IEEE 802.11 – what's next?

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Published on 23.03.2017

Despite the growing speculation about the rapid fade of IEEE 802.11 technology, IEEE organization continues to develop too regularly more and more new standards, which are used in the latest solutions of the leading manufacturers of telecommunications equipment. So, besides IEEE 802.11 n which is still quite popular, IEEE 802.11 ac and IEEE 802.11 ad become more widespread.

IEEE 802.11 ac and IEEE 802.11 ad

IEEE 802.11 ac standard as well as IEEE 802.11 a, unlike their predecessors IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, operates in the 5 GHz range and in addition to 20 and 40 MHz standard channel width, supports the extension up to 80 and 160 MHz. This, along with using up to 8 MU-MIMO antennas and QAM-256 modulation, theoretically allows to reach a rate of about 1 Gbit/s (up to 6 Gbit/s 8xMU-MIMO).

IEEE 802.11 ad standard operates in the 2.4, 5 and 60 GHz frequency bandwidths, using QAM-64 modulation, allows up to 7 Gbit/s data transmission rates over short distances (within the room). At the beginning of 2016 the world's first Wi-Fi router with 802.11ad protocol support – Talon AD7200 – was presented by TP-LINK company at CES 2016 exhibition.

IEEE 802.11 ah

If the development of IEEE 802.11 ac and IEEE 802.11 ad standards pursued the aim of data transmission rate increase, the IEEE 802.11 ah standard presented in 2016 was designed to meet the growing needs of a highly-loaded network for Internet of Things (IoT). The technology works in a 900 MHz range, which enables to reduce energy consumption significantly and provide the connection for more devices. This is important in terms of the IoT concept support. In addition, IEEE 802.11 ah has the coverage radius approximately two times larger in a comparison with the used today IEEE 802.11 technologies. The maximum achievable data transmission rate is up to 347 Mbit/s using a 16 MHz channel width and QAM-256 modulation. It should be noted that technology has been developed as a competitor of Bluetooth 5, while having the advantage of a wider coverage radius.

IEEE 802.11 ax and IEEE 802.11 ay

The IEEE 802.11 ax and IEEE 802.11 ay standards are expected to be approved soon, which are essentially the improved IEEE 802.11 ad standard. Thus, it is expected that the IEEE 802.11 ax will enable to achieve a 10 Gbit/s data transmission rate, working at 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. In this case, OFDMA method will be added to the MIMO and MU-MIMO in order to improve the spectrum efficiency. Furthermore, the application of higher order modulation QAM-1024 is expected.

IEEE 802.11 ay technology will operate at a 60 GHz frequency with a 20 – 40 Gb/s transmission rate and 300 – 500 m coverage radius.



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