The Beacon

Client adoption for 802.11ac wireless technology

July 15, 2013 by Bill Rubino

This is an excerpt from a post on the Cisco Mobility blog site: http://blogs.cisco.com/wireless

With the adoption of new technology such as 802.11ac, the industry sometimes can become a farmer’s almanac of predictions when it comes to when and what devices will support 802.11ac. There are a lot of consumer devices such as home routers with 802.11ac support, as well as a selection of laptops offering support for the new standard. In terms of enterprise-class access points supporting 802.11ac, Cisco, along with a few other vendors, recently announced product support for 802.11ac with the expectation of more product announcements to come later this year. As for the other leg in the chair, there have not been many announcements regarding the support of 802.11ac for smartphones or tablets. We now have a couple of smartphone vendors throwing their hat into the 802.11ac ring which makes things very exciting from an adoption standpoint.

Smartphones with 802.11ac support can certainly be considered one of the next phases in the early adoption story for the technology, following consumer-based APs, laptops and enterprise wireless access points. The further adoption of this standard is also good for vendors of consumer equipment as well as enterprise customers. Whether you are a consumer or someone who supports an enterprise network, 802.11ac technology will provide benefits such as expanded bandwidth and higher client density, all on the less crowded 5 GHz band. 802.11ac technology includes tools to combat the bandwidth hungry applications that continue to grow in our world.

One of the first industries to take full advantage of 802.11ac will be higher education.  Students who are typically early adopters of these smartphones will most likely show up to class next September with their 802.11ac supported smartphone or laptop and expect all the promises of higher performance that 802.11ac brings. Healthcare and service providers will also gain the benefits of 802.11ac technology adoption by providing device connectivity for bandwidth hungry applications such as HD video streaming or faster file transfers with medical imaging. Tying this all together will be the further adoption of 802.11ac technology in access points and client devices. However, there will still be a lot of rumors about different support on a variety of products coming to a Google search near you. As more and more vendors solidify their plans for this emerging technology, the next few months will be an exciting ride for those who not only follow this technology but also will come to rely on it for the future.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to info@wi-fi.org.

Comments

This is very useful information. What are the typical challenges of 11ac product testing. When the products are in early stage of adoption.

You might find our recent white paper helpful: “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac: Significant performance advancements for the world’s most loved technology”. http://www.wi-fi.org/knowledge-center/white-papers

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Bill Rubino

Cisco Systems

Bill Rubino is responsible for product and solution marketing for Wireless LAN Access Points, in addition to driving various Enterprise Mobility Launch and Thought Leadership activities. He has worked in the networking industry for over 20 years, and he has co-authored two patents associated with switching and routing.