Wi-Fi Alliance is expanding Wi-Fi Certified ac to include new features that aim to enable a higher-performance mobility experience. Wi-Fi Certified ac was the first version of WiFi to break the gigabit barrier and push a shift to the use of the 5 GHz band. Today, more than 68% of WiFi devices are dual band (operating in both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency).
The new “wave 2” Wi-Fi Certified feature seeks to enable WiFi to more efficiently handle high-bandwidth applications from an increasing number of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other consumer electronics devices simultaneously connected to WiFi networks. Another new feature is MU-MIMO (multi-users MIMO, a wireless technology that allows a set of users or wireless terminals to communicate with each other), which seeks to enable more devices to operate on the same network at the same time without sacrificing speed or performance. In addition to increased network capacity enabled with MU-MIMO, devices supporting all new features will be capable of achieving up to three times the speed of devices supporting only original features, according to Wi-Fi Alliance.
One wave 2 feature is the increase of channel bandwidth from 80 MHz channels to 160 MHz channels, doubling speeds. Additional features include 4 spatial streams, in which device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams, and extended 5 GHz channel support, which is expected to result in less interference and fewer overlapping networks.
With the launch of a Wi-Fi Certified interoperability program and increased support for wave 2 features by various mobile devices and access points, the alliance expects 95% percent of devices to be dual band by 2020. Access points supporting wave 2 features are expected to populate the market within the next five years, the group said. “In today’s world, people have more wireless devices per person and per household and those devices require significantly more bandwidth,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac is evolving alongside increasing user demands of today and staying one step ahead of the new applications of tomorrow, all while preserving interoperability and providing a seamless user experience.”