Skip to main content

What is 802.11ac Wireless LANs?

September 10, 2014

The unprecedented level and scope of enterprise network user mobility has given rise to more bandwidth requirements that cannot adequately be met by 802.11n. The new IEEE standard 802.11ac, which has become the leading WLAN standard, is meant to specifically address those needs. The question for many is what exactly is the new 802.11ac in relation to wireless LANS?

On a purely technical level, EEE 802.11ac provides the high-throughput necessary to wireless local area networks (WLANs) on the 5 GHz band. In multi-station WLAN scenarios, the expected throughput is equal to at least 1 gigabit per second and a single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s).

As a standard built upon 802.11n, 802.11ac provides even wider RF bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) spatial streams (as many as eight), downlink multi-user MIMO (up to four clients), and high-density modulation (up to 256-QAM).

802.11ac Wireless LAN

In practical terms, the 802.11ac standard provides higher data rates and bit density per packet as well as higher data rates, capacity, spectrum efficiency, and reliability per AP/client link. In short, 802.11ac features enable Wi-Fi solutions to meet today’s demand for high capacity and high quality mobile real-time applications like HD video and voice, which are vital to today’s wireless LANs.

These new capacities can manifest themselves in an ability to provide high quality and high throughput audio and video for a wide variety of WLANs scenarios. These can include post-secondary campus scenarios as well as manufacturing floor automation or healthcare enterprise systems or multi-building enterprise campuses just to name a few.

Because of the new standard, leading enterprise WLAN solution providers like Aruba Networks can now provide contextual data that increases the efficiency and broadens the usability of the Wi-Fi network. This data can include user identity, device type, application usage, location, and time-of-day to enforce policies to meet security and compliance needs of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios.

As BYOD reaches a level of ubiquity in a variety of business, educational, institutional and commercial environments, WLANs will be taxed to provide greater throughput and data access to more and more users. The challenge for 802.11ac is to meet those functional demands in this ever-growing wireless environment, which will only accelerate in the coming years.

Related Blogs

October 29, 2013

Don’t Create Any More WLANs than Absolutely Needed

We frequently discuss with customer’s the importance of not creating “SSID sprawl”. Don’t create any more WLANs than you absolutely need. In today’s ...

See Details

October 31, 2013

Conserving your Wireless LAN’s most precious resource – RF Airtime

Many of our clients have begun experiencing BYOD issues, not because they made a policy choice to support or not support BYOD, but because of inaction...

See Details

February 14, 2017

IoT and the Impact on Wireless Networks

Traditionally, wireless networks were considered a luxury, as well as highly unreliable and unsecure. Over the past 10 years, wireless networks have e...

See Details

How Can We Help?

Let us know what you need, and we will have an Optiv professional contact you shortly.

Privacy Policy

Related Insights

July 21, 2015

Network Security Solutions

Learn how we help protect your environment while maintaining connectivity.

See Details

April 19, 2010

Using WIPS in Wireless Networks – Protection and Performance

We are often asked by customers about the relative value of implementing WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Prevention/Protection Systems) in their enterprise n...

See Details

August 31, 2016

No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan

In the information security community, we talk often about incident response plans and the need to conduct regular tabletop exercises. Where we fail i...

See Details

Stay in the Know

For all the latest cybersecurity and Optiv news, subscribe to our blog and connect with us on Social.


Join our Email List

We take your privacy seriously and promise never to share your email with anyone.

Stay Connected

Find cybersecurity Events in your area.