Samara Lynn at PC Mag has an article about why 802.11ac on the iPhone is important by listing five of the benefits it will bring to users. I have paraphrased them below for you, as well as added some commentary about the effect some of these benefits might have on a network that isn’t ready. Here they are:
1. You’ll get faster internet speeds on your phone. Specifically, speeds of up to 433 Mbps vs 300 Mbps max before.
I know, kind of a “duh,” but it’s still important to mention because the iPhone 6 will now be able to take advantage of 802.11ac access points. Lynn says that users “should notice vastly improved performance with tasks such as streaming and sharing data between devices in a home network.” And if it gets easier to partake in such data intensive activities off of a phone, then A LOT more people will want to do it. That means if you haven’t upgraded to 11ac or didn’t do a good job with your installation you will have lots of unhappy users asking why they can’t use their new toys while you watch your network implode trying to keep up with all the new demand.
2. Better Coverage.
It seems counter-intuitive, because the 5GHz band does not propagate as far as the 2.4 GHz band. However, because there are so many devices already using 2.4 GHz, the real world coverage of b/g/n access points is smaller than one might get with a clean 5 GHz environment, especially if the 802.11ac WLAN solution is well-designed. That’s a big if though, as 11ac introduces some new complications that make network design REALLY important.
3. Able to Benefit from Intelligent Quality of Service.
Intelligent QoS “can differentiate and pinpoint the types of data traffic coursing through your” network, and “can give priority to the type of traffic that is most important to” your organization, whether it be a household or a Fortune 500. This is one way a good 802.11ac WLAN solution can handle the massive data demands from thousands of iPhone wielding users. That the iPhone 6 can take advantage of this technology can only give a leg up to those who have implemented it versus those who haven’t.
4. The iPhone 6 can leverage the speed of Apple’s newest Airport WLAN Router. Or almost any 802.11ac WLAN router, for that matter.
While most businesses won’t be using Apple’s latest router, the Airport Extreme, many consumers will, and the iPhone 6 will finally be able to make use of the faster speeds that the 802.11ac capable Airport Extreme provides. The same is true for any access point with 11ac capability. As Lynn says, your “iPhone no longer has to be a slow link” in the chain of a super fast network. Unless, of course, you don’t yet have that super fast network.
Finally, Voice over LTE is an app/feature on the iPhone 6 that will let you make calls over WiFi. According to Lynn, “802.11ac is absolutely a big advantage with this feature:”
You can connect your iPhone to the 5GHz band, and its broad channels can handle voice traffic better than at 2.4GHz. The ability to switch voice calling between Wi-Fi and LTE means improved call quality and possible reduction in cellular plan data charges. 802.11ac is a great technology to enhance this feature.
This will be one of a suite of data intensive apps sweeping across your network. Woe be to the unprepared.
To sum things up, the new benefits, features, and apps that come along with the iPhone 6’s 802.11ac capability are going to drive usage rates on your network up as thousands of zomb… err, iPhone 6 wielding Apple Geeks overrun your WiFi perimeter. If you haven’t prepared by investing in an 802.11ac WLAN solution, now might be a good time to start shopping.
For Samara Lynn’s article at PC Mag, click here.