Gartner Research

Enterprises Should Optimize the Timing of 802.11ac Adoption

Published: 16 September 2013

ID: G00255400

Analyst(s): Tim Zimmerman

Summary

To optimize wireless LAN price/performance, most clients can carefully time their deployment of 802.11ac technology, the wireless industry's newest high-speed standard, which will be released in two waves of functionality between 2014 and 2016.

Table Of Contents
  • Impacts

Analysis

Impacts and Recommendations

  • IEEE 802.11ac will provide enterprises with higher performance and the ability to communicate to multiple clients in the same coverage area at the same time, but implementations should be carefully timed to control costs
  • MU-MIMO addresses performance and scalability problems posed by highly dense environments, but won't be available to enterprises until the later (Wave 2) 802.11ac chipsets, available by 1Q16
  • The new standard operates only at 5GHz; therefore, enterprise clients that require 2.4GHz for wireless connectivity will still need to utilize 802.11n
  • Clients should migrate to 802.11ac at their own pace, since most individual end users' average connectivity needs will remain at 5 Mbps through 2016

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