Never a Dull Moment in the World of 802.11

Carl Weinschenk
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There always is something going on in the world of 802.11. Yesterday, I posted on the cat and mouse game that LTE providers are playing with users of unlicensed frequencies. Of course, 802.11 – Wi-Fi – dominates this group.

There is news and important commentary elsewhere in the world of 802.11. Here are some highlights:

802.11ac: ABI Research reports that 39 percent of all access points (APs) shipped in 2015 supported 802.11ac. This progress is expected to continue this year as Wave 2 of the standard gains traction and tri-band APs that support 802.11n and 802.11ad in addition to 802.11ac are released.


802.11ad: This version of the standard is also known as WiGig. It offers gigabit speeds, lower latency and greater range, according to Tom’s Hardware. The site says that a powerful consortium has emerged:

Qualcomm Atheros and Intel have revealed that a comprehensive WiGig ecosystem has been in development for months. The two companies have conducted numerous tests using WiGig-compatible clients across multiple scenarios. The ways wireless technology can be conducted is nearly limitless, but the partnership between Intel and Qualcomm Atheros is dedicated to addressing as many use cases as possible so as to ensure interoperability by the time consumer WiGig products hit the mainstream market.

Alexander Quejado’s piece concludes that WiGig still is a way off. His ideas on potential uses for the standard – 4K streaming and virtual reality gaming – show how potent the technology will be once it gets here.

802.11ah: At the beginning of the year, the Wi-Fi Alliance branded 802.11ah as HaLow. It is an important step that deserves another mention in the context of the overall 802.11 family because it ties 802.11 into the Internet of Things (IoT). ExtremeTech sums it up nicely:

The Wi-Fi Alliance branded its next-generation 802.11ah wireless protocol as Wi-Fi HaLow. It is targeted at the Internet of Things(IoT), which includes the smart home, connected car, and digital healthcare, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and smart-city environments. Unlike the older and more familiar 802.11 protocols, which mostly use the 2.4 or 5GHz bands, 802.11ah is a sub-gigahertz protocol that uses the 900MHz band. It has an enviable combination of characteristics.

This, at least for the time being, is what is happening in the world of 802.11. One thing is certain, however: Things in the world of 802.11 will continue to change.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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