‘Gigabit Wi-Fi’ promises higher wireless speeds—but these will come at a cost

gigabit-wi-fiProviders of wireless access points and other equipment have started to release products that conform with a next-generation standard, called “gigabit Wi-Fi,” that has the potential to be up to four times as fast as the current 802.11n technology.

The new technology, 802.11ac, is designed to relieve network congestion by increasing speed limits to more than 1 gigabit per second and moving to a new highway, from the congested lanes of the 2.4-gigahertz frequency band to a more open 5-gigahertz spectrum.

The changes should mean that wireless routers and access points will be able to accommodate more devices at one time and provide better coverage throughout a school building or office space. In areas crowded with other electronics, the 5 GHz spectrum also offers the promise of less interference, meaning connections shouldn’t randomly drop.

(Next page: What experts say about the future of Wi-Fi)