Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit organisation that promotes Wi-Fi technology and certifies wireless products, has introduced a string of brand new “Wave 2” features for the Wi-Fi certified ac that promise to significantly enhance the connectivity experience.
The new features will let connections efficiently handle high-bandwidth applications from an increasing number of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other consumer electronics devices that are simultaneously connected to a single Wi-Fi network. Lets take an in-depth look at some of the more prominent features of the service.
First up is the Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) feature, that lets more users connect to a single network without disturbing either the speed, or the performance of the network. In addition to enhanced connectivity, enabling a system with MU-MIMO also means that devices supporting the full set of new features are capable of achieving up to three times the speed of devices supporting only original Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac features. So basically, you can connect more devices and enjoy faster speeds on each device.
Secondly, the channel bandwidth has been increased from 80 MHz channels to 160 MHz channels, thus potentially doubling transmission speeds for the network. Similarly, the number of spatial streams have also been increased from three to four. What’s the use you may ask? Well, the number of spatial streams is intrinsically related to the speeds obtained, meaning that devices that support the new standard will offer greater speeds to the users.
Another interesting feature added under the new certification will lead to reduced interference and congestion. By encouraging support for additional channels and the available spectrum is used more efficiently by minimizing the number of networks operating on overlapping channels.
Speaking on the new standard and the changes brought by it, Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance said,
In today’s world, people have more Wi-Fi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth. Wi-Fi Alliance updated the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program to meet increasing user demands and to stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability.
Andrew Zignani, research analyst at ABI Research said,
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac gives users a greater experience in dense environments by maximizing Wi-Fi network resources, providing a richer set of features, and enabling the full potential of the technology. Wi-Fi Alliance assists in the proliferation of certified products into the market, and we expect an increasing number of data-intensive devices to support the new features for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac that will benefit device end users through this certification process.
The new standard has been welcomed with open arms by the semiconductor industry, with many labeling it as a milestone in the Wi-Fi technology. Here is what some of the most prominent companies of the industry have to say about the new technology.
Intel is glad to see Wi-Fi Alliance continue to advance wireless technology with the launch of the second wave of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program, adding features such as downlink MU-MIMO to improve network data capacity in dense environments such as enterprise networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED solutions lead to broad industry adoption and pave the way for interoperability and improved user experience
Qualcomm Technologies Inc:
Qualcomm Technologies has led the industry on 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO with over 100 commercial devices available to date. Today’s announcement will further accelerate commercial adoption, delivering an enhanced Wi-Fi experience in our increasingly congested, connected world. We are proud of our engineering team’s accomplishments to have led this new program, be included in the interoperability test bed and are committed to continue leading innovation within Wi-Fi Alliance in the areas of network capacity improvement and superior user experience.
Consumers today expect to use multiple devices on a constant basis without any connectivity issues. At MediaTek, we’re committed to delivering great user experiences by empowering smartphones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics, enabling seamless, cross-device connections. We are proud to see our technology once again embraced by the alliance for the latest interoperability testing based on the IEEE 802.11ac program. We have included the Wave 2 features in our products and are working with our OEM partners to bring enhanced network capability to markets
Some of the early adopters of the technology include Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC, Marvell Avastar A88W8964, MediaTek MT7615 AP Reference Design and MT6632 STA Reference Design, Qualcomm IPQ8065 802.11ac 4-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router, Quantenna QSR1000 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 Chipset Family etc.
While only a few years ago, households were limited to just a few devices that could use Wi-Fi, today almost every electronic device ranging from tablets to smartphones to PCs use them. And lets not even go into the Internet of things segment yet. With umbrellas and toasters and light-bulbs becoming smart, the brand new standard may just be setting the foundation for the future.