If you’re like most college students living off campus, you probably have a few roommates. Roommates are great — until they do something annoying, like leaving their dishes in the sink, or worse, hog the Wi-Fi. Do you notice buffering issues or extra loading time when you’re trying to stream a movie in the living room while your roommate is gaming in his bedroom? This could be due to an outdated router and devices enabled with older, slower wireless technology. Fortunately, new 802.11ac Wi-Fi can help you avoid uncomfortable confrontations with your roommates about their data usage.
Buff Out Buffering
Increased data transfer needs in the home call for new technology. 802.11n wireless was released in 2007 and offered maximum transfer speeds of 72–600 Mbps. The new standard blows it out of the water. Routers outfitted with 802.11ac technology max out anywhere from 433 Mbps–1.3 Gbps — up to 6x faster than previous hardware.
Whether you’re downloading large files for a class project, streaming an HD movie, or gaming online, you’ll be able to avoid the frustrations of long buffering or lag times with 802.11ac.
More Room In The Tubes
Not only does 802.11ac wireless deliver content faster, it also offers a higher capacity for houses with an increasing number of wireless devices. Think of your wireless router as a tunnel, and your devices as the traffic trying to get through it. 802.11n wireless is a small tunnel and all of your roommates’ devices are causing a traffic jam. With 802.11ac, you get a much wider tunnel that lets everyone get through without bumping into each other. This means it can simultaneously handle the growing number of wireless-enabled devices you have in your house while still supporting higher quality streaming, online gaming, and larger downloads.
Extend Your Reach
Not only does 802.11ac boost speed and bandwidth capacity, it also extends the reach of your Wi-Fi network. Older 802.11n Wi-Fi operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency, which is subject to more interference caused by a wide range of wireless devices such as baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, and even microwaves. This added interference can choke off the range of your wireless access point.
802.11ac uses the 5 GHz frequency band which provides 5x the capacity as the 2.4 GHz band, and is much less crowded. With less chance for interference, these new routers can offer greater reach and fewer interruptions to your connectivity.
Choosing the Wi-Fi That’s Right for You
To take full advantage of these new speeds, you’ll need an 802.11ac-enabled router as well as compatible devices. When purchasing a new laptop, desktop, tablet, or other Wi-Fi enabled device, look for “Wireless 802.11ac” on the spec sheet. 802.11ac’s backwards compatibility means that you’ll not only be prepared for the future, but you’ll still be able to connect to networks featuring older wireless technology.
For more information on 802.11ac and how to choose the right router and devices for your house, check out this free ebook about next-gen Wi-Fi.