New WiFi Standards Coming

Gigabit Wi-Fi

With all the mobile technology innovations that are taking place, one more needs discussion, that is WiFi technology. New standards are under consideration for Gigabit WiFi. There are three standards IEEE 802.11ac, 802.11ad and Wireless Gigabit aka WiGig.


First consider 802.11ac. This is a follow up for the old 802.11a Wi-Fi standard. This is a 5 GHz Wi-Fi standard with a speed range of 54Mbps. However, it was not a hot standard, so vendors were slow to implement 802.11a equipment. When 802.11g came along, 802.11a was slowly killed off. The reason is that 802.11g operates in the 2.4GHz range, and simultaneously could produce the same transmission speed. Furthermore, it was compatible with the older and slower 802.11b.

But now, with 802.11ac, 802.11a is coming back from the dead. This new standard will continue to work on the 5 Ghz band; however, it will also provide larger channels for data throughput.


802.11ad and WiGig will deliver 6 Gbps speeds, but they will deliver it in the 60 GHz range. This is good news, but the downside of this millimeter band Wi-Fi, is that its range will be measured in feet rather than yards. In other words, 802.11ad and WiGig APs will be able to cover the size of a room, but that is about it.

WiGig already has commercial support from Atheros, Broadcom, and Intel. It will be used specifically for streaming high-definition video. The goal for designers is for Wi-Fi adapters to support 802.11g’s 2.4 GHz for backwards compatibility and range; in addition, to support 802.11n and 802.11ac’s 5GHz for performance, and to support 802.11ad/WiGig’s 60GHz for short-range, High Definition video data transfers.

The upshot is that 1 Gbps transfers and operations may be in the near future, but not that near. The big problem is device compatibility. Getting the new standards to work with the chipsets that exist will take some doing.

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