Interference Part 2 – 5G WiFi cleaner

In the first part of this series, I talked about how the 2.4 GHz band is not very conducive to reliable Wi-Fi. In this part, I will talk about the 5G WiFi’s interference avoidance benefits.

5G WiFi operates in a much cleaner, wider swathe of radio spectrum. 5G WiFi is therefore devoid of any interference from microwave ovens or cordless phones. Besides, the wider spectrum implies that neighboring Wi-Fi networks need not share the air waves as in the 2.4 GHz band. Clearly, the 2.4 GHz pain-points are addressed by 5G WiFi.

Now, 5G WiFi not only works in a different swathe of spectrum, but is also backward compatible with all your other existing Wi-Fi devices that works in 2.4 GHz. So, if your access point and your TV have 5G WiFi, then you get the benefits of this cleaner, wider spectrum. However, if one of your devices does not support 5G WiFi, don’t worry! That device will still work with other 5G WiFi devices in your network. It will, however, not benefit from the 5G WiFi goodness.

In summary, 5G WiFi elegantly addresses the interference problems with current Wi-Fi networks. It is, at the same time, completely interoperable with existing Wi-Fi devices. So, if you are considering an upgrade of your Wi-Fi access point or buying a PC/laptop in the second half of this year, there is only upside in going for a 5G WiFi device. You get blazing speeds, and the cleaner air results in much better coverage & reliability.

NETGEAR on 802.11ac – the 5th generation of Wi-Fi

Watch NETGEAR highlight the benefits of 802.11ac – the standard that 5G WiFi implements. The video talks to the increased speeds, range and reliability that 5G WiFi offers. It also lucidly explains beamforming – a key 5G WiFi innovation.

Interference Part 1 – Current Wi-Fi networks suffer

5G WiFi is less susceptible to wireless interference than your current Wi-Fi devices. Let me try and explain here in this two part series.

Most Wi-Fi networks today in what the tech-geeks call the “2.4 GHz band.” This represents a narrow swathe of spectrum available for wireless transmissions. Since this band is open to everyone, it is typically fraught with interference problems. Therefore, the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network will have to compete with Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens, cordless phones & baby monitors which also use the same band. This inherently causes interference leading to video buffering or slow downloads when these other devices are operational.

The second challenge with the 2.4 GHz band is that it is relatively narrow. This means that neighboring Wi-Fi networks will more often than not interfere with each other, or will need to share the air time. This, in turn, implies that these networks get nowhere close to the promised peak speeds.

My apartment complex is a good example of this situation. In my case, I was running into a problem streaming my Netflix movies to my Roku box. I sought to investigate, and found the results rather astonishing.

There were about fifty Wi-Fi networks in my apartment complex (see figures). A good number of these networks were competing for air time with my Wi-Fi.  Besides, the interference levels around my home were quite high, presumably from the many cordless phones and microwave ovens in the neighborhood. My situation was certainly not helped by the fact that my Wi-Fi router and TV were in different rooms. I had interference, neighboring networks and coverage issues to deal with that gave me a rather poor video experience.

Figure 1: There were 15 other networks sharing the air with me in 2.4 GHz

Figure 2: Many networks in the 2.4GHz band in my neighborhood

So, the 2.4 GHz band is very interference prone, and Wi-Fi in this band is bound to have issues. In contrast, 5G WiFi operates in a completely different band of spectrum that is much cleaner. More in the second part of this series!

5G WiFi wins “Best of CES”

We had posted earlier about Buffalo’s blazing fast 5G WiFi demo at CES 2012. 5G WiFi is generating quite a buzz at the show. On that note, the Airstation WZR-1750H powered by 5G WiFi was awarded the Videomaker’s “Best of CES” Spotlight award this year. You can read more about the awards here.

Here are a couple of pictures from the Buffalo booth showcasing WZR-1750H, 5G WiFi, its speed & the award.

