The next gen Wi-Fi standard is coming. Wi-Fi’s 802.11ax could reach 10Gbps

by: Gary SimsJuly 15, 2014

htc-one-x wifiWhen you download an app, browse the Internet, read your email or watch a YouTube video on your smartphone you are invariably using some form of wireless technology. On cellular networks that means technologies like 3G and 4G LTE. When you are at home or at work you are probably using Wi-Fi. Wireless networking has been around since the 1990s and the 802.11a protocol was ratified in 1999. It provided speeds of up to 54 Mbps using 5 GHz radio waves. Since then the Wi-Fi standard has grown and developed significantly. Today the current range of 802.11ac routers can pump out data at up to 1.3Gbps on the 5 GHz band, and up to 450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.

Second wave 802.11ac routers will deliver maximum physical link rates of over 7Gbps!

But what is next? There are several different developments concurrently occurring in Wi-Fi. The first is the emergence of the next wave of 802.11ac routers and the second is the development of the 802.11ax standard.

Most current 802.11ac routers are based on a draft version of the standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance didn’t launch its first 802.11ac certification program until mid 2013, but that didn’t stop companies like Buffalo from shipping devices based on the draft standard, in fact Buffalo shipped its first 802.11ac router in 2012!

Wave 2 802.11ac routers will start hitting the shelves in 2015. These second generation routers will use the less-crowded 5 GHz frequency band (rather than 2.4 GHz as used by 802.11b/g/n) and they will support technology like MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple input/multiple output), which enables them to send multiple spatial streams to multiple clients simultaneously. They will also support 160Mhz channel bonding. The result of all this clever technology is that the second wave 802.11ac routers will deliver maximum physical link rates of over 7Gbps!

The aim of the new standard is to quadruple wireless speeds to individual clients and not just to increase the overall speed of the network.

After Wave 2 802.11ac comes 802.11ax. The aim of the new standard is to  quadruple wireless speeds to individual clients and not just to increase the overall speed of the network. Huawei, the Chinese OEM, has engineers on the 802.11ax committee and it has already reported Wi-Fi connection speeds up to 10.53Gbps on the 5GHz frequency band!

The current plan is for the Wi-Fi alliance to ratify the 802.11ax standard in 2019.

But we mustn’t get too excited, just yet. The current plan is for the Wi-Fi alliance to ratify the 802.11ax standard in 2019. However, devices based on a draft of the standard could reach the buying public by 2016. But just like the early versions of 802.11n and 802.11ac products these 802.11ax would be based on an un-ratified standard.

Smartphone and tablet users will not only need to wait for the routers to become available, but also for the manufacturers to support the new standard in their devices. At the moment the flagship devices from companies like Samsung, HTC, Sony, and LG support Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac over two bands (i.e. 2.4GHz and 5GHz). Low- and mid- range devices, like the Moto G, often only support Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.

What do you think? Are higher Wi-Fi speeds important to you? Are you looking forward to 802.11ax support?

  • Xajel

    I think having AC speed ( or a little bit higher ) but with greater distance and more quality is better specially through walls.. current usage scenarios might includes streaming multiples streams Full HD contents ( and 4K in 2016/2019 ) in the home, and maybe also doing other stuff in the same time ( downloading from net, other peoples browsing internet or home media )…

    or rather than adding more distance why not having the ability to use multiple access points in the house which all seems to be like on strong access point.. no more repeaters or low signals… or multiple networks in the home…

    • CommanderDusK

      These issues are not because of current WiFi standards. With some decent radios and antennas, in a PtP (Point-to-Point) scenario you can easily stretch it up to 50KM+ and in a PtMP (Point-to-Multi-Point) around 1KM. The reason distance is not great is because of multiple things, such as the antennas and radios in phones and WiFi adapters are not the best they could be due to power limitations and local spectrum licencing laws. For example it wouldn’t be fair if your WiFi AP were so high powered it interfered with your neighbours WiFi or in high-density scenarios you would be hogging a channel over a large area leading to overall wireless channel congestion.

      With some knowledge and the right access points you can easily configure 2 or more access points to broadcast the same SSID and hook em’ up to a switch or the back of your router. Alternatively you broadcast separate SSIDs which are both plugged into the same physical network. There are many methods of doing this, but it depends on what you want.

