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5 Business Scenarios for Wave 2 802.11ac

January 8, 2019

3 Min Read
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It has been a couple years since IEEE standardized 802.11ac Wave 2 and manufacturers offered network equipment that operates on the standard. With the standardization of 802.11ax, Wave 2’s MU-MIMO technologies stand to get a further boost. Here, we’ll discuss several business drivers and trends that brought about the need for the functional enhancements of 802.11ac Wave 2, and further illustrate how these help small and midsize business networks improve how they conduct business.

Technical benefits introduced by 802.11ac Wave 2

  • Increases data transfer speed up to 2.34 Gbps in the 5 GHz band – Benefits include superior user experience when using latency-sensitive applications, such as streaming content and web conferencing.

  • Multi-user multiple-input multiple output (MU-MIMO) – Improves antenna technology to facilitate an all-wireless network. Separates available bandwidth into spatial streams shared equally by endpoints on the network.

  • Support for 160 MHz channel widths – Increases peak performance and bandwidth for wireless APs and endpoints. Useful only in situations where the network is idle, or for transferring large files over point-to-point WAN links.

  • A fourth spatial stream – Having more streams improves wireless performance at greater distances by supporting four transmitting and four receiving antennas.

  • Additional channels on the 5 GHz band – When Wi-Fi operates in more and wider channels, you will be able to provide additional bandwidth across your wireless network. The 5 GHz band supports more users, devices and applications with Wave 2 equipment.

5 scenarios where Wave 2 equipment adds value

1. Internet gaming cafes

The wireless network is critical for operating an internet cafe where visitors will be gaming. You will have to mitigate many users that each require a good deal of bandwidth to play games across a wireless network. When gaming, each user needs to transmit and receive data individually and simultaneously.  Here, MU-MIMO routers and APs speeds up data transfers for each player to accommodate the throughput needed for lag-free gaming.

2. Digital creative firms

For creatives working in professional services, a BYOD culture prevails and users connect almost exclusively to a wireless network. It’s not uncommon for 50 to 100 users to access the network for cloud-based application to work on videography, engineering design rendering, graphic design, web development and more—all while sharing office peripherals. MU-MIMO APs provide the robust bandwidth necessary for collaborative use of creative applications and media files.

3. Retail showrooms and exhibition spaces

The modern retail showroom presents a rich digital experience. Producers create interactive exhibits in which streaming content is broadcast over a wireless network to various screens and digital displays. Often, users can view additional content using their mobile devices. The distance between the servers that store and play the digital files and the physical location where viewers consume the media presents an immense challenge for the wireless network. The additional spatial stream in Wave 2 802.11ac facilitates those types of tasks.

4. Conference and event hospitality

Conference attendees have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth, and little patience for a slow network. It can be difficult to balance the needs of their mobile devices with the equally important needs of the backroom production equipment that often connects over a wireless network. Wave 2 technology helps mitigate capacity and connectivity concerns by providing extra channels for devices to connect on the 5 Ghz band.

5. Connected warehouse operations

Logistics service providers add value by connecting their warehouse spaces over a wireless network. The workload often includes IP-based building automation, surveillance, guest network for clientele, and bandwidth for wireless point-of-sale and barcode scanners and printers. The number of different devices connecting to a warehouse wireless network, and the expansive space it needs to cover, present challenges that Wave 2 802.11ac APs are well-equipped to handle.

Anthony Pham is Senior Product Manager, Linksys.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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