CERTIFIED ac Begins. 802.11n Fading Fast?

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Tim Higgins

Wi-Fi Alliance logoThe Wi-Fi Alliance has started certifying draft 802.11ac products. And says 11n will essentially be dead in four years.

The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac certification program opened for business last week (June 11) and can handle 5 GHz draft 802.11ac only or dual-band ac / n products.

The first crop of CERTIFIED ac products that also form the test suite are:

  • Broadcom BCM4360 5G WiFi Single Chip MAC/PHY/Radio for Clients and Routers
  • Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8897 AP Reference Design
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8897 STA Reference Design
  • Mediatek Dual Band 802.11ac Reference Access Point
  • Mediatek Dual Band 802.11ac Reference STA
  • Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac 3-stream Dual-band, Dual-concurrent Router
  • Qualcomm® VIVE™ 802.11ac 3-stream, PCIe Client
  • Realtek RTL8197D+RTL8188AR+RTL8192CE AP/Router
  • Realtek RTL8812AE HMC card

A look at a Certificate for an ac CERTIFIED access point shows that the certification is being done against Draft 3.0 for 802.11ac. Will this change when the standard is released? CERTIFIED ac FAQ say that "If market conditions dictate, Wi-Fi Alliance will update the program toinclude additional features and ensure backward compatibility with previously certified devices".

Wi-Fi Certificate for Broadcom AP

Wi-Fi Certificate for Broadcom AP

The Alliance is predicting big things for dual-band ac products as shown in the graphic taken from its media deck.

11ac, 11ad kill off 11n

11ac, 11ad kill off 11n

The interesting points in this graphic, which is based on this ABI Research report, are:

  • Single-band n chipsets are almost dead now
  • Dual-band n chipsets are already in decline and will be essentially gone by 2017
  • Dual-band n/ac chipset shipments will overtake dual-band 11n next year
  • Dual-band n/ac shipments will peak and plateau next year, when tri-band ad / ac / n devices start to ramp

Where are all those ac chipsets going to go? Smartphones.

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