802.11ac Revisited – Where Are We One Year After Certification?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) certified 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi approximately one year ago. In that one year, we’ve seen significant growth in adoption numbers and the number of 11ac-enabled mobile devices. A recently published report by Dell’Oro Group revealed the Wireless LAN market grew 7 percent in the fourth quarter 2014 versus the year-ago period.  Enterprise-class 802.11ac based radio access points grew 14 percent versus the third quarter 2014. Yes, the future is bright for 802.llac as Wave 2 devices begin to enter the market.

Since smartphones are the biggest BYOD challenge to the enterprise (wearables to follow), moving them off to a new 802.11ac network in a new frequency band (5 GHz) will provide some instant relief to the restraints of bandwidth on the 2.4GHz band. However, 70 percent isn’t everyone; the slow but steady increase in 802.11ac enabled devices will force enterprises to rethink their networking strategy.

The exponential growth of mobile access in the workplace has accelerated the need for network reliability and uptime. The new 802.11ac wireless standard offers increased throughput, better capabilities for multiple users and overall improved features for the content- and data-heavy networks of today. 802.11ac improves the WLAN user experience by providing data rates at  5-10 times the speed that was previously available.

Based on a recent study we conducted in November 2014, the companies that are switching to the 802.11ac fast lane are ones that already depend on high-speed networks such as high tech, telecommunications, education, manufacturing, and healthcare. In the past year, 23 percent of respondents have already deployed 802.11ac, but we expect businesses are about to start a major switchover to 11ac in the year to come.

For more information on WildPackets’ 802.11ac solutions, visit here.

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