Bringing Increased Data, Reduced Latency Rates To Wi-Fi
June 21, 2013

Bringing Increased Data, Reduced Latency Rates To Wi-Fi

Peter Suciu for – Your Universe Online

The wireless networking industry is getting a new standard that could offer higher data rates, greater capacity and even reduced latency rates over 802.11n. The Wi-Fi Alliance is now launching a certification program for devices for the new IEEE 802.11ac draft standard.

The new 802.11ac reportedly offers up to three times the wireless speed of the existing 802.11n standard, which could support even more demanding applications including Ultra HD and 4K video and multimedia, while allowing for faster data transfers within a wireless home network.

The certification process might not be as speedy as the bandwidth it will provide and the working group isn’t expected to finish until at least November, with final ratification expected around February, 2014. However, this lengthy process hasn’t slowed down manufacturers from introducing products based on the draft standard, which have been hitting store shelves since last August. Until now, however, buyers haven’t had any actual assurances these products would be compatible and work together.

This certification process is the next step in ensuring routers, adapters and other wireless gear will be compatible.

“Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac is the first generation of Wi-Fi that can deliver up to gigabit per second data rates, connecting demanding applications such as multimedia streaming and fast file transfer on tablets, gaming devices, handsets and many other devices. Based on IEEE 802.11ac, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac devices offer higher capacity and improved power management, and readily handle today’s demanding applications while paving the way for new products and services,” noted the Wi-Fi Alliance on its website for the Wi-Fi Certified ac standard.

This certification process is coming now as the Wi-Fi Alliance reported the number of Wi-Fi devices in US households has doubled over the past five years,. Moreover, surveys conducted by the trade organization noted 60 percent of US respondents indicated they are using Wi-Fi for multimedia applications more than just three years ago, and that there is now an average of four devices connected in the home via Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Certified ac operates in 5GHz, providing devices with increased bandwidth, while most compatible 802.11ac devices are also expected to be dual-band. This means these devices can operate in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and support Wi-Fi Certified n (802.11n) in the 2.4GHz frequency band.

“Consumers have an insatiable appetite for rich, connected experiences,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance in a statement. “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac advances the ability of Wi-Fi to satisfy that appetite by increasing capacity and improving performance, thus paving the way for new products and services that provide a great user experience.”

The adoption of wireless devices continues to increase and the trade group predicts there will be 19 billion networked devices worldwide by 2017. 802.11ac could be one way to ensure wireless can keep up with all this data consumption.

ABI Research further predicted the shipments of dual-band Wi-Fi chipsets will exceed 1.5 billion by the end of next year.

“Progression within the Wi-Fi industry has been driven primarily by applications in the mobile and connected home space,” Phil Solis, ABI Research analyst told PCMag. “The latest generation of the technology, Wi-Fi Certified ac, preserves interoperability, which has been the foundation for the technology’s success, and will enable product manufacturers to continue to explore new avenues for wireless connectivity.”