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802.11ac May Not Initially Be Worth It
Though Latter Hardware Revisions Get Interesting
by Karl Bode 08:27AM Monday Dec 31 2012
Network Computing has interviewed execs from both Cisco Systems and Aerohive Networks, both of whom discuss the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and how it may not initially be worth it for consumers. The release of 802.11ac will come in two waves, with the first not being all that much to write home about. "Out of the gate, the increases in performance over 11n will not be tremendously impressive," says Chris Spain, VP of product marketing at Cisco Systems. "The second wave--which will require a hardware refresh--gets far more interesting." First-generation 802.11ac products will offer up to 1.3 Gbps via three spatial streams and 80-MHz-wide channels -- double the largest 40 MHz channel width currenly seen in 802.11n hardware.

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Sarick
It's Only Logical
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More speed more = greed = disruption

Yea and anyone who uses this in a large apartment complex will flood all most of the channels. Yea people are greedy. Speed is nice but if your ruining the wi-fi etc for others not so good.
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AnonFTW

@reliablehosting.com

Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by Sarick:

Yea and anyone who uses this in a large apartment complex will flood all most of the channels. Yea people are greedy. Speed is nice but if your ruining the wi-fi etc for others not so good.

The 802.11ac spec requires the AP to drop back to 20MHz mode if it detects a neighboring AP on the same channel. So it won't flood all the channels any more than a normal AP, the user of the 802.11ac AP just won't see higher throughput. Range will still be increased over 802.11n however. 802.11ac will also help households that have multiple wireless devices. With my Airport Extreme, if I started doing high bandwidth things while streaming 1080p to my Apple TV the picture would suffer. Not so with 802.11ac as the AP itself has a maximum throughput of 1.75Gbps and was designed to prioritize streaming over regular traffic and handle multiple clients better than earlier specs.

I have an Asus RT-AC66U paired with a Netgear A6200 and I regularly max out the USB 2.0 interface. No more stuttering when our 15 or so wireless devices are in use during peak times either. 1080p streams to my Apple TV smoothly.
ke4pym
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Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by AnonFTW :

With my Airport Extreme, if I started doing high bandwidth things while streaming 1080p to my Apple TV the picture would suffer.

You should consider a better AP, then. I don't have this issue on my Cisco AP.

Don't forget, even if you have 32 billion-gahbillion-Gbps at the radios, your wireline connection still tops out at a gig unless you have some higher end switches. We're still 3-5 years away from seeing 10Gbps in the home.

djrobx
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Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by ke4pym:

Don't forget, even if you have 32 billion-gahbillion-Gbps at the radios, your wireline connection still tops out at a gig unless you have some higher end switches. We're still 3-5 years away from seeing 10Gbps in the home.

Don't forget that advertised wireless throughput is nowhere close to real-world. You'd likely need a 2-3gbps wireless link to reliably max out a wired 1gbps connection.
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tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Clinton Township, MI
Agree. This very moment, I have only 6 wireless devices connected to my DIR-655 and that doesn't include the DAP-1522 and the 3 networked devices connected to it. And the above is on a day no one but me is home and 4 of the 6 devices are in use for various functions. Now, on a normal day, there are 15 devices. My reserved IP table has 25 IP's reserved and that includes the 6 wireless devices, printer(s), phones, ipods, Galaxy, camera(s), blah blah blah. I know I dont' have a top of the line setup but when the kids are running both the xbox and PS3 online, and I'm streaming a movie on a roku, I don't get any complaints about network slowness. One of my kids did complain once it took longer the normal to load a movie off my media server (wired) while trying to watch a Disney movie in 1080p (Roku using Plex). I was thinking of bumping up to a 802.11ac device so I could assign priorities at different band layers but till my 655 burns up, I'll stick with whats working for now.

motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4
said by ke4pym:

said by AnonFTW :

With my Airport Extreme, if I started doing high bandwidth things while streaming 1080p to my Apple TV the picture would suffer.

You should consider a better AP, then. I don't have this issue on my Cisco AP.

