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Wave 2 Wi-Fi may be a sleeper, but it's great for some

Stephen Lawson | June 30, 2016
The Wi-Fi Alliance has started certifying 802.11ac Wave 2 products more than a year after they hit the market

The very performance boost that makes Wave 2 better may also be holding it back, because individual access points can now go well above 1Gbps. Feeding that much data back into a wired Ethernet switch takes either 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, which in most cases means higher grade cables, or a new generation of ports that can run at 2.5GHz or 5GHz. Getting enterprises to make either leap will take time.

If the latest spec is really a half step and is up against a newer technology coming so soon, why did certification come so late? WFA says it starts certifying new technologies when users need them. But the consolidation of the Wi-Fi chip industry may also have affected the timing, said Mark Grodzinsky, senior director of product management at Qualcomm.

Where there used to be many silicon vendors making chips for Wi-Fi, now there fewer vendors making chips for more types of networks. That may make it harder to find the multiple vendors needed for meaningful interoperability testing, he said.Meanwhile, there's another generation of Wi-Fi coming down the pike with promises of 10Gbps peak rates, a much bigger leap from current 802.11ac systems. Chips for that generation, called 802.11ax, may appear as soon as a year from now, DePuy said. It's hard for vendors to keep up with that pace, he said.

Not as many buyers worry about Wi-Fi certification as in the past, when there were many chip vendors trying to differentiate themselves with their own ways to boost performance, analyst DePuy said.

"It's not like the Wild West anymore. It's a very coordinated industry."

Source: CIO.com

 

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