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Full speed ahead for 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi

Bob Brown | Dec. 5, 2014
Aruba Networks, which rolled out 802.11ac access points in May of 2013 to deliver more than 1Gbps throughput, is now shipping more 11ac than 11n gear.

It's not too soon to look beyond 11ac, either. The IEEE approved the 802.11ad (WiGig) standard back in early 2013 for high-speed networking in the unlicensed 60GHz radio spectrum band, and the WiFi Alliance will likely be establishing a certification program for this within the next year or so.

Aruba's Dorothy Stanley, head of standards strategy, says 11ad is "not really about replacing the W-Fi infrastructure, but augmenting it for certain apps."

She says it could have peer-to-peer uses, and cites frequently-talked about scenarios such as downloading a movie or uploading photos at an airport kiosk. These are applications that would require only short-range connections but involve heavy data exchanges.

Stanley adds that developing and manufacturing 11ad products has its challenges. Nevertheless, big vendors such as Cisco and Qualcomm (via its Wilocity buyout) have pledged support for the technology.

"It's something everybody is looking at and trying to understand where its sweet spot is," Stanley says. "The promise of it is additional spectrum for wireless communications."

Another IEEE standards effort dubbed 802.11ax is the most likely successor to 11ac, and has a focus on physical and media-access layer techniques that will result in higher efficiency in wireless communications.

 

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