Gigabit Wi-Fi Offers Faster Speeds and Better Reliability
More robust Wi-Fi connections are changing the way businesses interact with consumers and employees.
Thanks to new Wi-Fi technology, multiple users can stream high-quality videos simultaneously on the same Wi-Fi network. At work, employees are able to work away from their desk and communicate through high-definition video and audio conversations using mobile devices or laptops. All of this requires a lot of bandwidth, and is only possible with the use of Gigabit Wi-Fi technology.
Overview of Gigabit Wi-Fi
Gigabit Wi-Fi, which uses the 802.11ac standard, is many-times faster than 802.11a/b/g standards and is three-times faster than 802.11n. It can reach speeds of up to 1,300 megabits per second, while 802.11n can only reach up to 450 megabits per second, and 802.11 a/b/g only up to 54 megabits per second.
Gigabit, like 802.11n, runs on a frequency of 5 GHz; older technologies such as 802.11b/g operate at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. The chief benefit of a higher frequency is faster speeds and a stronger signal because few other devices operate at 5 GHz; however, a lower frequency offers an extended range and a lower likelihood of having the signal interrupted by obstructions such as a wall or furniture. Nevertheless, Gigabit technology is able to reduce the occurrence of signal interruption, despite operating at 5 GHz.
The Benefits of Gigabit Wi-Fi
Gigabit Wi-Fi offers more than just faster speeds: it introduces the new concept of smart Wi-Fi, often referred to as ‘Beamforming’, which directs wireless signals toward Wi-Fi-connected devices. The technology is able to detect which devices are using Wi-Fi and direct wireless resources at the device rather than circumferentially like traditional wireless signals. Each connected device is sent an individual signal, resulting in less signal loss and wave distortion.
Overall, the advantages of Gigabit over 802.11n are: 3-times faster speeds, fewer lost signals, higher power efficiency, enhanced security, better reliability when streaming video, and higher mobile Wi-Fi bandwidth. The quality of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are enhanced when using Gigabit Wi-Fi, which provides streaming performance similar to that of wired Gigabit connections. Furthermore, Gigabit-ready routers are equipped to handle the ever-growing number of smart devices that can connect to the internet, including appliances, thermostats, security systems, and more.
Outlook for Gigabit Wi-Fi
Nearly all new mobile and computing devices released since the end of 2013 are 802.11ac-ready, which means that there is a large and growing supply of devices capable of using the new 802.11ac standard. And according to Infonetics Research, nearly one-third of Wi-Fi enabled routers shipped in 2015 will be Gigabit-ready – up from 2% in 2013 and 14% in 2014.
Gigabit Wi-Fi is being used to increase the speeds of public access Wi-Fi networks. Google is working on a project to create communications hubs all over the city (starting in NYC), providing free Gigabit Wi-Fi access. This will complement its Project Fi initiative, which offers access to different 4G LTE networks simultaneously. Clearly, the Wi-Fi landscape is changing, and this is largely due to Gigabit Wi-Fi technology.
Want to Learn More?
For a more detailed discussion on how Gigabit Wi-Fi technology and other trends are reshaping business, please read our White Paper: Hotspot 2.0, Gigabit Wi-Fi and Business Wi-Fi: How Trends in Wi-Fi are Shaping Business.
 Infonetics Research (2014). Carrier Wi-Fi Equipment: Biannual Worldwide and Regional Market Share, Size and Forecasts: 2nd Edition.