Spark Blog Notes from the Spark Team

March 30, 2012

Super-Speedy Wi-Fi On The Way

The next generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac, is coming soon – and it promises potential data speeds in excess of 1 Gbps.  

That means faster speeds, better range, and longer battery life.  “Among other things, 802.11ac will work exclusively in 5 GHz band—offering much greater capacity than the cluttered 2.4 GHz band,” Fierce Broadband explains.  “(It) will employ much wider communications channels, make better use of MIMO technologies and provide a higher modulation coding scheme to improve Wi-Fi throughput and performance.”

The 802.11ac technology will also offer the network muscle needed to accommodate an expected explosion of connected devices, each of which may gobble more data than ever.

Five years ago, most homes had 2 or 3 computers connected to the Internet, Craig Barratt, president of Qualcomm Atheros, said at a recent media event.  Today there are easily 10 or 15 connected devices in a house, he says. 

“You have gaming devices, you have every smartphone, tablet and eBook Reader. You likely have a TV or a Netflix player, potentially embedded into a DVD player,” he says.

Faster, more efficient networking solutions – such as those offered by 802.11ac – are critical to preventing a digital traffic jam, he says.  (To meet that need, Qualcomm recently announced the industry’s first combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip for mobile devices.)

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