802.11ac is the latest soon-to-be-ratified wireless networking standard under the IEEE 802.11 protocol. 802.11ac is a significant jump in technology and data-carrying capabilities. This fact sheet is designed to provide pertinent 802.11ac information at a glance. We will update the fact sheet with further developments and facts as they become available.
What we know
- Bandwidth: Up to 1000 Mb/s (multi-station) or 500 Mb/s (single-station).
- Beamforming: A signal processing technique used in antenna arrays for directional signal transmission or reception is now standard.
- Certified products: Wi-Fi Alliance has started certifying 802.11ac products. You can find the latest certified products from access points to computers and peripherals at wifi.org.
- Channel Bonding: A technology where two or more network interfaces are combined for redundancy or increased throughput. 802.11ac uses 20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHZ, or 160 MHz (optional) channel widths.
- Compatibility: 802.11ac is designed to work with existing 802.11a/n devices in the 5 GHz frequency range.
- Frequency range: 5.0 GHz ISM band.
- Modulation: BPSK, QPSK, 16 QAM, 64 QAM, and Optional: 256 QAM, up from 64 QAM used by 802.11n.
- Multi-user MIMO: A technology that directs independent data streams to multiple devices is employed in 802.11ac devices.
- Ratification: IEEE expects to ratify the 802.11ac standard early 2014.
- Spatial Streams: A transmission technique used by MIMO to transmit independent data signals from each of the multiple transmit antennas. 802.11ac devices can use eight streams versus four streams for 802.11n.
Michael Kassner is currently a systems manager for an international company. Together with his son, he runs MKassner Net, a small IT publication consultancy.