Published on May 30th, 2014 | by David Frith0
4Gon Discuss the development of the 802.xx standards for wireless connectivity with Comms Business Magazine
Alexis Argent, founder & director, 4Gon Solutions, comments:
We have seen huge demand for wireless products and this has increased dramatically over the past five years. With the much improved performance and reliability of access points and routers, in many cases, businesses have been able to remove the need for a wired connection at all.
What are the standards and how they have developed?
The development of Wi-Fi solutions over the past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of data that can be transferred across a wireless network. The fact that this has been achievable is, in part, due to the development of 802.11a, b, g, n and ac wireless standards.
The first widely accepted standards, 802.11a and b, saw a vast increase in throughput, and are still widely supported by most products on the market. This was also true of the later g and n iterations.
Now, with the emergence of 802.11ac, we have seen an increase in demand for products like the Ubiquiti Unifi AC as this enables three times the speed of earlier protocols. Top tech brands such as Apple are also moving towards ac standards with products such as the AirPort Extreme 802.11ac. Apple is also informing its customers that all new iPhones and iPads will use the ac protocol.
With regard to the future of wireless connectivity, we’re going to see continually faster data transfer, a wider range of channels and more multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) streams. The ac standard also provides backward compatibility, meaning wireless can and will be integrated into any existing network.
How the standards compare to 4G?
In terms of how they work, 802.11 ac and 4G are totally different, 4G functions via a cellular network and ac over a wired or radio connection. However 4G offers an excellent mobile alternative, with similar speeds, if you don’t have access to a wired or radio connection.
Which applications are enabled by faster, wider coverage of Wi-Fi since the development of 802.xx?
The bottom line is that improved Wi-Fi protocols allow businesses the opportunity to do more and to do it faster.
Where a wired connection is problematic or impossible the ac protocol really allows more applications to run simultaneously, or allows high-bandwidth applications to perform without a hitch. Faster speeds greatly reduce time spent transferring files or backing up data and therefore allow for higher levels of productivity, even whilst on the move.
Historically, connections may have struggled with concurrent users all downloading files. Improved Wi-Fi standards mean multi-media platforms such as conference calls or webinars perform more consistently. It also means businesses and their staff can use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets more effectively.
It’s not just businesses either, many types of organisation have benefited from the development of 802.xx and faster Wi-Fi. Educational institutions for example can offer distance learning by allowing students to use their own devices and watch and participate remotely. Students are also able to access their files and projects on their own devices around the campus, rather than having to use one of a Universities’ fixed workstations.
All cloud-based products also benefit from improving internet protocols as they become significantly more efficient to use via wireless devices. As smartphone and tablet usage continues to increase, users are demanding more bandwidth intensive applications such as HD and live video streaming.”
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