Server-to-motherboard company Asrock launched a gaming monitor earlier this year, one that had a unique feature that was hitherto untested. The PG34WQ15R3A has a 7dBi high-gain Wi-Fi antenna built right into the monitor stand, one that allows users to connect a Wi-Fi card antenna output straight away using two SMA (SubMiniature version A) connectors. SMA connectors are also used in mobile hotspot devices like the Netgear Nighthawk MR5200 5G portable router.
Now, HKEPC has tested the accessory and the real world results have proved to be excellent with 40% improvement in download speeds and a staggering 130% gain in upload speeds, great for video conferencing, cloud backup and online collaboration. Likewise, ping went down by 25% and jitter by 75%, almost unbelievable stuff although your mileage will vary depending on a number of factors.
There’s two reasons why gains are so important: firstly, the size of the antenna in the monitor stand is at least an order of magnitude bigger than the antenna you’d find on a Wi-Fi card. Secondly, there’s the fact that a monitor is not tucked under a desk or in a corner but instead perched on a desktop (or still better on a standing desk) which offers better coverage and therefore improves signal transmission.
Asrock’s monitor is the only one we know that has this feature but others are likely to follow suit given the popularity of motherboards and systems that have SMA connections for Wi-Fi antenna and users that put their device either in a cupboard or under a desk.
A new way of improving internet speeds
While organizations worldwide have moved en masse to business laptops, business PCs still occupy a not-so-insignificant part of the market. Innovations like this unobtrusive Wi-Fi antenna stand will help with performance and productivity without incurring significant costs. Laptops are unlikely to benefit from that useful tweak though unless used with a laptop docking station with a dedicated USB Wi-Fi card.
Speaking of docking stations, we’ve seen at least one instance in the past where a vendor – Philips – merged one of them with a docking station; but this was a fraught idea that was quickly abandoned. That said, there is some significant real estate behind business monitors, especially as screen sizes have ballooned; 21-inch to 27-inch displays in offices are quite common. Being able to add accessories (monitor arms) – or even entire computers (e.g. Mini PC) behind the screen using the universal VESA mount has become more attractive.