Does 802.11ac Wi-Fi herald the 'all-wireless' office?

Is 802.11ac the last word in Wi-Fi, at least at the physical layer?

A new technical paper from Aruba Networks suggests that, "in enterprise networks, the higher rates and increased capacity of 802.11ac will break down the last remaining barriers to the all-wireless office. There should be enough capacity in an 802.11ac WLAN that users see equivalent performance to wired Ethernet," adds the analysis.

The paper goes on to ask the question: "Is 802.11ac the last word in Wi-Fi, at least at the physical layer?" Aruba Networks notes that "there is certainly a case for saying that [the technology] pushes most [Wi-Fi] parameters to the limit, [including] channel bandwidth, modulation, number of antennas and spatial streams, and beamforming."

"802.11ac takes all the techniques the Wi-Fi industry has learned up to 802.11n, and extends them," concludes the paper. "It is relatively uncontroversial to say that in a few years, Wi-Fi will be synonymous with 802.11ac, or whichever name the Wi-Fi Alliance chooses for it."

View/Download the white paper.

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