High enterprise mobility adoption to boost 802.11ac and ad

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 17, 2013

smartphone adoption

As the number of mobile devices and the deployment of cloud based enterprise networks continue to scale at a dramatic rate, experts believe that they must reconsider how they provision, secure and control enterprise computing resources and information access with newer networking standards. The 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards from the IEEE - the newest additions to the 802.11 portfolio that combine the freedom of wireless with the capabilities of Gigabit Ethernet have already created a lot of stir in the industry. Both these standards are said to be much faster and more scalable versions of 802.11n and its other predecessors. Researchers believe with the emergence of more mobile technologies and gadgets, both these technologies will witness a considerable growth in 2013 and over the next 5 years or so, will become even more significant in the world of enterprise computing.

While 802.11ac, dubbed as 5G Wi-Fi, promises speedy wireless connections, better range, improved reliability and power consumption, 802.11ad standard promises multi-gigabit wireless connections speeds. According to a new ABI Research, the growth of 802.11ac and ad will occur in very different ways. 802.11ac will explode into devices, including smartphones, from the start while 802.11ad will see a more modest and staggered growth now and then improve later.

Smartphones to drive 802.11ac

802.11ac is being pushed into smartphones by key carriers’ device requirements that are in sync with 802.11ac hotspot plans for more robust Wi-Fi offloading. “The push towards 11ac adoption overpowers the minor additional cost of dual-band 802.11n/802.11ac chipsets that will be used in smartphones,” states Philip Solis research director of ABI. “Perhaps surprising even to industry insiders, we will likely see 2X2 802.11ac implementations in smartphones in a few years.”

The research finds the proportion of various 802.11ac-enabled products will remain relatively consistent from 2013 to 2018, with smartphones making up 40 per cent of those in 2013 and 46 per cent in 2018, where over 3.5 billion Wi-Fi chipsets with 802.11ac will ship. Researchers have observed that the Wi-Fi Alliance is just about to start certification of products using the protocol, yet its shipments have started and are already on track to distribute hundreds of millions this year, according to ABI. 802.11ac finally pushes Wi-Fi more towards the 5 GHz spectrum which is cleaner and permits for the much larger channel sizes that allow for greater speeds and capacity, believe researchers.

The push towards 11ac adoption overpowers the minor additional cost of dual-band 802.11n/802.11ac chipsets that will be used in smartphones.
-Philip Solis, Research Director of ABI

“With the growing quantity of content and devices at remote areas, hotspot and enterprise networks, 802.11ac Wi-Fi will quickly become the ‘must-have’ connectivity technology for mobile and consumer electronics devices and the networks that support them,” said Amir Faintuch, president, Qualcomm Atheros. He gives an example of the company’s newest offering - Qualcomm VIVE – whose dramatically enhanced capacity and performance, is enabling a new class of connected experiences to enterprises —virtually anywhere— that promise great viewing and sharing of rich content while conserving power and battery life.”

802.11ad is about “Wireless Office”

With its built-in support for traditional wired connections, like PCI-e, USB and HDMI, coupled with multi-Gbps data rates and a range of at least 10 meters, 802.11ad is likely to finally deliver on the promise of true cordless computing with the help of Bluetooth, as well as support a native Wi-Fi network for wireless Internet access 802.11ad will phase from larger to smaller products, starting from peripherals and larger non-handset mobile devices and shift to smaller and thinner devices over time. 802.11ad will make its way into smartphones in 2015, changing the proportion of 802.11ad-enabled products compared to prior to 2015, as per ABI.

 ABI also finds smartphones will account for nearly half of all 802.11ad-enabled products in 2018, though with less than half the volume in smartphones compared to 802.11ac. Even so, over 1.5 billion chipsets with 802.11ad will ship in 2018. 802.11ad pushes Wi-Fi into higher-speed, lower-power personal area networking that will be used simultaneously with other Wi-Fi protocols. Faintuch adds that as the complexity of Wi-Fi increases, businesses will head towards tri-band 802.11n-02.11ac-802.11ad chipsets to optimize the cost, size, and functionality i the coming years.