Don't forget, even if you have 32 billion-gahbillion-Gbps at the radios, your wireline connection still tops out at a gig unless you have some higher end switches. We're still 3-5 years away from seeing 10Gbps in the home.

3-5 years is too optimistic. Try 5-10 years. Most business fiber accounts can only get 1Gbps now. Also the country does not even have networks that could support 10Gbps to the home. I doubt any major company is going flop down billions to put in fiber to the home throughout their footprint. And with the economy looking to do poorly for 2013 and 2014 and maybe even 2015 I would say that any major network enhancements by major players such as comcast, Time Warner cable, Cox, At&t etc. won't happen till at least 2016 as they don't want to take the risk during economic downturns.
Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
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Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by motorola870:

said by ke4pym:

said by AnonFTW :

With my Airport Extreme, if I started doing high bandwidth things while streaming 1080p to my Apple TV the picture would suffer.

You should consider a better AP, then. I don't have this issue on my Cisco AP.

Don't forget, even if you have 32 billion-gahbillion-Gbps at the radios, your wireline connection still tops out at a gig unless you have some higher end switches. We're still 3-5 years away from seeing 10Gbps in the home.

3-5 years is too optimistic. Try 5-10 years. Most business fiber accounts can only get 1Gbps now. Also the country does not even have networks that could support 10Gbps to the home. I doubt any major company is going flop down billions to put in fiber to the home throughout their footprint. And with the economy looking to do poorly for 2013 and 2014 and maybe even 2015 I would say that any major network enhancements by major players such as comcast, Time Warner cable, Cox, At&t etc. won't happen till at least 2016 as they don't want to take the risk during economic downturns.

10gb LAN, not WAN. 3-5 years is about right for semi-affordable 10gb LAN infrastructure.

Sarick
It's Only Logical
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1 edit
quote:
said by AnonFTW
I have an Asus RT-AC66U paired with a Netgear A6200 and I regularly max out the USB 2.0 interface. No more stuttering when our 15 or so wireless devices are in use during peak times either. 1080p streams to my Apple TV smoothly.

I have the Asus RT-N66U with tomato 104 installed on it. The 2ghz bands have so much interference that I'm seeing dropouts with severe interference warnings. The 5ghz using full range I've seen cap out at about 150. I'm saying once people start migrating to the higher speed connections using more frequency these problems will become reality.

As for the fallback feature, I'm guessing it works by detecting other access points not devices on the same frequency? If that's the case the fallback might still ignore those devices communicating.
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88615298
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West Tenness

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said by Sarick:

Yea and anyone who uses this in a large apartment complex will flood all most of the channels. Yea people are greedy. Speed is nice but if your ruining the wi-fi etc for others not so good.

ac uses 5 GHz not 2.4 GHz so this would not affect most people. heck I see AP that still use wireless b for Christ sake. it would take YEARS before using the 5 GHz spectrum becomes widespread.

Sarick
It's Only Logical
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1 edit

Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

Just keep thinking like that with all the wireless devices that those frequency bands won't last forever especially, in congested areas. The more devices that get added to the more noise is created. It's funny, how said "for Christ sake." looks like you're insulted by my harmless opinion. No need to get so upset right now there is little to no saturation in a few years things might change as new standards become mainstream.

This doesn't change the fact that people are greedy when it comes to bandwidth why do you think ISPs are charging more for it? Maybe it has something to do with money?
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Gone
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said by 88615298:

ac uses 5 GHz not 2.4 GHz so this would not affect most people. heck I see AP that still use wireless b for Christ sake. it would take YEARS before using the 5 GHz spectrum becomes widespread.

5GHz congestion becomes a big issue fast when people are using 80MHz and 160MHz channels with 802.11ac.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

1 edit

Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by Gone:

said by 88615298:

ac uses 5 GHz not 2.4 GHz so this would not affect most people. heck I see AP that still use wireless b for Christ sake. it would take YEARS before using the 5 GHz spectrum becomes widespread.

5GHz congestion becomes a big issue fast when people are using 80MHz and 160MHz channels with 802.11ac.

And that's something I'll worry about in 10 years when it's an actual issue. Of course by then the 2.4 GHz spectrum should be much clearer since everyone will have moved on to 5 GHz now won't it?

