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Standard 802.11ac - Revolution in home entertainment

8.8.2013

Just when you thought that wireless networks couldn't get any better, a new technology is promising a dramatic leap in data speeds. 802.11ac is here, and it is about to revolutionize your home. 802.11ac is a game-changer for home entertainment systems. It offers faster, higher-quality data streaming, and better reliability. It also supports more devices with a greater range, meaning better coverage throughout the home.

Older Wi-Fi protocols, such as 802.11b, sometimes suffered from poor-quality connections, due to their lower bandwidth. They would be unable to support too many media streams at once, leading to poor-video that stalls with choppy audio connections. However, with data speeds of up to 1gbps, 802.11ac can escape those problems. It is up to three times faster than its predecessor, 802.11n.

These higher speeds will eliminate an exasperating problem for people who watch video online: buffering. Slower connections traditionally had to cache a small amount of video before they could begin playing it, so that they wouldn't run out of video to display while streaming. 802.11ac is so fast that video can begin playing instantly, even in high-definition, so people won't have to wait to begin watching. 802.11ac supports high playback quality, offering HD streaming to devices throughout the home including networked television, game consoles, computers, and mobile devices that play streaming video. Its higher speeds enable multiple devices to play different streams, for example, children can play online games in their rooms while parents watch the latest HD movie in the living room.

802.11ac's higher speeds has three main advantages: a wider radio spectrum, more antennas, and higher-frequency modulation. These innovations also lead to a more reliable signal, reducing dropped connections. It brings the speed and reliability of a wired network to your home, while offering the flexibility of a wireless connection. Its reliability is particularly important for low-latency applications such as streaming movies and music in the home, where constant signal is important. Online gamers also need a constant, fast data stream to avoid lag, which can cause them to lose their game.

One of the other benefits of 802.11ac is its range. It is the most mobile-friendly of all the wireless standards released to date. More antennas in 802.11ac wireless access points mean better coverage across the whole home, with a signal that reaches into the furthest parts of the home. 802.11ac users can look forward to whole home coverage with minimal dead spots. This will please mobile device users who may want to take their tablet into a private part of the home for a video call.

Mobile users will also be happy with another benefit of 802.11ac: better battery life. Its radio can transmit more data in less time, meaning that it can sleep for longer after it has finished its transmission. This places less demand on mobile devices, enabling smart phones and tablets to get faster speeds while conserving power.

The new protocol does all of this while remaining compatible with existing Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11n. It connects with these devices on the 5Ghz bandwidth. This offers less interference than the 2.4Ghz spectrum, strengthening signals for better reliability. The true benefits of 802.11ac come when endpoint devices such as home media centers, PCs, tablets, and smart phones are upgraded. This is doubtless why manufacturers including Apple and Samsung are pushing hard for the adoption of this super-fast wireless technology, and will be including the functionality in their own upcoming devices.

Bringing 802.11ac into your home future-proofs your entertainment systems. It enables users to use things that they have never experienced before, including simultaneous HD video streams to multiple receivers, and wireless displays. Take advantage of this quantum leap in connectivity now and prepare for a high-speed wireless future.