Gartner Research

Where, When and How to Deploy 802.11ac

Published: 10 December 2013

ID: G00252019

Analyst(s): Jim Berenbaum


The 802.11ac standard enables the next-generation WLAN. Its capabilities support business demands and BYOD. Wireless designs must be properly implemented, and impacts on enterprise network infrastructures must be addressed. Embracing 802.11ac at the right time will lead to its cost-effective use.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • The 802.11ac Landscape
    • Capabilities of 802.11ac
    • Maximizing Wireless Performance
    • New Spectrum Considerations
    • Power Consumption
    • Product Differentiation
  • Design Practices
    • WLAN Deployment
    • Network Infrastructure
    • Client Dependencies and Issues
  • Approaching Deployment
    • Product Maturity
    • 802.11n vs. 802.11ac Wave 1 or Wave 2
    • Deployment Approaches
    • Supporting 2.4GHz Clients
    • Wired Network Pre-positioning
    • Mobile Device Selection
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

The Details

  • Modulation
  • Modulation Coding Scheme
  • Spectrum
  • MIMO, Beamforming and Spatial Streams
    • Beamforming
    • MIMO Spatial Multiplexing
    • MU-MIMO Spatial Multiplexing

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