Also 5 GHz doesn't penetrate as well so I'm not really worried about my neighbors.

Gone
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1 recommendation

Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

It won't happen overnight, but in not so naive to not realize that it won't happen in far less than ten years, either.

88615298
Premium
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West Tenness

Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

As I said considering people around me are still using wireless G and even B I'm not worried about them updating anytime soon. heck I'm the only one I can tell using 5 GHz wireless N

Gone
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Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

said by 88615298:

As I said considering people around me are still using wireless G and even B I'm not worried about them updating anytime soon. heck I'm the only one I can tell using 5 GHz wireless N

Just because you don't live in an area crowded by multiple people all trying to use 40MHz 802.11n channels on 2.4GHz and a few that show up in 5GHz does not mean that others are in the same boat as you. Those "few" 5GHz APs I see at home instantly turn into band congestion if they all try to use 160MHz AC channels simultaneously. This was in 2012, not 2022.

Furthermore, 5GHz deployment will be accelerated since it is the mandatory frequency for 802.11ac. You won't have cheap routers like you do now that are 2.4GHz only. Give it a year or two before you start seeing 5GHz APs pop up the same way you see 2.4GHz now, and it's only a matter of time before those massive 80 and 160MHz channels in the various 5GHz bands start making life miserable like it is with 2.4GHz right now.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
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It has dropdown rules, but even if this is a problem. It will take awhile before this is any issue at all, ac operates on the 5Ghz band, I own a wireless n 5Ghz router and live in a large apartment complex, and their aren't any AP's in the 5Ghz band that I can find.

Also taking up to 80Mhz in the 5Ghz band isn't like taking 40 Mhz in the 2.4 Ghz band, 5Ghz has many many times the spectrum that 2.4 Ghz has and AC only runs on the 5Ghz band.

Gone
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Re: More speed more = greed = disruption

There are only a handful of fully free and usable 5GHz channels in North America. The vast majority of available "usable" 5GHz channels are pre-empted by other uses (military and weather radar, specifically) and for customer experience reasons manufacturers typically don't consider them usable channels as far as a home router is concerned.

norbert26
Premium
join:2010-08-10
Warwick, RI

Just love these "hardware refreshes".

Don't forget to throw your tablets and blu-ray players in the trash too. These devices have the WI-FI built in (most cases) and are limited to the standard that was available at time of release. Laptops will need a USB dongle to tie up a USB port for this. Make up your mind industry instead of creating all this waste . Also most ISPs such as cable provide a router/modem in one unit and won't refresh these until they have to.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

What should the industry do differently?

Maxo
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

said by rradina:

What should the industry do differently?

By his logic, stop innovating, I guess.

norbert26
Premium
join:2010-08-10
Warwick, RI
my point was let the rest of industry "innovate" and catch up. Let ISPs that most consumers use equipment from get caught up. A lot of devices out there now can't even use the 5ghz band . Joe consumer is behind the industry in most cases. Also if there is a better 2nd wave coming why not wait for that and skip the first wave . In one way i am for this as it may eliminate the need of running wires or reduce it however devices will need to fully support it otherwise older devices running "b" or "g" will hold it back.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

I have two access points in my house. One for older clients (specifically a couple Internet radios and a print-server bridge) and one for newer clients that I configured to "N" only.

I'm sure the new specification allows the AP to operate in compatibility mode or "AC" only mode.

While the initial specs 600Mbps speeds is not that much faster, it is twice as fast as the current 2 chain "N" offering. It also means that at some distance from the access point, a client might have a chance at getting 100Mbps whereas an "N" client might only be getting 50Mbps.

Incremental, yes, but if one is in the market for a new router, as long as AC is ratified and standard, one might as well buy the latest.

We as consumers can also be "aware" and skip this initial spec and wait for it the newer modulation techniques that promise over 1Gbps of speed. What's the old saying "caveat emptor"?

