Well, this is exciting…

The first 5G WiFi product has been announced: the NETGEAR R6300 will ship with Broadcom’s 3×3 802.11ac/5G WiFi chip next month at a low, low price of about $200.

If you were so inclined to try out 5G WiFi, you could buy two units and use them for bridging – essentially, you could use the second unit to extend the range over which you could achieve the highest data synchronization rates.  Normally, your 11n throughput would be reduced because the bridge needs to maintain two links (one to your PC; one to the router.) But with the two routers completing transactions more quickly using 802.11ac, there would be more time left over for the bridge to connect to your PC using 802.11n. Or if you wanted to be the first person on your block to demonstrate 5G WiFi’s maximum speeds, you could go back to what I did in the dawn of Wi-Fi and plug an ethernet cable directly into the bridge router and use it as a very large external wireless card on your PC.

In the near-term, there will be many more 5G WiFi devices on the market, ranging from smartphones to tablets to 5G-enabled laptops and television sets.  You’ll be able to do data synchronization at up to 1300 Mbps, which would be a huge improvement relative to today’s automatic wireless backup devices – mine averages about 40 Mbps, and when I transfer data between legacy 802.11g devices through the router, it didn’t even hit 3 Mbps.  When I want to copy a video onto my current phone, it can take hours; 5G WiFi will reduce this to a matter of minutes.

You’ll also see a significant improvement in your media streaming experience.  Not only will you be able to transfer video from media devices to your PC or phone more quickly, but you’ll see much better performance when you’re actually sharing that video onto an HDTV.  Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chipsets have numerous features that not only extend the range of the highest Wi-Fi data rates, but also reduce the impact of signal fading, which eliminates the periodic video skipping and loss of fidelity that I’ve become so used to when watching TV over the internet.

As with most new technologies, it’s difficult to predict how people will use 5G WiFi once it’s in the marketplace. But as the guy who didn’t see the point of Wi-Fi in the first place, I’m expecting to find out about a whole bunch of different use cases that I never expected.