The Wi-Fi Alliance standards body has added new features to its 802.11ac specification that promise up to three times the speed of existing wi-fi devices and the potential to move data faster than wired, gigabit ethernet local area networks.
Named Wi-Fi Certified ac, the new specification add-ons include multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) radio aerial technology. This allows more devices to connect to the wi-fi access point and send and receive simultaneously for better throughput and responsiveness, an important consideration in enterprise and events settings.
Older wi-fi access points manage connections in a round-robin fashion, with only one device able to communicate at a time.
Wi-Fi Certified ac also brings in wide channels, using up to 160 MHz of bandwidth. This is double the amount of spectrum that today's 802.11ac devices can use, and potentially allows for twice the transmission speed.
More channels in the 5 GHz spectrum, which is less congested and prone to interference compared to the 2.4 GHz band, have also been added to Wi-Fi Certified ac.
The new specification adds a fourth spatial stream, up from three in the previous standard, and improves on dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz utilisation for access points.
Wi-fi chip set makers Broadcom, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Quantenna have released components for the new specification, with original equipment manufacturers expected to bring out new products in the coming month.