Look ahead for the next generation of Wi-Fi

Just when network managers thought they were ready to bring in the next generation of Wi-Fi access points to their networks comes word that the IEEE has another leap in technology in mind.

That’s right: With 802.11ac deployments in enterprises about to take off,  at least doubling the current 802.11n theoretical speeds of 450 Mbps, the  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is looking at an upcoming standard called 802.11ax.

According to a report in Computerworld U.S., Huawei, which is leading the 802.11ax working group at the IEEE, has done lab tests showing speeds of 10.53 Gbps over an entire Wi-Fi network.

Although 802.11ax likely won’t hit the market for several years, there are two questions: How will CIOs take advantage of all that bandwidth? and Will it really see the light of day?

One thing 802.11ac does is allow organizations to truly do away with wired networks — assuming there are enough devices in the enterprise to support the protocol — and adopt video as a commonly-used communications mode.

On the other hand, one vendor once told me that network managers won’t completely embrace Wi-Fi because a technology that uses unlicenced spectrum is inherently unstable.

But let’s get back to 802.11ax. According to the news report while existing Wi-Fi standards focused on the data capacity of an overall wireless network connected to multiple users, 802.11ax will concentrate on actual data speeds to each individual station, or device.

So not merely video but HD video in the enterprise could be commonplace.

Is that a network manager’s dream or nightmare?


Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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