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IEEE 802.11ac is a wireless networking standard in the 802.11 family (which is marketed under the brand name Wi-Fi), developed in the IEEE Standards Association process, providing high-throughput wireless local area networks (WLANs) on the 5 GHz band. The standard was developed from 2011 through 2013 and approved in January 2014. According to a study, devices with the 802.11ac specification are expected to be common by 2015 with an estimated one billion spread around the world.
This specification has expected multi-station WLAN throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s). This is accomplished by extending the air interface concepts embraced by 802.11n: wider RF bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more MIMO spatial streams (up to eight), downlink multi-user MIMO (up to four clients), and high-density modulation (up to 256-QAM).
New technologies introduced with 802.11ac include the following:
Meru Networks has suggested that 802.11ac makes a wireless network employing the Single Channel Architecture substantially more effective. Traditional 802.11 networks are deployed as a Multiple Channel Architecture
The single-link and multi-station enhancements supported by 802.11ac enable several new WLAN usage scenarios, such as simultaneous streaming of HD video to multiple clients throughout the home, rapid synchronization and backup of large data files, wireless display, large campus/auditorium deployments, and manufacturing floor automation.
With the inclusion of USB 3.0 interface, 802.11ac access points and routers can use locally attached storage to provide various services that fully utilize their WLAN capacities, such as video streaming, FTP servers, and personal cloud services. With storage locally attached through USB 2.0, filling the bandwidth made available by 802.11ac was not easily doable.
All rates assume 256-QAM, rate 5/6:
|PHY Link Rate||Aggregate|
|1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 80 MHz||Handheld||433 Mbit/s||433 Mbit/s|
|2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 80 MHz||Tablet, Laptop||867 Mbit/s||867 Mbit/s|
|1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 160 MHz||Handheld||867 Mbit/s||867 Mbit/s|
|2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 160 MHz||Tablet, Laptop||1.69 Gbit/s||1.69 Gbit/s|
|4-antenna AP, four 1-antenna STAs, 160 MHz|
|Handheld||867 Mbit/s to each STA||3.39 Gbit/s|
|8-antenna AP, 160 MHz (MU-MIMO)|
-- one 4-antenna STA
-- one 2-antenna STA
-- two 1-antenna STAs
|Digital TV, Set-top Box,|
Tablet, Laptop, PC, Handheld
|3.39 Gbit/s to 4-antenna STA|
1.69 Gbit/s to 2-antenna STA
867 Mbit/s to each 1-antenna STA
|8-antenna AP, four 2-antenna STAs, 160 MHz|
|Digital TV, Tablet, Laptop, PC||1.69 Gbit/s to each STA||6.77 Gbit/s|
|Theoretical throughput for single Spatial Stream (in Mbit/s)|
|20 MHz channels||40 MHz channels||80 MHz channels||160 MHz channels|
|800 ns GI||400 ns GI||800 ns GI||400 ns GI||800 ns GI||400 ns GI||800 ns GI||400 ns GI|
Note: A second stream doubles the theoretical data rate, a 3rd 3x, etc. Note: MCS 9 is not applicable to all channel width/spatial stream combinations
|Type||2.4 GHz Mbit/s[A]||5 GHz Mbit/s|
Quantenna released the first 802.11ac chipset for retail Wi-Fi routers and consumer electronics on November 15, 2011. Redpine Signals released the first low power 802.11ac technology for smartphone application processors on December 14, 2011. On January 5, 2012, Broadcom announced its first 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips and partners and on April 27, 2012, Netgear announced the first Broadcom-enabled router. On May 14, 2012, Buffalo Technology released the world’s first 802.11ac products to market, releasing a wireless router and client bridge adapter.
Apple Inc. is selling 802.11ac versions of its AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule products. Motorola Solutions is selling 802.11ac access points including the AP 8232. In April 2014, Hewlett-Packard started selling the HP 560 access point in the controller-based WLAN enterprise market segment.
On June 7, 2012, it was reported that ASUS had unveiled its ROG G75VX gaming notebook, which will be the first consumer-oriented notebook to be fully compliant with 802.11ac (albeit in its "draft 2.0" version).
Apple announced in June 2013 that the new MacBook Air features 802.11ac wireless networking capabilities, later announcing in October 2013 that the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro also featured 802.11ac.
|HTC||One (2013)||March 2013||BCM4335 ||First 802.11ac-enabled handset announced February 19, 2013|
|Samsung||Galaxy S4||April 26, 2013||BCM4335 |
|Samsung||Galaxy Note 3||September 25, 2013||BCM4339 ||Subsequent Devices Include 802.11ac|
|LG||LG Nexus 5||October 2013||BCM4339 ||BCM4339 is the updated version of the BCM4335|
|Nokia||Lumia Icon||February 20, 2014||WCN3680||First 802.11ac-enabled Windows Phone|
|HTC||One (M8)||March 25, 2014||WCN3680 |
|Samsung||Galaxy S5||April 11, 2014||BCM4354|
|LG||G3||May 23, 2014||BCM4339 |
|Amazon.com||Fire Phone||July 25, 2014 ||WCN3680 |
|Intel||7260 AC||2||?||laptops, desktops|
|MediaTek||MT7610||1||?||?||?||PC (PCIe or USB)|
|MediaTek||MT7612E||2||laptops (PCIe 2.0)|
|MediaTek||MT7612U||2||laptops (USB 3.0)|
|Realtek||RTL8811AU||1||?||?||?||adapter (USB 2.0)|
|Realtek||RTL8812AU||2||?||?||?||adapter (USB 3.0)|