With the 802.11ac standard expected to ratify in 2013, early product releases are heating up. With any new wireless technology comes confusion, so I went to a couple of heavy hitters in the industry to get their take on what we should all know about the coming of 11ac.
Chris Spain currently serves as VP of product marketing at Cisco Systems. Andrew vonNagy is a senior Wi-Fi architect with Aerohive Networks. I use and support gear from both companies. Though Spain and vonNagy come from different places on the WLAN vendor spectrum, both sing similar songs when it comes to 11ac. Each provided a slew of input on my questions, which I have condensed for brevity.
Q. What will 11ac mean on day one, and down the road, to the SMB and enterprise spaces?
Spain: There won't be a lot of 11ac clients in the beginning, and both clients and infrastructure are needed to fully leverage the anticipated benefits of 11ac. The new standard will be evolutionary, with two waves involved. Out of the gate, the increases in performance over 11n will not be tremendously impressive. The second wave -- which will require a hardware refresh -- gets far more interesting.