WiFi Standards Explained

There’s nothing like WiFi. Today, we use it for just about everything. It is hard to imagine a time before it. But what is more exciting than the past is the future of WiFi, so we will give you the dish in our “WiFi Standards Explained” article.

This system facilitates wireless communication between smart devices like speakers, computer, cell phones, and more within a certain distance. With numerous advancements in WiFi standards, transmission speeds and capacity, it is difficult to understand what numbers mean what. Well, we will break it all down in our “WiFi Standards Explained” article.

WiFi Standards Explained, New Speeds, What It All Means

If you are ever looking up network standards you’ll spot the number 802 which is used for networking standards. WiFi is marked by 802.11. Each variation of the WiFi is indicated by one or two letters (i.e. 802.11a or 802.11ac). Currently, standards range between a, b, g, n, and ac while developments are being made for an ad, af, and ah standard.

As Android Authority points out, “to help ensure compatibility with different pieces of hardware and networks, you’ll often find that products support multiple, if not all of the standards at the same time.”

WiFi Standards Explained

What was seen as the most common form WiFi standard in 1999 was 802.11b which hit a max speed of 11 Mbits/s. However in 2003, 802.11g was released operating at the same frequency (2.4GHz), but at a much faster rate – 54 Mbits/s. Five years later we saw the n iteration, which increased speeds up to 150 Mbits/s. This also saw the launch of MIMO antennas, according to AA. “Speeds can theoretically reach up to 450 Mbit/s, depending on the number of antenna connections.” In 2013, 802.11ac was released handling a frequency of 5 GHZ at 800 Mbits/s.

What does this mean for the audio and audiophile community? Welp, these advancements are paving the way for new WiFi standards with higher frequencies and faster transfer rates giving WiFi networks the ability to process higher definition audio and video in their homes, like various speakers and televisions for a wireless multi-room speaker system. Yasssss! 

The ad iteration looks to be next and is said to handle a 60 GHz transmission frequency hitting a speed of 7 Gbits/s, which is incredible fast. But the trade off is a very small WiFi range. On the flip side, there the new ah standard which is said to be incredibly slow, but can reach up to 1 kilometer in distance. But meeting us back in the middle with what most of us would like to use will probably be the ah standard, designed for the Internet of Things (IoT). That being said, the range will be smaller touting speeds of speeds between 150 Kbit/s and 18 Mbit/s, perfect for the IoT. Lastly, there is said to be called “SuperWiFi” also known as 802.11af. This standard will use “s television spectrum frequencies between 54 MHz and 790 MHz, potentially making this the longest range WiFi technology yet, with miles of coverage.” Woah!

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