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Why 802.11ac is the Key to the Gigabit Internet Speeds

gigabit fiber optic

We all know that our Wi-Fi isn’t giving us the speeds we know it’s capable of; in fact, companies like Comcast are allegedly throttling our data giving us speeds that belong in the 90’s. There’s really no reason for it especially given the fact that Verizon already proved that fiber optic can work on the large scale with fiber to the home (FTTH) and rumors of where Google Fiber will set up next has us all waiting with baited breath.

So where do 802.11ac wireless routers fit into all this? Gigabit internet cannot work to its capacity on any router prior to 2012 and the introduction of 802.11ac. It would be unlucky for you if Google Fiber rolled into your city and you finally got to hook your business up to some decent internet only to not get the speeds advertised. This would most likely be because your router is either 802.11n or 802.11g.

Steven Max Patterson from brings up an interesting analogy on the topic. He compares the current situation with fiber optic gigabit internet to the early iPhone. It’s hard to imagine the point of an iPhone without data capabilities, but the first generation iPhone came out before 3G data technology was fully developed. Not many people even owned an iPhone at that point so there were very few apps and connecting with people the way we do now with our smartphones wasn’t even something the average person could do.

Even though gigabit internet isn’t as widespread as its technology allows, the adoption, like with the iPhone, is waiting in the wings and will explode right before our very eyes.

So what exactly will we see when we have our new Gigabit internet and our 802.11ac routers? “Consumers will first see the difference in gigabit Internet with ultra-high definition video streaming and vivid tele-presence applications,” says John George, director of solutions and professional services at OFC Optics. “Enterprises will take notice of video tele-presence too. Gigabit Internet will include remote workers with large screen as-if-you-are-there video quality,” George says. He also points to education and remote control as areas rife for important applications, but notes that “it’s too early to predict all the applications that will be catalyzed by gigabit Internet until developers and researchers have had some time to work with it.”

The inevitability of gigabit internet and the current availability of 802.11ac wireless routers makes upgrading all the more important. By the time gigabit internet reaches your area, it’s important to be able to jump right into the full capabilities instead of expecting to get the speed advertised, then having to take the time to upgrade after the fact.


wireless guide coverFor information on the top 802.11ac solutions, check out our latest Buyer’s Guide:

  • Easy, side-by-side comparison of the top 802.11ac wireless vendors
  • Descriptions of each solution and their strengths
  • Important questions to ask yourself and potential vendors when considering a solution
  • Market overview of the current 802.11ac wireless space
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