      I personally would love to see them screw around with the 24 and 60GHz spectrum just for shits n giggles.

  • Junaid Ansari

    All these standards come out yet, Wifi companies still make shitty routers….

  • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

    All of these are quite unnecesary.most family doesnt have that fast fiber optic dsl support anyway.Because of this nobody cares speeds of wifi routers.if you ask what people want, single router should be cover homes.that is what i realy like to buy.

  • Pobrecito hablador

    Wifi needs less latency, jitter and reliability first.

    • concinra

      Those thing pretty much rely on other factors.

  • MasterMuffin

    The standard will support up to 10Gbps but we won’t be seeing those speeds for a long long time in most places :(

    “you will probably using Wi-Fi.” :)

    • Michele Beccalossi

      Here in Italy only a 10% have a internet connection that saturates the 802.11g and no one the 802.11n so… LOL

    • This isn’t about bandwidth of your Internet, this is about the bandwidth of your network. With a 10Gbps bandwidth you can pretty much stream anything you want locally with no lag. Chromecast, Shield, Cloud storages and stuff like that.

  • conconra

    Why does 802.11 take so long to ratify? I’m sure there is lots of testing, but 5 years worth?

  • John Thrasher

    No point considering the fastest isp in the US (Google fiber) is only offering gigabit Internet. I have an AC wireless router and it is fast enough to stream HD video from my Nas drive. The bottleneck right now is isps

  • Dark_Laser

    I’m more interested in 802.11af and ah, which use 800 and 900mhz for extended range. My internet speed isn’t getting any faster, so faster WiFi isn’t very useful to me. I think we should focus on range first.

  • glein

    In ideal configurations, 802.11n and 802.11ac can support 4 streams of 150Mbps or 1.69Gbps each respectively, which totals to 600Mbps(n) and 6.77Gbps(ac). That said, manufacturers won’t bother making such devices because they would have to do much more work coding and using better hardware would make people not upgrade every few years, and that’s bad for business. They would have to actually support their products instead of forcing users to buy the newer version because they don’t want to deploy fixes for older models.

    • CommanderDusK

      Wouldn’t that just be aggregating a bunch of APs? You could easily do it with enterprise/buissiness grade APs

      • dimz

        Not everybody has access to such equipment though, and enterprise equipment that does that already is not guaranteed compatible as there’s usually some proprietary solution involved.

        • CommanderDusK

          True, I believe using multiple streams requires MIMO, which is used in some high end consumer routers even up to I think 8×8 MIMO (8 streams) but the the client must have MIMO antennas as well to get anywear near those theoretical speeds.

          • dimz

            Yeah, but if it’s in the standard, there’s specs predefined to allow for scaling down depending on device.

          • CommanderDusK

            True, if the client doesn’t support MIMO it will only use one stream but the others are open to other clients to communicate at the same time. There’s heaps of cool things you can do with MIMO like emulating full-duplex, and just recently they have used 8×8 MIMO with 802.11ac and got nearly 10Gbps, imagine ax with 8×8 MIMO that would be insane. Maybe speeds are getting to fast that we need to ditch TCP/IP?

  • Roberto Tomás

    honestly Im still waiting for 802.11ac with my FIOS router…

  • Siralf

    I have been checking amazon for the latest ASUS router RT AC68U, they have just launched it and it claims up to 600 Mbps wireless transfer rates. It, obviously, packs ac standard. Are those 1.3 Gbps wrong or am I missing something here?

  • Mehmed

    1. Higher speed
    2. Lower power consumption
    3. Higher range

    These 3 are important for me

  • CommanderDusK

    This isn’t necessarily just for consumers. This could potentially reduce WISP costs tenfold. We could see a global decrease in bandwidth prices. For example in rural Australia, where for a WISP tower deployment usually costs to run usually Gigabit fibre from the tower to a exchange, POI blah blah. This can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the distance. Currently 802.11ac at 5GHz can go appox 70KM in a PtP configuration, so with this supposed 802.11ax it could possibly cost approx 10 grand to deploy a network with 10 times the bandwidth and little distance restrictions.

    PS. Proposing they are using current modulation techniques, in the future when it is near to being released modulation may be better and they could possibly push this to 20 or 30Gbps.