Sunday, March 24, 2013

IEEE 802.11ac: Learn the Fundamentals of the New WLAN Standard

The IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard promises to deliver greater than a Gigabit connectivity for the next generation of mobile devices. Learn more:

What is 802.11ac? 

Avril Salter, Wireless Deployment Specialist, Next Direction Technologies

AC is a new radio. We've had B, A, G, N, and we've now got AC. Why it's really exciting is it's going to go up to much, much higher data rates. It's also going to allow you to have much higher capacity of wireless traffic across your network.

How does it do that? It has several key features. One of the main features is it goes to wider bandwidths. In N, we've go 20 and 40 megahertz, and now we're going to 80 and also an option to go to 160 megahertz, significantly increasing your data rate. 

It's also introducing spatial multiplexing up to an 8x8 MIMO. There are 8 antennas, which is pretty amazing if you think about using 8 antennas on this equipment now.

The very first products you're going to see 2013 in the enterprise environment we anticipate will be a 3x3 MIMO. What that one may be able to do is get up to data rates which is over a gigabit per second. We're looking at 1.3 Gbps in good RF conditions. So it's going to give you a much, much richer user environment for doing data, video, etc. 

There are also some really other interesting features. One of the things that's also going to incrementally increase your data rate is going to 256 QAM, a much, much higher level of modulation, which I have never seen except in microwave links before. So we're now seen that in a Wi-Fi environment, and what's nice with that one is we're going to couple that with beamforming, so focusing your energy in one direction, which will allow you to get up to those higher data rates much further away from your access point, which is just really exciting that you can get now higher data rates by using these more advanced technologies.

The other one which we've not seen before is called multi-user MIMO and multi-user MIMO is actually going to allow you to have up to four users transmitting at the same time. Historically, we've had one use of our access point, and now we have four. That's going to be up to fourfold in your capacity. 

Not only are you going to have higher data rates, but you're going to have higher capacity as well. So this is super exciting that we have this new radio coming out.

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