Buffalo’s Press Release on the WZR-1750H can be found here. For more information on 5G WiFi, visit www.5gwifi.org.

 

Buffalo shows off 5G WiFi @ CES

5G WiFi is definitely one of the stars at CES 2012. Buffalo Technology demonstrated the 5th generation of WiFi publicly at CES. The 5G WiFi demo was blazing at speeds of over 800 Mbps consistently.

The WZR-1750H enables the full 5G WiFi experience. It not only features the high speeds and reliability afforded by 3-stream 802.11ac, but is also fully backward compatible with ALL existing 802.11 a/b/g/n devices.

You can read more about the Buffalo demo here. Pictures of the speed and demo setup can be seen here. To know more about 5G WiFi, visit www.5gwifi.org

The Need for 5G WiFi – The Panacea

In the post titled “The Need for 5G WiFi – The Media Challenge”, I suggested that the increasing amount of media content and the explosion of networked devices may make the current generation of Wi-Fi inadequate. Let me expand on that thought a little further here before presenting 5G WiFi as the panacea.

The current (4th) generation of Wi-Fi technology also known as 802.11n has largely been deployed in the 2.4GHz frequency band.  This band has limited capacity and is shared with other non-Wi-Fi gadgets/appliances such as baby monitors, microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth technology based devices such as headsets, computer wireless keyboards and mice, phones etc.    With the medium being shared amongst all these devices, performance takes the back seat, and more so at the edge of the home.  802.11n also supports 5GHz frequency band – a lot cleaner medium than 2.4GHz, but the industry adoption has been very limited largely due to range limitations.

5G WiFi, based on 802.11ac, is the 5th generation of Wi-Fi technology5G WiFi benefits from the 5GHz frequency band. Further, 5G WiFi innovations focus on the pain points of the prior generations especially around media content consumption.   5G WiFi is 3-4 times faster than 802.11N giving us Gigabit wireless speeds. To put this in perspective, this is better than wired USB2.0 speeds and comparable to Gigabit Ethernet speeds.

These increased speeds are achieved through a combination of support for wider channels up to 160MHz [compared to 40MHz in 802.11n], and higher modulations of up to 256 QAM [compared to 64 QAM in 802.11n].  This makes 5G WiFi an ideal option when synchronizing gadgets wirelessly at wired speeds.    Also, 5G WiFi with its industry-specified beamforming technology provides range benefits that enable whole home coverage for media intensive applications such as streaming of HD content.   Together, these innovations help 5G WiFi address the challenges faced by today’s Wi-Fi network in the face of the media challenge.

In summary, 5G WiFi is exactly what the doctor ordered for the next gen in-home mobility experience!!

The Need for 5G WiFi: The Media Challenge

In this two part series, I will attempt to make a case for 5G WiFi. The first part talks to the challenge that the exploding amount of media content poses for current Wi-Fi.

For the past few years Wi-Fi has grown on us.  We have been using Wi-Fi for emails, instant messengers, browsing the web for information, news, on-line shopping, uploading/downloading pictures etc.  And now we have begun to use a lot more of Wi-Fi for sharing our personal videos with family and friends, on-line gaming, watching sneak previews of movies on YouTube, streaming movies and favorite shows from Netflix and watching our favorite sporting events from anywhere in the world over the internet.   In fact, video/real-time media content consumption forms the majority of the internet traffic today, and this category of traffic is becoming increasingly wireless in-home and is only growing faster all around the world.

Wi-Fi has thus enabled us to watch internet content on any and possibly every display screen at homes and enterprises.   Wi-Fi has also enabled productivity gains by providing mobile network connectivity to various gadgets. Thus devices such as PCs, smart phones, tablets, TVs, home theaters, Blu-Ray Disc players, set top boxes, cameras, gaming consoles are all becoming Wi-Fi enabled today.   Further, Wi-Fi will be in more gadgets, appliances and ‘things’ we come to use in our day to day lives such as cameras, cars, washers/dryers, in-home security systems etc. to name a few.

