• Using maximum features, peak ideal data rate is 6. 93
• Typical configuration can produce data rates of over 1
The 802.11ac routers are already becoming the
mainstream. While these routers will serve most consumers
adequately for years to come, new standards are in the
works. Figure 1 shows D-Links’ latest 802.11ac compatible
router. The four MIMO antennas boost speed while
improving link reliability.
WiGig is the trade name given to routers implemented
with the 802.11ad standard. WiGig operates in the 60 GHz
unlicensed band. Using 2 GHz wide channels and OFDM
with 64QAM modulation, it can deliver 7 Gbps of data
speed up to about 10 meters max.
Range is really limited by the high millimeter wave
signal, but by using agile beamforming and phased array
antennas, the range is useable. The 11ad standard and
products have actually been around for several years now,
but have not gained traction in the marketplace. With
limited range and few access points to connect to, the
standard has an uncertain future.
One potential use is as wireless connections to virtual
reality/augmented reality headsets. Competition from
another Wi-Fi standard may commit the 11ad standard to
oblivion. We shall see.
The Newest Standard: 11ax
The latest standard is 802.11ax. Chips are now
available from vendors like Broadcom and Quantenna that
will power the forthcoming new routers. This new standard
offers further improvements in speed and coverage. It
operates in both the 2. 4 and 5 GHz bands and features the
same bandwidths to 160 MHz and 8x8 MIMO. It also adds
two key upgrades that will further improve performance.
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THE LATEST IN NETWORKING AND WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES
What Limits Your Data Rate?
We all want downloads to be faster. Unfortunately, there appears to be a diminishing return. Beyond a certain
point, humans cannot tell the difference between 10 Mb/s downloads or 50 Mb/s downloads for common uses like
email or Internet surfing. It is streaming video that demands the high rates. If the streaming video is not delayed, we
usually don’t care what the actual speed is.
Another key factor is the download speed capability of your Internet service provider (ISP) and what speed your
account permits. Home cable TV and DSL lines have definite upper limits, and lower than you realize. DSL lines rarely
go much beyond about 10 Mb/s. Cable connections can sometimes go up to 50 to 100 Mb/s, but that depends upon
what you want to pay for. That said, you should also realize that your actual potential rate is very dependent upon your
specific connection and could be lower than the peak promised.
For company APs and public hot spots, the connection is usually a 1 Gb/s Ethernet line. Some office APs may also
be on a 10 Gb/s Ethernet switch. A good rate is the usual result but heavy usage can overwhelm any AP.
The point is, you can buy a 1 Gb/s + capable Wi-Fi router but you are never going to see that rate if your ISP can’t
deliver it that fast. The weakest link in the data stream chain is the bottleneck. That means, getting a new 802.11ac or
802.11ax router will not in and of itself give you that rate if the ISP cannot match it.
Don’t let that stop you from upgrading as all the newer routers are backward-compatible with the previous 11n
standard. And, don’t forget that you need the latest standard like 11ac on both your Wi-Fi device as well as in the
router to get the full benefits of the latest standard.
Another good rationale for getting the newer and faster router is link reliability. Since the newer standards and
router products use lots of MIMO, the overall link is better, range is extended, and greater whole house coverage is
usually better. More users can get faster links and the overall connection is more reliable.
Figure 1. D-Links’ AC1750
MU-MIMO router (DIR-
867) can hit speeds up to
86 July/August 2018