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What Is 802.11ac Wave 2?

In the ever-evolving world of wireless technology, standards and specifications are continually updated to push boundaries and redefine possibilities. One such advancement that has made waves in the industry is 802.11ac Wave 2. This piece delves into what 802.11ac Wave 2 is, compares it to the 802.11ac Wave 1 predecessor, and explores its various features.

What is 802.11ac?

802.11ac refers to a wireless networking standard in the 802.11 set of protocols. These protocols are developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The “ac” version of the protocol was introduced as an upgrade to the “n” version, offering faster speeds and more efficient data transmission.

802.11ac Wave 1 versus Wave 2

The 802.11ac protocol was released in two waves: Wave 1 and Wave 2. While both waves offer fast speeds and efficient data transmission, they have some significant differences.

Wave 1, which was released in 2013, offered a maximum data rate of 1.3 Gbps. It supported up to three spatial streams and used 80 MHz channels.

Wave 2, on the other hand, was released in 2016. It offers a higher maximum data rate of 2.34 Gbps, supports up to four spatial streams, and uses 160 MHz channels. Also, it introduced Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), a feature that allows simultaneous data transmission to multiple devices.

Key features of 802.11ac Wave 2

The exploration of the web and recent news has led to the discovery of several key features of 802.11ac Wave 2, which are:

  1. Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO): This technology allows for simultaneous data transmission to multiple devices, improving overall network efficiency. It is a significant feature that differentiates Wave 2 from Wave 1.
  2. Wider channel bonding: 802.11ac Wave 2 supports wider channel bonding up to 160 MHz. This wider bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted at once, enhancing the speed and capacity of the wireless connection.
  3. Backward compatibility: Both Wave 1 and Wave 2 products maintain backward compatibility with the previous standard, 802.11n. This means devices using the older standard can still connect and function with the newer Wave 2.
  4. Increased maximum data rate: Compared to Wave 1, Wave 2 offers a higher maximum data rate. The increased data rate allows for faster data transmission, which is particularly beneficial in high-demand environments.
  5. Wave 2 certification: The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced the Wave 2 certification in 2016. This certification includes additional features like down-link only MU-MIMO and 160 MHz channels, which enhance the performance and efficiency of wireless networks.

These features collectively make 802.11ac Wave 2 a robust solution for current wireless networking needs, offering improved speed, capacity, and efficiency.

The future of wireless networking: Beyond 802.11ac Wave 2

802.11ac Wave 2 is a significant advancement in wireless technology. It offers faster speeds, improved capacity, and better efficiency compared to its predecessor. By understanding these concepts, one can make more informed decisions about their wireless network needs. Whether for personal use or business applications, 802.11ac Wave 2 offers a robust solution for today’s connected world.

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