What the 802.11AC Standard Revolution Means for Commercial WiFi

Over the years, a number of wireless standards have been adopted by the technology community for commercial WiFi applications. The first standard, 802.11, was introduced in 1997. The newest standard is 802.11ac – Wave 1 of this standard surfaced in 2013 and Wave 2 in 2015. Many industry experts attribute the 802.11ac standard with creating a revolution in commercial WiFi capabilities. The many advantages of this new standard are expected to transform wireless communications in the coming years.

Although 802.11ac is not yet widely deployed, almost every smart phone, tablet and laptop manufacturer will release 802.11ac-compliant devices in the next couple of years. So, IT leaders would be wise to consider upgrading their wireless networks as soon as possible to be able to accommodate these devices. An 802.11ac wireless network today will ensure the network is ready for the devices coming down the pike tomorrow.

The 802.11ac network improves the mobile experience in numerous ways, including:

  • Increased Bandwidth – 802.11ac supports gigabit speeds.
  • Increased Capacity – Compared to older networks, an 802.11ac network can handle significantly more capacity – more capacity means more users, devices, content, downloads and video streams for the network.
  • Greater Coverage – There’s a distinct difference in the way the wireless signal is directed in 802.11ac. Traditional Wi-Fi broadcasts a signal in all directions. Conversely, a wireless signal on an 802.11ac network is focused directly toward the client. As a result, more data reaches farther out and to the target faster.
  • Improved Network Performance – The benefits of greater speed, capacity and coverage lead to a more efficient network. These advantages also translate into improved battery life for tablets, smart phones, laptops and other wireless devices connected to the network. If the network provides more capacity and coverage, these devices will use less power.

The migration to 802.11ac can be costly and require specialized expertise. Fortunately, hosted deployment models can help defray the costs — reducing the need for up-front capital investment and making the upgrade process faster and easier. Your business gains access to advanced wireless technologies and expert network management without devoting significant budget or in-house IT staff.

To learn more about virtual wireless LAN solutions, download FairPoint Communications’ latest white paper titled “How Managed Wireless LAN Solutions Transform Business Operations.”

Bob is the Product Manager responsible for Hosted PBX at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.