Wi-Fi researchThe next generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac, is upon us and the Wi-Fi Alliance has unveiled their Wi-Fi Certified ac program. The Wi-Fi Certified program is basically the Wi-Fi Alliance’s stamp of approval for products that have passed interoperability and other testing developed by the industry standards group. Past versions of Wi-Fi have gone through a similar certification process, including Wi-Fi n. There are currently about 15,000 Wi-Fi certified devices on the market.

Wi-Fi ac addresses the growing bandwidth requirements from multimedia content. The Wi-Fi Alliance says certified 802.11ac products should deliver speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps, supporting in-home distribution of HD video. Additional specifications of 802.11ac include higher capacity for more devices to be connected to a Wi-Fi network and lower latency characteristics for better performance with multimedia and gaming.

This newest version of Wi-Fi, which operates in the 5 GHz band, may prove to give other networking standards like MoCA and G.hn some competition. The Wi-Fi Alliance is pushing the wireless option as delivering “…whole-home coverage at two or even three times the speed of older Wi-Fi products and handle demanding applications such as Ultra HD and 4K  video, multimedia, and rapid file transfer with ease.” Some service providers, including AT&T, have already experimented with Wi-Fi based set-top-boxes for wireless IPTV distribution in the home using previous slower versions of Wi-Fi.

Advertisement

Most Wi-Fi Certified ac products are expected to be dual-band, with support for both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This preserves interoperability with previous versions of Wi-Fi, which is one of the reasons why Wi-Fi has been so successful. The 2.4 GHz band has become quite crowded. By moving to the 5 GHz band, 802.11ac products should get some bandwidth breathing room.  One goal for the move to 5 GHz is to move the multimedia networking heavy lifting to 802.11ac, while the 2.4 GHz versions of Wi-Fi continue to serve the more mundane networking activities like web browsing, email, and app engagement.

With the announcement of Wi-Fi Certified ac, the Wi-Fi Alliance also unveiled some research regarding the growing use of Wi-Fi. Key findings of this research include:

Wi-Fi_CERTIFIED_ac_infographic_20130619

  • The number of Wi-Fi devices in U.S. households has doubled over the past five years.
  • There is an average of four devices now connected to the home Wi-Fi network during peak usage times.
  • Sixty percent of U.S. respondents indicated they are using Wi-Fi for multimedia applications more now than they were three years ago.
  • Among young people (18-24 years of age), Wi-Fi is more essential than traditional forms of entertainment – 69 percent of respondents in that age group said that a Wi-Fi outage would be more disruptive than a television outage in their home.

Wi-Fi ac enabled mobile devices, tablets, laptops, consumer electronics products and networking gear is expected to be available in the second half of this year, reports the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don’t Miss Any of Our Content

What’s happening with broadband and why is it important? Find out by subscribing to Telecompetitor’s newsletter today.

You have Successfully Subscribed!