Wireless and the new 802.11ac standard.


wi-fi-logoWhat comes to mind when you hear the word “wireless”? We commonly associate this word with the connection of a device, such as a laptop or phone, to the internet without the use of wires. There are multiple ways of doing so, one of the most notable methods would be WLAN. WLAN stands for “wireless local area network”, and is marketed under the brand name “Wi-Fi”. This is most likely the best choice for businesses for a variety of reasons.

WLAN’s main purpose it to connect two or more devices to the internet and to each other through a wireless hub. The most common method used in the communication of the devices to the wireless hub is the use of radio waves. What makes WLAN secure is the fact that all of the data sent over the network is encrypted. Put simply, encryption is the conversion of data into code that is unreadable to anyone who is not authorized to see it.

WLAN is created and maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association which is abbreviated into IEEE-SA. This association develops strict global standards for a range of different industries. Each standard that it produces goes through a seven stage process of voting and reviews that ensures it is reliable and fair. Now most modern WLAN hubs are built under the IEEE 802.11-2012 standard, which had been published on March 29, 2012. This standard including multiple specifications for Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layers (PHY) to allow a higher throughput at a maximum of 600 Mb/s (megabytes per second) and the ability to have mesh networking which eliminated the need to connect devices through wires to communicate with each other. This works by having a collection of different radio nodes for wireless communication. It also put in place certain specifications that required direct link setups between wireless stations to reduce the handoff delay in WLAN devices. Along with other modification this proved an operation in the range of 3650-3700MHz frequency band.

The IEEE is always coming out with new standards to improve performance.

In the end of year 2013 they released the IEEE 802.11ac Standard which started its development in 2011. The new mandatory feature of this standard was an 80MHz channel bandwidths which can extend up to 160MHz bandwidth per channel (compared to a maximum of 40MHz per channel in the IEEE 802.11-2009). Other mandatory features that were carried over from the IEEE 802.11-2012 are 800ns regular guard intervals, binary convolutional coding (BCC, a method to encoding data), and a single special stream. In addition, the IEEE 802.11ac allowed for a maximum of 1Gb/s throughput, which is nearly double that of the IEEE 802.11-2012.

While devices that meet these standards are in production and in use today, they are expected to become a lot more popular by the year 2015. What does this mean for you? Within the next few years, internet will become faster and lag will diminish. But this isn’t the end, the IEEE-AS is constantly creating and maintaining new standards.