New WiFi Features Promise Greater Speeds, Performance
The Wi-Fi Alliance unveils its certification for 802.11ac Wave 2 devices, with features like MU-MIMO that could improve speeds by up to three times.WiFi connectivity is about to get faster. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially unveiled its certification for 802.11ac Wave 2, which officials said will deliver greater speeds, more capacity and greater efficiency to WiFi networks. That will become increasingly important as the Internet of things (IoT)—with its growing numbers of connected home appliances, mobile devices, TVs and other consumer and commercial systems—continues to expand and put more pressure on wireless networks for greater performance. There are already 802.11ac Wave 2-based devices on the market, but the Wi-Fi Alliance's expansion of its Wi-Fi Certified ac certification program means that systems and devices carrying the 802.11ac Wave 2 label will need to include the new features in the standard and that they'll be interoperable. "In today's world, people have more WiFi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth," Wi-Fi Alliance President and CEO Edgar Figueroa said in a statement, adding that the updated certification program meets "increasing user demands" and helps to "stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability."
The key new feature in 802.11ac Wave 2 is multi-user multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO), which will enable more devices to run at the same time on the same network without degrading performance or speed, alliance officials said. Wireless access points currently receive and transmit data to a single device at a time, switching rapidly from one device to another. With MU-MIMO, an access point or router will be able to send data to multiple devices at the same time, improving throughput and efficiency.