Introduction of faster Wi-Fi gathers pace

The first chip designed to allow wireless routers to support the new 802.11ax standard has been launched by Quantenna, hinting at the impending arrival of devices which can operate at speeds of up to 10Gbps, according to Tech Radar.

Wi-Fi standards have evolved regularly over the years, although the introduction of faster connectivity is only possible once many major industry bodies, manufacturers and governments have been involved with the process.

At the moment, 802.11ac is the flagship standard for Wi-Fi, but with the leap to ax and its ability to utilise the 5GHz band, it should be possible to not only improve connection speeds but also allow routers to host more devices without becoming overburdened.

Spokesperson, Andrea Goldsmith, spoke out about the potentially transformative impact of the arrival of 802.11ax standard Wi-Fi, which makes use of a technique known as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) in order to enable more devices to be managed without performance taking a hit.

This tech will be well suited to enterprise use, as well as having applications in other areas where more than a handful of users can be expected to require simultaneous access to high speed Wi-Fi connectivity.

Goldsmith said that the performance of wireless networking would come under increased scrutiny going forwards because of the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is no longer devices with human end users that are vying for network access, but a growing array of other machines and objects, meaning that a speed and capacity boost is essential.

The arrival of the first 802.11ax-endowed routers is not like to occur until the second half of 2017 at the earliest, as the chips have yet to reach manufacturers and it will take time to incorporate them with existing product lines. But by 2021, it is anticipated that almost two thirds of all chips will feature this tech, with analysts predicting its eventual dominance in spite of the fact that the standard has yet to receive final approval.

One reason that faster Wi-Fi is necessary is that it is having to keep up with the significant advances which are being made in the world of fibre optic broadband. And while trials in the UK have been able to prove that 40Gpbs fibre to the premises (FTTP) is a viable option, this achievement has already been overshadowed by developments made in South Korea.

Engadget reports that Finnish networking giant, Nokia, has worked with a Korean broadband firm to bring ultrafast fibre broadband capable of hitting speeds of 52.5Gbps. And while it has been made clear that these are optimal speeds only achieved by certain customers in the apartment complex where the trial has been carried out, it is an indication that the implementation of internet access operating at multi-gigabit speeds is both possible and practical.

South Korea is already ahead of the game when it comes to fibre optic broadband deployment. But within the next three years it is intending to ensure that every premises is able to get online at speeds of at least 1Gbps, which puts the UK’s broadband goals to shame.

A combination of massive investment and a high population density has enabled South Korea to forge ahead with the task of creating a world class broadband infrastructure which is the envy of many other nations. Furthermore, Wi-Fi routers will need to be adapted to ensure that they can make the most of the bandwidth which is being made available to them via fixed line connectivity, both in business and domestic environments where wireless devices are fast becoming ubiquitous.