Blog Post

Check out the future of Wi-Fi (gigabit speeds)

Faster in-home Wi-Fi is only one or two years away, according to Craig Barratt, president of Qualcomm Atheros, who said the next generation Wi-Fi standard could deliver in-home speeds of a gigabit. During an on-camera interview at our Mobilize conference on Tuesday, Barratt explained how Wi-Fi would soon get better and faster. This is important, as the technology is the work-horse of home networking.

As the former CEO of Atheros, a Wi-Fi chip company Qualcomm purchased this year, Barratt is a big believer in Wi-Fi. It’s not only a convenient means to offload cellular data traffic and helping consumers avoid depleting their precious mobile megabytes, but it’s also increasingly important inside home networks for delivering media such as music and movies to more devices like smartphones, tablets, Roku boxes and even alarm clocks.

But streaming HD movies requires more bandwidth than some networks can handle, and as picture quality improves bandwidth requirements will escalate. At that point home networks already carrying Skype calls, web traffic and multiple movie streams may grind to a halt. Enter Wi-Fi 802.11ac, which will only operate in the 5 GHz spectrum and can deliver gigabit speeds. It will also ship with Wi-Fi Direct peer-to-peer technology and be backwards compatible with existing Wi-Fi devices.

As I point out in the video below, the main thing that mars the excitement of this advance is that my home network doesn’t deliver gigabit or even 100 Mbps speeds, which means I won’t actually need a new 802.11ac router anytime soon.

6 Responses to “Check out the future of Wi-Fi (gigabit speeds)”

  1. FastRabbit

    When you are streaming between devices in the home you would like higher speeds. Not all home network traffic is going in/out of your home through the ISP pipe. What happens when you have one person streaming hd iOS5 to appleTV and another streaming hd movie from computer to xbox360 and another streaming from laptop to another tv and then 2-3 people surfing the web on a 20mbps ISP connection?

  2. I was amazed at how poor the technology is in the US. Living in Canada, we have some really high speeds for internet capabilities, as well as the functionality for gigabit wireless. We have 250 mbps UNLIMITED download speeds, currently available and we JUST switched to an all digital signal, countrywide, as of September 1st. The same iPhone4 and iPad were easily 4-5x slower on a US 3G network than on a similar 3G network in Canada. I’ve never understood why US providers don’t want to compete with the rest of the world. But, I guess, most people in the US won’t complain about something they don’t know about.

  3. What about 802.22? I would love to see what side of that debate these guys are on. Whitespace is a far better bet than Wifi at this point, and I hope our elected morons do not screw it up. No line of sight issues. 60 mile range. What is not to love?