AnonFTW

@reliablehosting.com
said by norbert26:

Don't forget to throw your tablets and blu-ray players in the trash too. These devices have the WI-FI built in (most cases) and are limited to the standard that was available at time of release. Laptops will need a USB dongle to tie up a USB port for this. Make up your mind industry instead of creating all this waste . Also most ISPs such as cable provide a router/modem in one unit and won't refresh these until they have to.

802.11ac is backward compatible all the way to 802.11b.

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

AC is on 5 Ghz though, HORRIBLE for range.
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aaronwt
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Woodbridge, VA

Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

said by RR Conductor:

AC is on 5 Ghz though, HORRIBLE for range.

So you just have more APs. You need multiple APs anyway to get the proper coverage. Most people only use one AP and wonder why they have issues.

FFH5
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said by RR Conductor:

AC is on 5 Ghz though, HORRIBLE for range.

I easily get whole house coverage on 802.11n on the 5 Ghz channels. And an added benefit is no neighbors are using 5 Ghz on their systems, so no interference.
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ke4pym
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

said by FFH5:

said by RR Conductor:

AC is on 5 Ghz though, HORRIBLE for range.

I easily get whole house coverage on 802.11n on the 5 Ghz channels. And an added benefit is no neighbors are using 5 Ghz on their systems, so no interference.

Ditto. And have acceptable coverage in and around all the houses immediately surrounding me. Get good hardware and this isn't an issue.

Camelot One
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said by FFH5:

said by RR Conductor:

AC is on 5 Ghz though, HORRIBLE for range.

I easily get whole house coverage on 802.11n on the 5 Ghz channels. And an added benefit is no neighbors are using 5 Ghz on their systems, so no interference.

That is exactly the problem though. The 2.4Ghz band is so overloaded you'll find interference just about everywhere, and that is with each AP using a single channel. The .ac standard allows one AP to eat up almost all of the 5Ghz channels simultaneously, so it won't take more than 1 or 2 to saturate everything. That almost untouched frequency you are enjoying now will get crowded when a single neighbor turns on a .ac router.
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

Y'all are making me feel really good about my half acre of land, and the weak signals my neighbor's APs have at my house.

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
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I'm out in a very rural area (Redwood Valley, Mendocino County in NW CA), so over crowding of the 2.4 Ghz band is not an issue. We only have neighbors on our north side, none on our other sides, and other than my network (I have two, a 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz one) I can only see a VERY weak signal from our next door neighbor.
Happydude32
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said by norbert26:

Don't forget to throw your tablets and blu-ray players in the trash too. These devices have the WI-FI built in (most cases) and are limited to the standard that was available at time of release. Laptops will need a USB dongle to tie up a USB port for this. Make up your mind industry instead of creating all this waste . Also most ISPs such as cable provide a router/modem in one unit and won't refresh these until they have to.

Maybe we should just go back to stone slabs and slates. Damn those inventors of the first calculator, I just bought my abacus a few years before that.

Good thing more people don’t think like you.
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ke4pym
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

said by Happydude32:

Good thing more people don’t think like you.

I know, right? My stocks would /totally/ tank!

tschmidt
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As has been posted 11ac is backward compatible, like the other flavors of 802.11. It represents a significant improvement compared to previous version of the spec.

Long term this is an important development to more fully exploit 5 GHz advantage in speed and spectrum.

/tom

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
Uhm, do some research before spouting out uninformed nonsense, while AC runs on 5Ghz exclusively, Wireless AC routers are backwards compatible just as all standards have been, Wireless N is ran on 2.4Ghz of the newer AC AP's

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
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Re: Just love these "hardware refreshes".

said by MovieLover76:

Uhm, do some research before spouting out uninformed nonsense, while AC runs on 5Ghz exclusively, Wireless AC routers are backwards compatible just as all standards have been, Wireless N is ran on 2.4Ghz of the newer AC AP's

Um, learn some manners before letting your mouth get ahead of your brain. Seriously, do people put up with that in your real life?
--


SHoTTa35

@kfvaluation.com

Not worried about .11ac yet

Even before reading this i wasn't so worried about .11AC in the sense that my local LAN speeds are fine now with 450Mbps 5Ghz N (get about 240Mbps real world with 3x3 Client adapter). Sure i'd love 600Mbps over wireless to my 1Gbps network server but for now it's good enough

My Linksys e4200 v1 still kicking butt, and it's almost 2yrs old now. Normally i upgrade my network right away but not rushing in this time. If anything i'll get it a year or so after it goes final which should be this year. Then i'll try getting version 2 hardware as well

•••
Kamus

join:2011-01-27
El Paso, TX

MU-MIMO

I happen to own one of the draft 802.11ac routers.
The only reason i bought it was because an opportunity to sell my 802.11n router arose.

