In the never-ending quest for more power in our tech-driven world, get ready for a new wireless standard that will be three times faster than the current Wi-Fi standard of 802.11n. The new wireless standard, also known as 802.11ac, will be able to transmit wireless signals on the 5Ghz band. In other words, you’ll notice a larger range and will be able to perform just about every function from downloading files to streaming videos faster. The boost in power will also make it easier for a wireless signal to transmit through barriers, such as walls.
Understanding 802.11 Technology
The 802.11 family refers to the wireless networking standard, first established in 1997. Once wireless technology started to become widely available, the first widely-accepted 802.11 standard was 802.11b. Standards that have come after this are just updated versions within the 802.11 family. The whole setup for the premise of wireless technology goes back to a 1985 FCC ruling that released the ISM band for unlicensed use. It wasn’t until 1999 that a trade association known as the Wi-Fi Alliance was formed. The group now offers official certification of most wireless devices.
Security has always been a concern when it comes to wireless technology. To address these concerns, the Wi-Fi Alliance created an optional Wi-Fi Protected Setup in 2007. It was meant to be an alternative to the encryption method WPA2 for users not familiar with other wireless security. Security is a good thing, but keeping track of passwords for every device can be monumental task in itself. Fortunately, WPS doesn’t require another long password for you to memorize, since writing down a password defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Unfortunately, a major security flaw was discovered in late 2011. It is now recommended that you turn off the WPS feature on your wireless devices, if possible.
What It Means for You
Technical updates come and go, but it really doesn’t mean much until the new technology filters down to something you can use. That’s really the point of any technology. The tech gurus can come up with the fastest, most powerful wireless technology in the world, but it doesn’t have any real benefit until your wireless devices catch up too. Expect new devices using the upgraded 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard to hit stores early next year. However, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise if some devices that are upgraded to the new standard arrive in time for the holiday season, since this tends to be a busy time for tech sales. The main advantage of the new Wi-Fi standard is more channels, high throughput in the 5 GHz band, high-density modulation, and increased streaming capabilities. This just means you’ll be able to do cooler stuff with your wireless devices.
Every time you turn around there’s some update or another with the technology you use. As a general rule, an upgrade in any technology you use on a regular basis just means that you’ll be able to do more with your devices than you did before. It also means you’ll be buying new wireless devices soon. After all, 802.11n is so 2011.
Rob Call is a tech-savvy freelance blogger, who writes about new technology upgrades and gadgets. He recommends checking out information on 4 G, to make sure you are up-to-date with all your wireless internet needs.