What Does the Future Look Like for 802.11ac?

working-in-an-officeThe latest IEEE wireless standard 802.11ac Wave 2 has yet to take off on the scale that matches the speed of the technology. Although only the newest devices can fully utilize the benefits of 802.11ac, the technology is backwards compatible. Upgrade all devices may be out of reach, but it is important lay the tracks before sending the train through.

Here’s what some industry professionals think on the future of 802.11ac:

“802.11ac is an interesting position,” says Nick Espinosa, CIO of BSSi2 LLC.  “It’s by far superior to 802.11n however it is already lagging behind the soon to be released 802.11ad (aka Wi-Gig), and 802.11ah though there can also be a case made for the 802.11af standard being superior as well. What we do not like to tell clients about any technology is that they’re ‘future proofing’ their environment by upgrading. With the rate of turn over and progression in bandwidth technology, 802.11ac is just another stop in the never ending expansion cycle. That said, we like 802.11ac and recommend it to our clients who are contemplating a purchase between 802.11ac and 802.11n.”

Like any technology, things progress fast. We see it all the time with things like smartphones; as soon as you get your hands on the latest model, the new better version is on its way out. The same goes for wireless networks. There is always a new, better one in development which is great, but it makes choosing what technology to implement and when to invest in it isn’t always easy.

“The next standard 802.11ad is so short range it won’t be used for much beyond super-fast file transfer without plunging in your device or use if other networks are congested,” says Andrew Bernstein, Project Manager at the Demski Group. “It won’t really penetrate walls so 802.11ac will likely gain widespread adoption before an alternative next gen technology arrives.”

“[802.11ac] reaches so crazy far,” says Ryan Coyne, President and Chief Executive Geek at Infinite Tech-Knowledge-Ease. “Even if you were able to get a signal with N before, AC actually makes it enjoyable, not just usable. Companies like mine are scrambling to get AC enabled routers and access points installed everywhere possible, because out of all the WiFi technologies that have come along, this one feels like the one we deserved the whole time. You’d be surprised how happy it makes an entire office when the WiFi works great.

“It really is insanely fast. When comparing it to N, the transfer speeds finally negate the argument of if you want it to be fast and reliable it’s gotta be wired. That’s just not true anymore with AC. As our society moves more and more toward 4K video and 24/7 video content, the industry and the people that supply us with that content need better tools to get it done and out faster, AC is a big part of that.”