802.11ac: The Challenges, Benefits, and Future of Wi-Fi from Ruckus Wireless

The Future of Wireless Networks 802.11 acTechnology analysts predict that the 802.11ac Wi-Fi will be an industry leader because of its promise of faster wireless data transfers.  Although 802.11ac will offer faster wireless data transfers, one of the challenges of this new wireless network is that CIOs and IT managers will probably have questions about how to use it properly.

Earlier this month, in an interview with FierceCIO: TechWatch, Steve Martin, SVP of engineering at Ruckus Wireless, shared his expertise about what is most important for enterprises concerning the potential capabilities of 802.11ac.  Martin, who has a wide-ranging background in the networking industry, spoke about the challenges, benefits, and the future of what 802.11ac represents.

According to Martin, 802.11ac will create drastic changes in the Wi-Fi world.  He says that this new model will offer not only more speed and efficiency but it will also reduce Wi-Fi congestion and decrease media contention and interference.  “Unlike 802.11n, 802.11ac mandates the exclusive use of the channel-rich 5GHz spectrum.  This is important, as wireless capacity has become the single biggest concern for enterprises and operators because more and more Wi-Fi devices of all shapes and sizes are bid contending for access to Wi-Fi networks,” Martin says.

Martin points out that 802.11ac adds innovative mechanisms such as: more capable modulation, the capability to combine channels so users can push more data through the network, and the ability for Wi-Fi access points to effectively communicate with more than one client at a time.  The latter capability is known as “multi-user MIMO.”  Martin reminds wireless network users that “these features and functionality are not available immediately and will be coming in waves, literally.”

Martin, who has previously worked at networking companies such as 3Com, Cisco, and US Robotics Corporation, lists three main technical challenges that vendors are grappling with regarding 802.11ac.  Martin contends that one of the challenges for equipment suppliers is deciphering how to keep costs low while delivering as much innovative functionality as possible.  A second challenge for suppliers is figuring out how to minimize costs with still being able to deliver the entire throughput expected using all of the new capabilities of 802.11ac.  Martin says that the last challenge is finding a method to deliver 802.11ac functionality without requiring users to completely upgrade their existing power over Ethernet switching infrastructure.

Martin also asserts that in order for the 802.11ac to reach its full potential, RF management practices should be improved.  “If the Wi-Fi system is able to automatically determine cleaner and better performing signal paths, the likelihood of exploiting 802.11ac’s advanced functionality increases.”

Click on the following link to read the entire interview with Steve Martin from Ruckus Wireless: https://www.fiercecio.com/techwatch/story/ruckus-wireless-svp-whether-deploy-80211ac-today/2013-10-11

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Doug Atkinson

President at Solutions Review
An entrepreneur and executive with a passion for enterprise technology, Doug founded Solutions Review in 2012. He has previously served as a newspaper boy, a McDonald's grill cook, a bartender, a political consultant, a web developer, the VP of Sales for e-Dialog - a digital marketing agency - and as Special Assistant to Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.
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