New Wireless-AC features improve speed and stability

Back in 2013, the Wi-Fi Alliance created a certification program for 802.11ac devices to ensure interoperability. That program is now expanding with a new set of features that the Alliance is calling "wave 2." Rather than being a new Wi-Fi standard, the new features supplement the existing 802.11ac standard.

The focus of the new features appears to be on improving the performance of Wi-Fi networks when multiple users are using the same network, and when multiple networks are occupying the same airspace. Multiple-input multiple-output, or "MIMO" support, was introduced originally with 802.11n. That feature is being expanded to multi-user MIMO, or MU-MIMO. Suitably-equipped access points will be able to serve multiple devices in MIMO mode simultaneously.

Beyond that, the majority of the updates seem to simply be specification upgrades to the certification program. Devices with 4×4 MIMO support are officially supported, as well as 160MHz channels—potentially doubling throughput. The Wi-Fi alliance is increasing the number of available 5Ghz channels, too, which it says makes more efficient use of available spectrum.

Unfortunately, the 802.11ac "wave 2" features do require hardware support, and as a result it's unlikely the new hotness will come to a router near you by way of a firmware update. Wave 2-capable devices are already on the market, though, like this Netgear R7800.

Comments closed
    • egon
    • 3 years ago

    Great looking router, that Nighthawk – one of the rare instances I’ve been tempted to buy on looks. Shame it can’t run Gargoyle, which limits one to [url=https://www.roytanck.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/wrt1900ac-1.jpg<]this garish thing[/url<].

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    Sure hope that the market name will be something like 802.11ac2 instead. Anyway, since most people want everything wireless these days, it’s possible that we won’t get much faster wired consumer networking. Even the middle ground 5GBit that could become affordable sees little interest from the major manufacturers,for what I can see.

      • nerdrage
      • 3 years ago

      How about something simpler like maybe just 802.12? It’s not like there’s a shortage of available numbers to choose from.

      Otherwise we’re going down the absurd path of:
      802.11ac Wave 2 Gen 3 Type C rev B service pack 1A(n) beta 0.99998 FTW EXTREME OC Founders Edition OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!!one!!

        • willmore
        • 3 years ago

        because 802.12 is taken already?
        [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100BaseVG[/url<]

          • nerdrage
          • 3 years ago

          Fine! [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=IEEE+803&title=Special:Search&go=Go&searchToken=97efo3840yvsv9w33b13p9c6a<]IEEE 803[/url<]!!! C'mon man, it's called sarcasm.

            • willmore
            • 3 years ago

            I see your username is very well chosen.

    • colinstu12
    • 3 years ago

    MUMIMO… why don’t they just call it M(UIO) or something? Getting kind of ridiculous.

    Also I looked into this yesterday, apparently current Ubiquiti UniFi gear do not support Wave 2 at all. Correct me if I’m wrong but yeah sadly doesn’t look like it’s supported right now.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 3 years ago

      lol Because the very large majority of people in the US don’t understand pre-algebra.

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      I wouldn’t be too upset. Not like any client devices around support MU-MIMO, at least no popular devices.

        • w76
        • 3 years ago

        That was my thought, too. I bet there are millions of 802.11ac routers out there that operate almost 100% of the time with the 802.11n protocol, because it takes two to tango.

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          There was a good test on if that still helped, and it did, I forget which website. Even using the N protocol, AC devices do benefit from the faster processors that AC mandates, as well as advances in radio antennas and such.

          Edit: Yup, this
          [url<]http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-features/32512-does-an-ac-router-improve-n-device-performance[/url<]

            • DoomGuy64
            • 3 years ago

            Which is why I got myself a nice asus 68R for $100 from a retail special. Beats my N router, but not worth the premium of the MU-MIMO routers. Also, you have the issue of 3rd party firmware which is currently better supported on older routers.

      • kvndoom
      • 3 years ago

      Nah, we gotz vowels to spare, let me tell you!

      MA-MEMIMOMU

      …and sometimes MYMA-MEMIMOMU

        • arunphilip
        • 3 years ago

        MAMA-MIA!

      • Kharnellius
      • 3 years ago

      I’m embarrassed for all of you for not catching this then proceeding to make fun of the lack of algebraic reasoning in the US.

      MUMIMO = M^3(UIO)

      You are all thinking of MU+MI+MO = M(U+I+O)

        • LostCat
        • 3 years ago

        algebraic your face! (…err sorry.)

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    Good call on the terminology “wave 2”, as “new wave” would have had too many people flashing back to the 80’s and British pop bands.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 3 years ago

      Wave 103 from GTA Vice City?

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      They weren’t all British, man. A-ha was from Norway; Devo was from Akron, Ohio.

      And for that matter, New Wave was [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_New_Wave<]a thing in film[/url<] decades before it got applied to pop music in the 80s.

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