But when consumers install them, the speed is limited by the power of old routers, mostly designed before the onslaught of on-demand viewing.
Now, a small San Francisco-based start-up called Eero aims to massively expand that bandwidth. The company has built WiFi technology for this new era of data overload, and is now working on partnerships to get its routers in more households.
"The number one customer complaint has been not being able to connect to the WiFi network," said co-founder and CEO Nick Weaver, 27, who's been fixing home networking systems since he was 10. "There hasn't been a solution out there that fixes, within the four walls, the problems people have in their homes."
The fact that streaming is increasingly the new normal in American TV watching—according to IMDB, two of the three most popular TV shows currently airing are Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" and "Sense8," while "House of Cards" is also in the top 30—means that old data transmission technologies won't be sufficient for the on-demand future. Not to mention all the connected music players, thermostats and home security systems that more and more homes will have.
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Perhaps underscoring that need, Eero immediately sold out of its first few thousand boxes when they went on sale in February. The company is currently in talks with some of the major streaming companies and expects to have one or two distribution deals in place this year, said Weaver.