Right now, there are no 802.11ac-enabled devices on the market. Devices withthe 802.11n wireless standard are still hitting the shelves. However, that will change drastically over the next four years, according to market research firm In-Stat.
In a report issued Feb. 8, In-Stat analysts expects the number of devices that support the 802.11ac WiFi standard will grow to almost 1 billion by 2015, driven by the ever-pressing demand for more speed. The 802.11ac standard will provide up to 1 Gigabit network speeds, according to In-Stat.
The standard also will leverage multiple-user MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) that can send streams of data to different users on the same channel.
""The goal of 802.11ac is to provide data speeds much faster than 802.11n, with speeds of around 1G bps," Frank Dickson, vice president of research at In-Stat, said in a statement. "The timing for 802.11ac approval is to have a draft standard created by 2011 and have the first 802.11ac products out by the end of 2012. The technology behind 802.11ac has not been finalized. However, it will likely involve bonding four or even eight channels together and some tweaks to the modulation scheme."
The 802.11n WiFi standard took awhile to ratify-it didn't get fully adopted by the WiFi Alliance until September 2009-though a lot of devices were launched before that based on draft standards. And 802.11n came with myriad benefits, from faster speeds and better methods for encoding packets to support for MIMO and dual bands.
The dominance of WiFi will continue as the years roll on, according to In-Stat. In their report, the analysts said that mobile devices with WiFi will continue to make up most shipments, and that by 2015, shipments of mobile phones with embedded WiFi will near 800 million.
Also by 2015, all mobile hot spot shipments will be 802.11ac-enabled and e-readers with WiFi attach rates will grow from 3 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2015.
In addition, by 2012, WiFi automotive shipments will reach almost 20 million, according to In-Stat.