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Gigabit Wi-Fi: 802.11ac

The 802.11ac specification offers a maximum data transfer speed of more than 3Gbps and provides support for up to eight streams. This means one thing: significantly faster data transfer speeds. Below are a few leading features of the 802.11ac that the Wi-Fi technicians at CTS Cabling want you to know.

5GHZ & Beamforming

802.11ac only supports the 5GHz frequency, meaning more room in that frequency spread than there is in the over-used 2.4GHz. The bad news is that a 5GHz signal has less range when dealing with walls and other obstacles, but there is also less interference (such as baby monitors and microwave ovens). Signals reflected off different angles and surfaces arrive at the device out of phase from each other and cancel each other out. Beamforming resolves the phase conflicts for a stronger signal and more stable throughput.

Additional Infrastructure

Second-wave 802.11ac APs will require two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which increases your need for switch ports and cable runs.

Backwards Compatibility

All 802.11ac devices will still support older Wi-Fi technologies. However, some devices may only be capable of 5GHz, which means they’d only be able to revert to 802.11n. As we transition to 802.11ac, there will still be 802.11b-g devices, and it will take years for 802.11n to be replaced as the dominant Wi-Fi technology.

A Gigabit of Throughput Is Unlikely

Even though Wi-Fi Alliance claims that 802.11ac can support simultaneous streaming of HD-quality videos to multiple devices, there is a catch. To reach the highest speeds and use these features, you need three data-streams, each of which can run up to 433 Mbps.

AP Channel Conflict

802.11ac gains its speed by using 80MHz wide channels and the channels will take up 160MHz of frequency. While this depends on the country you live in, the United States 802.11ac will have five available channel selections (at most). To avoid fouling up performance because of AP interference, network administrators should immediately locate possible installation locations and contact our professional Wi-Fi Technicians at CTS Cabling.

If you are looking for an experienced Wi-Fi technician or a structured cabling contractor, the team at CTS Cabling is highly trained to ensure that your building is wired correctly and up to code. To learn more about our innovative services, including wireless network installation, or to speak with an experienced cable contractor in Phoenix, call 877-685-2626 or contact us online.

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