How much better is 802.11ac WiFi, and when will we see it in consumer products?


I understand that 802.11ac Wi-Fi will be faster than 802.11n. Will it offer any other advantages, like increased range or new security standards that will be noticeable to users even when they aren't streaming Netflix to their Androids at the office. One of our interns likes to stream Sgt. Frog while she "works", so that would be great for her, but hopefully there will be other benefits for the rest of us (Although I have to admit that she was right: Sgt. Frog is, in fact, hilarious.). Also, when can we expect to see 802.11ac used in consumer products like laptops and tablets, where faster WiFi would really be a benefit?

Tags: 802.11ac, wifi
Topic: Networking
Answer this Question


2 total
Vote Up (32)

802.11ac uses MIMO (multiple antennas for both reception and broadcast that enable greater data throughput without the need to use more bandwidth or power for transmission) to send up to eight spatial streams vs. 802.11n's max of four. Once chip manufacturers support the additional streams, it will provide improved signal reliability and greater transfer speed.

802.11n bonds two ability to bond two channels together to gain bandwidth, while 801.11ac increases that to 8 channels. This is more of a positive for home use than enterprise use, since more individual users require more channels to prevent a reduction of the network's efficiency.

I think the roll out of 802.11ac will take a while. It takes time for chip manufacturers to support new standards, and even longer to fully utilize the changes.

Vote Up (26)

Here's a helpful article about 802.11ac that gives some background about it and explains why it's better than 802.11n.

802.11ac: what you need to know

"If you thought Wi-Fi couldn't get much faster than 802.11n, think again.

802.11ac, dubbed 5G Wi-Fi, promises ridiculously fast wireless connections, better range, improved reliability, improved power consumption and a free horse. (OK, we're lying about the horse.)

802.11ac is the latest evolution of Wi-Fi, and it should be particularly good for gaming and HD video streaming.

So how does it work, does it live up to the hype, and how long will you have to wait before you can get your hands on it? Let's find out."

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
For two years, Google has quietly been developing autonomous flying vehicles that can be used to deliver packages for disaster relief or for commerce purposes, the company revealed Thursday.
It seems like poaching drivers is par for the course in the ride-sharing industry.
IBM continues to make the case for the nascent field of cognitive computing, showing off some Watson prototypes Thursday that could help speed scientific discovery in the medical field, by scanning large volumes of literature and data far more quickly then humans can, and suggesting possible leads.
NASA migrated 65 software applications, including its flagship website to the cloud in 22 weeks, and the space agency is still in the midst of a massive deployment to the cloud.
Is it crazy to pay $1300 for a Chromebook? Some reflections after a year and a half of living with Google's luxurious Pixel.
After several years of Internet infrastructure investment, with increased local content generation and Internet users, Africa seems to be getting the attention of major global network operators and content distribution networks.
Links are, in many ways, the lifeblood of the Internet. They are a good thing but not when they bait you into thinking you're getting something you're not. Links, and more specifically clicking on them, may make the Internet go round, but when that stream becomes a never-ending cycle of buffoonery, scheming and outright lies on sites like Facebook it can be pretty unbearable.
Enterprises that want to share and store files online have yet another option now that Amazon Web Services has opened its Zocalo service to general availability.
Uber has come under fire this week for employing controversial recruitment practices against rival Lyft, but beyond a question of ethics some experts say the revelations could potentially put the company in legal hot water.
While there have been infrastructure investments in Africa over the last eight years, most Internet content accessed in local markets is still hosted abroad -- a topic that is being addressed this week at a meeting in Dakar, Senegal.
Join us: