In the last decade, different wireless technologies grouped under the trade name ofWiFihave been giving us more and more features,more speed and better coveragereplacing in many applications to annoying cables and providing more freedom of movement to our digital activities inside and outside the home.
Early versions that were barely able to pass smoothly a few tens of megabytes per second have moved to new more powerful standards that have revolutionized the domestic sector to be incorporated into all kinds ofmultimedia devicesbeyond the computer.How is the scenario currently?Which versions will arrive in the next few monthsready to revolutionize our local connections?
WiFi AC, to conquer the gigabit
In late 2012 and remote we start hearing the merits of a new iteration ofWiFi AC, under the protocol IEEE 802.11acreach our homes ready to revolutionize the market and solve once and for all the problems of saturationprevious versions(such as WiFi N).
In the summer of 2013 theWiFi Alliancebegan certifyingdevices under theWiFi standard ACand has since come to our gadgets in bulk, in various versions, multiplying the capacity of connection routers, phones, laptops, televisions, stereos, media centers, etc.
One of its main tasks was toaddress congestionthat public band of 2.4 GHz was dragging for years due to both existing and other household appliances such as cordless phones, remote controls, microwave, WiFi networks etc.WiFi AC was outlined and a system designed towork on 5 GHzto maintain compatibility with previous versions and be able to work simultaneously on both bands.
What speeds can get?The first specification initially showed a combination of both bands for a maximum of three data streams of 433 Mbps, which involveda total of 1.3 Gbps.That is, first we overcame the gigabit per second and we were able to download or watch streamingmovies Full HD or 4Ksmoothly.
The 802.11ac-2013 update will take off this year and offers maximum speeds of 7 Gbps
However, in January 2014, the IEEEapproveda new version of the protocol, known as802.11ac-2013, revising certain aspects and introduced the use of 160 MHz channels, both contiguous and non-contiguous in the 5 GHz band, reachingtheoretical maximum speeds of 7 Gbps.
To do this using new modulation techniques QAM 256 a beam forming also improved technology directs energy to the target device with up to 8 simultaneous channels or streams andtechnical MU MIMO(Multi-User Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) supporting up 4 simultaneous transmissions from different users.
Considerable improvements have not yet managed to be fully implemented in existing home routers, but are slowly coming and probablytake off this 2016, even partially, with high-end equipment.In fact,already announcedmodels begin to be sold this year and approaching the peak of 7 Gbps.
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WiFi AD, the new king at short distances
Officially approved in 2013, it was not until this past CES when they finally have been given the go-ahead for the arrival on the market of wirelessIEEE 802.11adhanda mobile terminalsupports based on the platformSnapdragon 820 Qualcommand thefirst home routerintegrating the new version of the protocol.
WiFi AD, developed and approved in collaboration with the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig), promises to significantly improveshort distance transmissionsbetween our mobile handsets and other equipment connected home making use of thefrequency band 60 GHz(typically between 57 and 66 GHz).
WiFi AD is designed for short-distance transmission of large amounts of information
It is a standard designed forshort-range communications(between 5 and 10 meters) with direct line of sight with no obstructions such as walls or ceilings, as the frequency band used is not able to transfer them.
For this reason, it is not designed as a system connecting different devices smart home or to bring the Internet to every room in the house, but rather as a direct means to transmitlarge volumes of data over short distancesbetween devices such as computers, phones, tablets, and television network drives.
One of the possible potential uses will be in thewireless transmission of uncompressed video. That is, WiFi AD could become the system that finally allows us to dispense once and for all of the data cables such as HDMI, between the player and the smart display of the room.To do the first implementations will be able to achieve transfer ratesof 4.6 Gbps depart, before moving on to 7 Gbps.
WiFi speeds AD depart from between 4.6 and 7 Gbps this year but in the near future could reach 100 Gbps.
Later, with future iterations and usingmultiple antennasand channels and other similar technologies to those already used in WiFi N could be overcome in a few yearsfrom 80 to 100 Gbpsas peak velocities.
The next area of interest is found in themulti-device direct communication.WiFi AD allow the transmission of high-speed data with low latency andcollaboration in complex computational tasksbetween computers that are in the same room to keep data synchronized in real time.
It is also appropriate to improvepublic wireless access pointsto be installed in leisure centers, buildings, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, airports, stations, etc.Its greater speed and capacity to support more users in the same space will improve the services offered to whoever is in radius less than 10 meters and approach new applications likemultimedia kiosksfor quick downloading content in malls and museums.
WiFi Halow, conquering the Internet of Things
The latest version of WiFi has beenofficially presentedthis month of January in Las Vegas with the name Halow, although formally it is the802.11ah protocol, and is intended toreplace or supplement a Bluetoothconnection as system objects the Internet of things.
To do so puts his sights not on the maximum speed, but in thelatency, consumption and radio coverageindoors than enhanced by the use of900 MHz band(to be seen how they will implement in countries where this band is for 3G mobile communications).According to the WiFi Alliance, the scopes indoors willdouble the current WiFi connections, with more robust and able to deal smoothly with walls and physical barriers links.
WiFi Halow is designed for low-speed communications of objects connected
It will also work in the bands 2.4 and 5 GHz for compatibility and although it has not yet clarified what connection speeds will provide, it is known to bewell below the current standard WiFi N or AC, as they aim not it is to transfer large amounts of data but keep signaling the connected objects.
That is, it is designed tointerconnect hundreds of sensors, network equipment, wearables, home automation systems, lighting, security, etc.we will soon have many smart homes and later, if you need more bandwidth on time use another version of WiFi with more capacity.
When will the market?For the WiFi Alliance it has said it will start certifying products with WiFi Halow from 2018, so there is still time to have at home working.
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Summary and key ideas
It is time to review the basic ideas surrounding the three previously mentioned wireless standards, each with their applications, advantages and disadvantages.For starters we have aWiFi AC, developed for the transmission of high speed data from all types of multimedia, mobile, tablet and computer equipment in any room of the house atgigabit speeds.
The following isWiFi AD, which is presented not as a substitute for AC, but rather as a supplement that will help in high speed transmission for short distancesbetween 7 and 100 Gbps, in the same room and probably as a new connection system wireless media.
Finally we haveHalow WiFi, the standard he wants to break into the Internet of things when it comes to interfacesensors and automation equipmentbut with low speed powerful and stability.