As the appetite for content-rich internet media consumption and distribution in the home and enterprise grows, the question of adequacy of the current networks for delivering a quality video stream without compromise of the mobility experience remains.   Further, with more networked Wi-Fi devices than people in the homes today, the question of bandwidth availability also arises.

In the next part of this series, I will make the case for 5G WiFi given this media and device explosion challenge.

5G WiFi – why call it that?

5G WiFi is the moniker for IEEE 802.11ac based Wi-Fi solutions. So, why 5G WiFi?

802.11ac is the 5th generation of Wi-Fi! Wi-Fi as a technology has come a long way from the 2 Megabits per second [Mbps] speeds that it offered way back in 1997. Since then, it has revolutionized the way people use their computers, popularized laptops and mobile devices, and opened up the internet to every corner of the world. What is more, Wi-Fi as a technology has also continually improved in speeds and reliability with every new generation. Essentially, it has fostered the mobile computing revolution, and stepped up every single time to meet the increasing wireless needs of the consumers. Therein lies the unique success of Wi-Fi over the years.


As we enter 2012, we introduce 5G WiFi, the 5th generation of Wi-Fi – aptly named to recognize the impact Wi-Fi will continue to have on us in the years ahead.

5G WiFi recognizes the fact that each previous generation has come in at the right time to address an inflection point in consumer needs. The 1st generation Wi-Fi, 802.11, was introduced in 1997 for wireless internet. As emails became more prevalent, the industry quickly productized the second generation of Wi-Fi (802.11b) in 1999. In 2002, as the web experience became richer & graphics intensive, 802.11g/a stepped up as Gen3 Wi-Fi. The popularity of internet video sites like YouTube simply meant that it was time for the much faster 802.11n to take the mantle of 4G WiFi! And 5G WiFi is no different – it is here as a panacea for the video challenge. We need 5G WiFi to help the increasing number of Wi-Fi enabled devices access all the rich media content available on and off the web.

5G WiFi also reminds us that Wi-Fi will continue to serve us all for many years to come. It represents the continual industry commitment to meet your every single wireless need at home and at work. Today, with 5G WiFi, it is all about media content and devices. The possibilities for tomorrow are unlimited. And history suggests that Wi-Fi will keep up – with 6G WiFi and more.

So, join us in welcoming the 5th generation of Wi-Fi as 2012 dawns on us!

Welcome to the 5G WiFi blog

Why a 5G WiFi Blog?

5G WiFi is an exciting new technological development. The Broadcom WiFi team truly believes that it will revolutionize the way people access their digital content wireless among other things. As a leading WiFi solutions provider, our entire team also felt the need to share this excitement with everyone! And what better means to shout out to every nook-and-corner of the world than a blog that brings you real-time updates about the state-of-the-art in WiFi.

Our objective is to make the 5G WiFi website, and this blog as the only stops you will ever have to take for anything on 802.11ac – the 5th generation of Wi-Fi. As the blog rolls out, we will strive to answer several aspects of this wireless standard for readers with different interests. We are hoping that the blog will cater to engineers and marketing teams in the technology industry, journalists/bloggers, IT planners for enterprises, and the general consumer. We want you to be able to look up this site for WiFi technology and product information before you want to buy a new wireless router, smart phone, tablet, PC, TV or other consumer electronics goods for your home and offices.

On a personal note, I am a believer in “Impact through Information”. I want this blog to help my mother happily head to the store and get herself a 5G WiFi product. If I can make her understand that 5G WiFi will improve her Skype experience with me, or that she can now download our family videos on to her PC and watch it seamlessly on her wireless television. To that end, I am determined to peel the layers of technology jargon and make 5G WiFi palatable to her and to all of you.

So, welcome to the 5G WiFi blog! Hope we are able to rub some of our excitement on you! Please feel free to reach out to us with questions and suggestions. Your questions will also help us create content that is useful for other readers as well.

Happy reading!