Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac brings new advances in Wi-Fi® performance

Expanded features bring higher performance, speed, and capacity to Wi-Fi networks

Austin, TX, June 29, 2016 – Wi-Fi Alliance® is expanding Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ ac to include new features that provide a higher-performance mobility experience. New “wave 2” features enable Wi-Fi® to more efficiently handle high-bandwidth applications from an increasing number of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other consumer electronics devices simultaneously connected to Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac delivers greater network capacity and multi-gigabit speeds to benefit consumers, service providers, and enterprises.

Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) is among the most  anticipated new features of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac, allowing more devices to operate simultaneously on the same network without sacrificing speed or performance. In addition to increased network capacity enabled with MU-MIMO, devices supporting the full set of new features are capable of achieving up to three times the speed of devices supporting only original Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac features. The newly introduced features are:

  • MU-MIMO: Networks with MU-MIMO are capable of multitasking by sending data to multiple devices at once rather than one-at-a-time, improving overall network efficiency and throughput
  • 160 MHz channels: Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac increases the maximum channel bandwidth from 80 MHz channels to 160 MHz channels, potentially doubling transmission speeds
  • Four spatial streams: Device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac now includes support for four spatial streams, up from three spatial streams.
  • Extended 5 GHz channel support: Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac encourages device support for a greater number of available channels in 5 GHz. Support for additional channels makes more efficient use of available spectrum and reduces interference and congestion by minimizing the number of networks operating on overlapping channels.

“Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac gives users a greater experience in dense environments by maximizing Wi-Fi network resources, providing a richer set of features, and enabling the full potential of the technology,” said Andrew Zignani, research analyst, ABI Research. “Wi-Fi Alliance assists in the proliferation of certified products into the market, and we expect an increasing number of data-intensive devices to support the new features for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac that will benefit device end users through this certification process.”  

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac was the first version of Wi-Fi to break the gigabit barrier, accelerating the shift to greater utilization of the 5 GHz band. Now, more than 65 percent of devices are dual-band, operating in both 2.4 and 5 GHz. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED interoperability certification program will increase product support for newly supported features from a wide variety of mobile devices and access points, and 96 percent of devices will be dual-band by 2020. Access points supporting new features are expected to dominate the market within the next five years.

“In today’s world, people have more Wi-Fi devices per person and per household, and those devices require significantly more bandwidth,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Alliance updated the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program to meet increasing user demands and to stay ahead of emerging applications, while preserving interoperability.”

The first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac products to support new features and which comprise the test bed for interoperability certification are:

  • Broadcom BCM94709R4366AC
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8964
  • MediaTek MT7615 AP Reference Design and MT6632 STA Reference Design
  • Qualcomm IPQ8065 802.11ac 4-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router
  • Quantenna QSR1000 4x4 802.11ac Wave 2 Chipset Family

For more information and a list of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac products, please visit:  www.wi-ficertifiedac.com.

Industry response to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac with wave 2 features:

“The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program, based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard, has been an unmitigated success for billions of Wi-Fi users worldwide. The program delivered a combination of very high throughput, improved rate-vs-range, and interoperability, while continuing the well-established trend to higher capacity 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum. The next wave of 802.11ac technology is here, offering even higher network efficiency and up to twice the throughput. Broadcom is ecstatic our BCM94709R4366AC access point and station platform has been selected for the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac wave 2 test bed.” - Clint W. Brown,  Broadcom Director, Wireless Combo Connectivity Group

“Cisco has always been proud to be among the industry leaders in wireless technology. That’s why it’s so important to have the backing of Wi-Fi Alliance to help spur the wireless community forward in adopting the 802.11ac Wave 2 features. Wi-Fi Alliance understands that 802.11ac Wave 2 products are an integral part of the next wave of connectivity and will ultimately make communication faster, easier and far more efficient for customers.” - John Apostolopoulos, VP/CTO for Enterprise Segment,  Cisco Systems

"As one of the vendors shipping 802.11ac wave 1 access points that were certified in the original Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program in 2013, we are excited to support new wave 2 features in our Aruba 330/320/310 Series access points. HPE/Aruba believes in the importance of product interoperability to assure our customers' success. We are committed to submitting products to Wi-Fi Alliance for evaluation and certification under the second release of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program." - Christian Gilby, Director of Product Marketing at  Aruba, a  Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

“Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac is an important certification program that enables Wi-Fi to bring gigabit access to users. The new Wave 2 features with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac will provide customers with a remarkable end user experience in a broad variety of applications." - Dr. Wen Tong, CTO,  Huawei Wireless

“Imagination’s IP technologies are at the heart of many devices, including mobile handsets, tablets, TVs, set-top boxes, and connected cars, that support high-throughput applications such as Ultra HD and 4K video and multimedia streaming. We are already seeing strong demand for new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac wave 2 features in building the next wave of connected devices for such applications. We will support the new wave 2 features in our Ensigma RPUs, which provide highly scalable and flexible connectivity IP solutions.” - Richard Edgar, Director of Communications Technology, Imagination Technologies

“Intel is glad to see Wi-Fi Alliance continue to advance Wi-Fi technology with the launch of the second wave of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac program, adding features such as downlink MU-MIMO to improve network data capacity in dense environments such as enterprise networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED solutions lead to broad industry adoption and pave the way for interoperability and improved user experience.” - Eric Mclaughlin, Connectivity Product Line Manager,  Intel

“Today’s announcement marks another great milestone for Wi-Fi technology. As the demand for wireless connectivity continues to grow in our daily lives, the second wave of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac brings to the table another major step-up in terms of Wi-Fi speed, performance, and network capacity. Marvell is proud to be a leading provider of wireless technology by offering a full suite of MU-MIMO capable wave 2 chipsets, delivering best-in-class performance across multiple ecosystems. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Wi-Fi Alliance to enhance today’s user experiences with cutting edge technology.” - Kevin Tang, AVP of Marketing, Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at  Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.

“Consumers today expect to use multiple devices on a constant basis without any connectivity issues. At MediaTek, we’re committed to delivering great user experiences by empowering smartphones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics, enabling seamless, cross-device connections. We are proud to see our technology once again embraced by Wi-Fi Alliance for the latest interoperability testing based on the IEEE 802.11ac program. We have included the Wave 2 features in our products and are working with our OEM partners to bring enhanced network capability to markets.” - SR Tsai, General Manager of Home Smart Device Business Unit,  MediaTek

“Qualcomm Technologies has led the industry on 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO with over 100 commercial devices available to date. Today’s announcement will further accelerate commercial adoption, delivering an enhanced Wi-Fi experience in our increasingly congested, connected world. We are proud of our engineering team’s accomplishments to have led this new program, be included in the interoperability test bed and are committed to continue leading innovation within Wi-Fi Alliance in the areas of network capacity improvement and superior user experience.” - Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity,  Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.  

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