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.

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