Gigabit WiFi has arrived, but its real-world performance may not meet lofty expectations. Find out why, and how and when to think about upgrading.
With the 802.11ac standard, Wi-Fi has finally matured to the point that it can meet or beat the user experience of Ethernet, making wireless the LAN of choice. Wireless LAN products that use the very high-throughput protocols of 802.11ac to reach gigabit speeds have been gaining ground since the Wi-Fi Alliance launched its Wi-Fi Certified ac program last June. The December publication of the final standard will throw open the floodgates.
In a series of articles, I'll examine the 11ac standard, its benefits, how it's incorporated into products, and enterprise 11ac adoption strategies.
The 802.11ac standard builds on lessons learned from 802.11n, tweaking technologies to get more from multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) wireless devices operating in the 5-GHz radio frequency (RF) band. The major enhancements in the 11ac standard include cleaner airspace, wider channels, tighter modulation, supporting more streams, standard beamforming, and supporting more users.
Lisa Phifer is president of Core Competence, a consulting firm focused on enterprise adoption of emerging network and security technologies. Lisa has been involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of networking, security and management products for 30 years.
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