Were you aware that a new Wi-Fi standard is being implemented across new devices and routers? If you’re like many people, you probably think Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi. But behind the scenes, an organization called The Institute of Electrical and Electric Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has been carefully crafting and improving the foundation for wireless technology standards we use daily.
The basis for Wi-Fi standards started nearly 30 years ago when the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the ISM band for worldwide use. The first Wi-Fi technology was then developed in the Netherlands to be used for cashier systems in the early ‘90s, but it wasn’t until later in the decade that Wi-Fi became a trademark under which many products are sold.
Most recently, wireless standards fell under the 802.11g and subsequent 802.11n standards. Most consumer devices sold since 2007 included 802.11bgn Wi-Fi that use the overcrowded, overused 2.4GHz frequency. Billions of devices and routers still rely on this older standard today. If you haven’t upgraded to a laptop or tablet within the last year, your device likely still uses the older 802.11bgn Wi-Fi. Even laptops and tablets sold today may have 802.11bgn inside. Be careful!
Within the last several months, however, new 802.11ac routers have been available and new devices are being equipped with 802.11ac Wi-Fi that uses better wireless technologies than 802.11n and the 5GHz frequency for far more capacity than 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Yet, 802.11ac is backward compatible with Dual Band support (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz)to support older Wi-Fi standards. The new 802.11ac standard was developed throughout 2013 and saw final approval in January 2014. The new standard has several benefits that are sure to make connectivity easier and faster for anyone who adopts the new technology.
Devices equipped with Intel® Wireless-AC technology can see 3x faster Wi-Fi speeds, greater range, and the ability for more devices to connect to the same network. Up to four different devices can stream Blu-ray quality video at the same time without issue. Download speeds using Intel Wireless-AC are also drastically improved — a 10GB file can take only four minutes to download instead of up to 48 minutes using the old wireless standard.
The need for high-speed, quality wireless is ubiquitous in our society, whether at work or at home. From watching movies to competing in multiplayer online games to downloading files from your favorites services and uploading personal content to send to friends and family, having a reliable wireless connection has never been more essential.
A growing number of products on the market now are equipped with Intel® Wireless-AC, though manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba, which have a decent range of 2 in 1 devices and laptops that have the technology built-in, and with more on the way. Taking advantage of the full power of 802.11ac Wi-Fi inside any device requires investment in a new 802.11ac router, but the benefits quickly become clear for all devices. Plus, 802.11ac products are backwards compatible, so your older devices will still be able to connect to the network when you decide to upgrade, and your new 802.11ac laptops and tablets will be able to connect to any Wi-Fi hotspot.
For more about the new wireless standard, check out Intel’s Next-Gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi for Dummies guide and see which laptops and 2 in 1 devices come equipped with the Intel® Wireless-AC by visiting intel.com/wireless.
If you have any questions or are looking for advice about Intel® Wireless-AC and the new 802.11ac wireless standard, don’t hesitate to connect with us on Twitter at @IntelWireless. We look forward to answering your questions and hearing all about the joy that comes from faster and better connectivity.