The advancements will come in the form of two new technologies—802.11ac for whole-home routers using the 5GHz band, and 802.11ad for short-distance, high-speed transfers over the 60GHz band—that are at different stages of development, with the latter being on a slower track. The WiFi Alliance expects to certify 802.11ac products in early 2013, but the timeline for 802.11ad is a lot more iffy. The soonest 802.11ad products would be certified is late 2013, and even then the first certifications may not include routers or modems, WiFi Alliance Marketing Director Kelly Davis-Felner told Ars.
Many of the use cases for 7Gbps connections over the 60GHz band will be point-to-point, like streaming video from a handheld device to a TV or transferring tons of data without a cable. The ultimate goal is to have 60GHz connections co-exist alongside 2.4GHz and 5GHz ones in tri-band routers, but it’s looking like the first 60GHz products won’t include access points.The WiFi Alliance has decided that point-to-point connections will be enough to get started—routers will come, but they’re not crucial enough to hold up certification.
Despite the fact that 802.11ac products have barely even penetrated the market up to this point, we now have another standard to keep our eyes on: 802.11ad. No, that’s not some odd date format talking about the year 802, but rather an upcoming wireless standard that’s said to be more revolutionary than evolutionary – the latter of which 802.11ac is. Due in 2014, the 802.11ad standard will open up a new band, 60GHz, which will allow for transmission speeds far greater than the typical home network will offer – up to 7Gbit/s. It’s important to note; that’s just a theoretical maximum, and not likely what we’ll see right out of the gate.