How will 802.11ax affect my network?

The ratification and release of 802.11ax network products looms ever closer, and more and more information is coming out about the next jump in WiFi technology, which will no doubt lead to many questions about how this effects business wireless use, and existing wireless networks. Many companies will have undoubtedly updated their wireless infrastructure over the past year or so, and will be understandably anxious to validate their decision to spend their hard-fought budget allocations on a future proof solution.

As it stands, 802.11ac Wave 2 is still the recent wireless standard, and several manufacturers have been releasing MU-MIMO capable AC client devices for a little while now, meaning you can use the full potential of the network, while being backwards compatible, to keep some of those legacy devices knocking around on the network and out of trouble. As with all wireless standards, even after a new wireless standard is unveiled, previous models of Access Points are still manufactured and supported, but the length of time is manufacturer dependant. So don't panic, you won't have to rip and replace your shiny new network until you are ready.

To keep you in the loop, here is a little breakdown of the upcoming standard, and what we will all have to get ready for in the future.

So what are the benefits?

All previous standards have prided themselves on touting bigger throughput speeds compared to its predecessors, and those numbers are often not a realistic reflection of real-world connection speeds. 802.11ax will continue the trend of offering faster speeds, but focuses on delivering a fast connection to every device in your office/home/school etc, and trying to improve the overall Wireless experience. When 802.11ax is released, you can expect to have a better experience when trying to:

  • Stream movies and TV shows especially in 4K, Ultra-HD
  • Quickly download large files
  • Playing games online without experiencing "lag."
  • Seamlessly use multiple smart devices without noticeable speed sacrifices, since 802.11ax is designed for Wi-Fi-dense environments
  • Keeping all your smart devices running 24-7 with maximum Wi-Fi coverage

Currently 802.11ax is going through the approval stages with the IEEE and is still a little way off gaining its final certification, although that hasn't stopped manufacturers already starting production on new access points.