which applications need the fastest connection we can relegate all other traffic to the other connection. We also monitor the quality of the connections and if the quality drops below a level that will provide a good networking experience, we shift all the traffic to the most reliable link.

For those users lucky enough to get a system with DoubleShot Pro X3, there are actually 3 Killer network interfaces to work with. The same principle applies, only we now can spread the applications over all three network interfaces based on the application’s priority and the speed of each connection.

gigabyte killer mobo
The Gigabyte Z170X Gaming G1 Features Killer Networking Technology
Which OEMs / ODMs currently feature Killer Networking technology?

Our products are available through Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock motherboards, and can be found on Dell/Alienware, Acer, and MSI notebooks and desktops. In addition, you’ll find Killer on many systems offered by specialty gaming PC manufacturers such as Cyberpower, Maingear, etc.

Besides using a Killer NIC, what are some things gamers can do to improve their on-line gaming experience? Once a packet leaves their PC, there’s a lot of stuff that can happen before it reaches its destination...

Using Killer with a great MU-MIMO enabled router such as Linksys EA8500 is definitely your first step. Killer Wireless products also include a Wi-Fi Manager that tell you the signal strength and channel of each nearby access point. Picking an access point with high signal strength and a less crowded channel will certainly help. There are also some really cool powerline with Wi-Fi solutions, if a user is having issues getting signal in a certain part of the house.

Beyond that, be sure you have a solid internet connection and a well-balanced overall PC. Sometimes we have found people spend a lot of money on their CPUs and GPUs and motherboards only to put in an inexpensive hard drive which slows down everything in the system. Having a strong, capable system combined with solid networking products like Killer should put users in a great position to enjoy their gaming experience.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Rivet Networks. Networking technology is something we all use and rely on daily, but isn’t always understood as deeply as the latest GPUs, GPUs, and storage. Hopefully, this chat with Rivet sheds a little more light on what’s going on behind the scenes when you’re playing games on-line, streaming video, or grabbing that latest torrent…

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