IPIQ: Installer Tips: Enhance Wireless Media Streaming with 802.11ac
As wireless devices become more ubiquitous and advanced in their capabilities, demands on the wireless IP network continue to surge. Fortunately, the wireless network technology advancements are keeping pace with those demands. With 802.11ac, demanding applications such as media streaming that were once relegated to the hardwired network are now achievable wirelessly. We have discussed the 802.11ac standard in previous installments of this column. Now let’s take a closer look at the technology to better understand how the average home or business user might benefit from these 802.11ac performance enhancements.
1) How Does 802.11ac Improve Wireless Performance?
802.11ac is the most current and advanced form of the IEEE Wireless Standard. It is designed specifically for the 5GHz band and is backwards compatible with 802.11a and 5GHz 802.11n. It builds on the successful deployment of 802.11n by offering more bandwidth, more MIMO streams, expanded channel bandwidth, and multi-user MIMO.
• More bandwidth: 5GHz 802.11n offers up to 600Mbps and jumps to 1300Mbps with 802.11ac. More bandwidth means more Internet streams with better gaming, and higher quality video, music, and data streaming.
• More MIMO streams: The maximum number of steams supported with 802.11n was 4. This number doubles with 802.11ac, which allows more data to be delivered to more client devices at the same time while increasing the number of devices a single AP can support.
• Expanded channel bandwidth: The maximum allowed channel bandwidth with 802.11n was 40MHz. With 802.11ac, 80MHz is a minimum and up to 160MHz is available, providing significantly more bandwidth for passing data.
• Multi-user MIMO: This allows for up to four simultaneous downloading clients. This advancement provides a better user experience—allowing the kids to play their online games and still deliver enough wireless data throughput for dad to watch Netflix while mom is talking over the VoIP phone.
802.11n Simultaneous vs. 802.11ac Simultaneous