5G WiFi: The Standard for the Mobile Age

Increasingly, the Internet is moving to mobile devices. In fact, the speed of this migration has even taken social media platforms like Facebook by surprise.

Savvy tech companies will learn from this.

The stratospheric increase in the use of smart phones with sophisticated apps and web browsing abilities means that the platform is quickly reaching (and perhaps soon exceeding) the functional capabilities of current televisions and desktop PCs.

With their high performance processors and large data storage capabilities, smart phones are quickly becoming mini television sets and game players as well as mini computers.

The only significant bottleneck in the system is the wireless connection.

Current wireless standards simply don’t have the bandwidth to handle the applications that users are now expecting – and content providers are close to providing.

As a solution, the 5GWiFi or IEEE 802.11ac standard allows wireless networks keep pace with our constantly expanding use of computers, phones, and tablets, for both work and fun.

The new IEEE 802.11ac is a worldwide standard that offers at least triple the transmission speeds of current Wi-Fi products using IEEE 802.11n.

Even the slowest IEEE 802.11ac connection will be about as fast as a today’s USB 2.0 wired links, which are widely used in external storage and far better than existing wireless data rates.

This means that even on mobile devices, streaming video won’t freeze or sputter and Web downloads won’t slow to a crawl when multiple devices are in use, 5GWiFi provides a technology to ensure that the user experience is everything they expect.

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.

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!!