When it comes to technological advancements, there are always peaks and valleys.
Wi-Fi seems to have been stuck in one of those valleys for quite some time, but on Wednesday, the Wi-Fi Alliance unveiled a list of features that it will require new products to support in order for them to be part of the second wave of its certification program, coming later this year.
The first (and most important) new feature is known as Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO). Despite the confusing name, MU-MIMO is actually relatively simple — it gives routers the ability to send data to multiple devices at once, rather than sending data to each of them one at a time.
Other additions to the certification program include doubling maximum channel bandwidth from 80 MHz to 160 MHz, support for an additional spatial stream and even more available channels in 5 GHz.
“In today’s world, people have more Wi-Fi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Alliance updated the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program to meet increasing user demands and to stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability.”
Here’s a list of the first Wi-Fi Certified ac “wave 2” products:
- Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC
- Marvell Avastar A88W8964
- MediaTek MT7615 AP Reference Design and MT6632 STA Reference Design
- Qualcomm IPQ8065 802.11ac 4-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router
- Quantenna QSR1000 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 Chipset Family
We should start seeing wave 2 devices hit store shelves within the coming weeks, but it will be a few years before they take over the market.