The start of 2014 brought with it a new standard in wireless connectivity. 802.11ac is a set of physical layer enhancements for higher throughput in the 5-GHz band that is projected to completely replace the 802.11n technology by 2018. The access points with the newest technology bring with them additional antennas, wider channels, more spatial streams, and a number of features that improves throughput and reliability.
So, when should you make the switch to 802.11ac and why?
1.) You’re currently maxing out your capacity:“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.” – Rabindranath Tagore.Optimal performance on the 802.11n wireless recommends you have no more than 40 clients to an AP. This capacity max out is caused by only having so much bandwidth to distribute per client. More bandwidth can be distributed with the new 802.11ac technology leaving you the ability to have 90-100 clients on an Access Point.
2.) You want more speed:“Power and speed be hands and feet” –Ralph Waldo Emerson. The main advantage of the new 802.11ac technology is the gigabit speeds you obtain. The faster the speed the more bandwidth for every client on the network. Simple math: the faster the first client requesting data is helped the faster the second client can then be assisted. With the 802.11n technology you can receive 450 Mbps max while with the 802.11ac technology you’re looking at 802.11ac speeds of 1.3 Gbps, which is up to 3x faster.
3.) Range is an issue with connectivity:“Success and achievement are matters of long range” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. When discussing 802.11ac range, we don’t mean the 802.11ac technology comes with the ability to send a signal further. We simply mean that at the same distance the 802.11ac range provides better throughput. Meaning you get double the data rates with 802.11ac.
Thoughtful takeaways if you have decided that 802.11ac technology is right for your school wireless network:
• If you decide to switch to the newest technology you will NEED Gigabit switch connectivity: As stated, the bandwidth an 802.11ac access point can deliver is PHENOMENAL but will be choked from the height of its potential if the access point is connected to a 100Mbps network. Keep your network from bottlenecking by refreshing your wired infrastructure to receive the most from this new technology.
• 802.11ac and 802.11n technologies can be mixed without negative impacts. Since the new 802.11ac technology takes many of the features from 802.11n and builds upon them they play very nicely together. You don’t have to commit to a full 802.11ac refresh and can sprinkle in the new technology to an existing 802.11n network.
Suggested Article: Wireless Network Design for 802.11ac
Regardless of where your school or district is in the process of researching this technology, our expert team is here to assist you! At SecurEdge Networks we have been designing and deploying wireless networks for close to a decade and would love to answer any of your questions or even provide you with a free consultation. For more information please contact us here.