I bought it knowing that it doesn't have one of the best features of 802.11ac:

MU-MIMO.

The second generation of routers will be MU-MIMO capable and will probably have support for 160 MHz channels.

The routers in the market right now can't do beamforming and MIMO at the same time. But the next generation will be able to do both at the same time.

jazzy112

@cableone.net

More Industry Dreaming.

Just how much of an 80mhz channel is going to make it through a wall intact? Even on the best gear available a single client doesn't see anywhere close to the current advertised speeds. On this new ac platform, you may see about 50mbps to a single client. N is getting around 25 with a 3x3 stream. The ethernet cable is still the best and will be always. My only devices I use wireless are those that don't have an ethernet port. Of course these are the same devices that don't have the processing power to handle a full gig connection anyway.

I don't know about anybody else, but everytime I've tried to use the 40mhz channels available on some products, they are terrible. And if you've played with unlicensed 5ghz gear since the FAA started complaining, you'd know that there isn't going to be room.

My mobile phone in the lower level of my home picks up 8 AP's. So It is highly unlikely that very many ac units will actually fully utilize the capability. Just more marketing gimmicks to get people to give away more of their money to the rich.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

1 edit

Re: More Industry Dreaming.

Do you mean MBps (megabyes per second), not mbps (megabits per second)
My 3x3 Wireless N E4200 gets around 175mbps on the 5Ghz band, the 40mhz support works perfectly. and I'm sure in AC will do better.

The width of the channel has no impact on wall penetration, a 20mhz channel gets through a wall just as easy as a 80mhz channel.

Wireless routers, have never ever meet their advertised speeds, because they are sold based on theoretical max speeds, generally if you get half of the speed that they are advertising your doing good.
This has been true since 802.11b, but it's still a big upgrade
My Wireless G router did 25mbps on a good day
My First Wireless N router on 2.4Ghz single channel did 75mbps.
My Current Wireless N router at 5Ghz does 175mbps
Draft AC routers are benchmarking around 400mbps

Once you accept this general 50% rule that I've found to hold mostly true with high end routers, you'll have a rough idea of what to expect.

Of course it goes without saying read router reviews before any purchase.
What router you buy also matters ALOT. most people buy the cheap $50 routers from best buy, which are generally very slow compared to what the standard advertises and often very buggy because they don't put a lot of work into their budget routers. Even different models of so called high end routers can vary wildly in terms of performance.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Inital reviews

Initial reviews of draft AC hardware showed double the performance on AC around 400 Mbps, while my high end E4200 Dual band 450Mb Wireless Router maxes out at about 180 mbps in real world transfers.

Maybe if your happy with your high end wireless n router like me you don't have to switch yet, but most wireless n routers are cheap, don't support the 5ghz band, and many only get 70 something mbps. Even the draft stuff is a big upgrade for the majority of wireless N users, though waiting for final hardware can wind up to be a good decision.

FizzyMyNizzy

join:2004-05-29
New York, NY

Wiki

802.11ac wiki »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ac

I hope it helps.

bennysmiles

@centurytel.net

Channel 12,13,14

I say screw the FCC and have both my router and wireless card set to channel 14 which isn't technically allowed in the US. No interference for me

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Clinton Township, MI

Re: Channel 12,13,14

Why scan your area and pick a channel no one is using? I noticed some slowdown but also noted my router was homesteading on ch6. I forced it to 10 and I seem to be humming along while everyone else is fighting it out on 2 and 6. I'll hang on to my DIR655 DLink a few more months till the next round of 11ac's come out.