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Next-gen WiFi-AC ships in H2 2012, says Broadcom

rahul patel broadcomWe just had a discussion with Broadcom executives in San Francisco, and one of the many interesting topics was 802.11AC which is the next-generation WiFi. Today, the most advanced form of WiFi for consumers is 802.11N or WiFi-N.

According to Rahul Patel who is the VP of mobile and wireless at Broadcom, 802.11AC will show up in products in the second half of 2012, and this indicates that high-end 2012 Christmas gadgetry like laptops, set-top boxes and possibly tablets, may feature the updated WiFi standard. But what’s new about it?

In a nutshell, WiFi-AC is easier to setup, faster and will have greater range (up to a theoretical 200 meters/yards). That’s basically what everyone wants from their home wireless network, and WiFi-AC achieves this by using several technologies: First, it will use the 5GHz band, which is less crowded (for now) and therefore less prone to interferences. Secondly, it uses “beam forming”, which is a technique that lets the router direct the radio-waves in an optimum manner.

This sound really good to us, and we expect to see a relatively quick adoption of this standard as the installed-base of devices gets renewed. WiFi and USB have been two of the most successful technologies in terms of adoption, and with this new iteration, there’s nothing that indicates that this will be different with WiFi-AC.

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