Have any questions about 802.11ac? Check out these FAQ's


Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:50
Jun 27th, 2014
  1. Why is 802.11ac important?
    • 802.11 ac addresses the speed and capacity challenges customers face in the 802.11n and older technology.
    • By 2016 over 70% of the mobile devices will be 802.11ac enabled
    • With all the social media applications, customers are sharing more video contents than before.
  2. What are the benefits from a user perspective of 802.11ac compared to 802.11n?
    • Better Battery Life on mobile devices
    • More bandwidth.
    • Greater client density (more users).
    • Faster Client adoption.
  3. Is 802.11ac backward compatible with 802.11 a/n?
    • Yes, 802.11ac radios also support 802.11 a/n clients.
    • All enterprise and SMB grade access points provide at least (2) radios - 2.4 GHz for 802.11 b/g/n & 5 GHz 802.11 a/n.
  4. What are the key differences between 802.11 g/a/n and 802.11ac?
    • Spectrum
      • 802.11n operates in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums.
      • Both 802.11a and 802.11ac operates in 5GHz only.
    • Speed
      • The latest generation of 802.11n Access Points max out at a data rate of 450 Mbps
      • 802.11ac provides a date rate of 1.3 Gbps (Wave-1) and 802.11ac (Wave -2) will offer a data rate of 3.5 Gbps
      • 802.11ac can operate at up to 3 X faster than 802.11n
    • Battery Savings
      • Since 802.11ac devices are more efficient over the air they transmit for shorter intervals conserving battery life.
      • 802.11ac has been shown to improve battery life up to 2x over 802.11n
  5. What is the difference between Wave-1 and Wave-2 802.11ac?
    • The biggest difference - Wave1 802.11ac is available now from multiple chipset manufactures and the expectation is that 802.11ac Wave2 will come to market in 2015-2016.
    • 802.11ac Wave-2 will require new chipsets so this will not be a software upgrade to current 802.11ac platforms.
    • Main features of 802.11ac Wave- 1 include:
      • PHY Rate 1.3Gbps
      • Channel Bonding support for 80 MHz (mandatory);
      • 3 Spatial Streams, Single User MIMO  
      • 2SS mandatory for non-battery powered AP’s    
      • Only 1SS mandatory for battery powered AP's and clients
      • Faster modulation 256-QAM 
    • Main features expected of 802.11ac Wave-2 include:    
      • Multi User MIMO
      • 4th Spatial Stream
      • 160 MHz wide channels: non-contiguous 80+80 and contiguous 160      
      • PHY Rate ranging from 1.3 Gbps to 3.5 Gbps (depending on the number of spatial streams and channel width)
  6. Why would you buy Wave 1 802.11ac now and not just wait for Wave 2 802.11ac?
    • Why deploy 802.11ac Wave-1
      • Wave 1 is the best-in-class, most innovative RF solution available today.
      • Customers in an active buying cycle to expand their network and adopt 802.11ac Wave 1 today, instead of 11n or waiting for Wave 2 which won’t be available until 2015.
      • 802.11ac Wave 1 represents fundamental improvements and enhancements to 802.11n in terms of client performance due to 3-4x higher throughput than 802.11n
      • Users can expect to have better experience for data, voice, video, VDI, etc.
      • Wider channel bandwidth in 802.11ac means more real estate to support higher client density in conference room, auditoriums or stadiums
      • Client devices are adopting 802.11ac faster than 802.11n
      • Smart phones, tablets and laptops are on and off the network faster thereby conserving battery life.
    • What benefits can I expect with 802.11ac Wave-2
      • Higher Density / or number of concurrent Wi-Fi devices = MU-MIMO “Switch Like behavior”
      • Higher Throughput up to 3.5 Gbps = 4th Spatial Stream and 160 MHz wide channels
  7. Has the 802.11ac standard been ratified?  
    • Yes - The ratification and publication of 802.11ac by IEEE was completed December 9th 2013 and was ANSI approved December 11th 2013.
    • The 802.11 timeline updates can always be found here under the “RevCom & Standards Board Final or Continuous Process Approval” -> http://www.ieee802.org/11/Reports/802.11_Timelines.htm


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