Wireless AC is the next generation of Wi-Fi. This new industry standard is designed for three things: much higher speeds, broader coverage range and better sustained performance for a larger number of devices. The specifications are just being finalised now, and Wireless AC devices from industry leading companies like D-Link are already available on the market.
In the past few years, the number of mobile devices, smart phones and tablets has exploded worldwide. Users depend on Wi-Fi for the vast majority of their data, as home broadband connections are often faster and less limited than mobile ones. Unfortunately, home networks have become overloaded. There’s just not enough Wi-Fi bandwidth to go around for all these new devices. Start streaming a movie on a tablet, and another person’s game lags. Download a large file, and an email won’t send. It’s frustrating.
Furthermore, with the proliferation of wireless routers in homes, more and more devices are trying to broadcast within the same frequency spectrum causing interference, which further dampens the user’s experience.
Beyond solving these problems, we see the potential for a lot of really great new uses. A big one is HD video and the increasing take-up of on-demand TV, such as Netflix, LoveFilm or BlinkBox. People want to watch and stream movies live to devices in their home. With Wireless AC, you can have connections to multiple TVs and devices in different rooms. Of course there’s faster backup or synchronisation of large files. Long-term, there are some new possibilities that are just starting to be explored, like wireless display, deployments in crowded public areas – think stadiums or airports – and even industrial applications.
There are a lot of little technical improvements that add up to a big jump in speed and reliability. The Wireless AC standard allows for binding more channels, more MIMO spatial streams, multi-user MIMO, and faster modulation mode, basically more of everything that went into previous wireless standards. The Wireless AC standard also makes it easier to support beamforming, where its antennas detect the direction and distance of connected devices, and optimise the signal for each one so there’s less potential for interference.
The short answer is, much faster, up to four times or so. The longer answer is that speed depends on several technical factors, such as the number of internal antennas and streams used. Wireless AC routers, such as the D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-890L), have a maximum throughput of 1300 megabits per second, while most Wireless N routers generally provide up to 300 megabits per second. In fact, older routers seldom reached the maximum, as interference from electrical appliances or other wireless networks, not to mention walls or doors, cut into that speed pretty quickly. Wireless AC, by comparison, is a lot more robust.
There are a number of them. First, you’ve got increased Wi-Fi capacity. You can connect many more wireless devices, all of them doing more with the connection, without affecting each other’s performance. Next, there’s better coverage. Walls or heavy doors won’t be a problem, meaning fewer dead zones. Finally, and this one’s less obvious, there’s the possibility of improved battery life on your mobile devices. Because Wireless AC is faster, data transfers take less time. It means the antenna in your tablet or smartphone shuts off sooner, saving power.
At the moment, there is a perception that Wireless AC is a high-end feature, with a high-end price tag. The cost can definitely be an issue. D-Link doesn’t think it should be. That’s why we’re releasing so many different models at various price points. We believe customers with any budget deserve the benefits of this new technology.
There’s also an argument that it’s too early to buy into Wireless AC, because the client devices aren’t really ready yet. Again, we strongly disagree. First, legacy Wi-Fi devices work seamlessly with D-Link’s Wireless AC routers. For higher speeds, existing PCs and laptops can be turbocharged with a Wireless AC USB adapter. A lot of new computers and some smartphones now have Wireless AC built in. It’s appearing in high-end mobile devices. Wireless AC is here. If you’re investing in a new router, you need Wireless AC. It’s the best way to be sure your network will perform well today and tomorrow, no matter what you want to connect.
Yes! Dual-band support on D-Link’s Wireless AC products ensures full backwards-compatibility with all your wireless devices. That means all your existing devices can connect to a wireless network at their rated maximum speed.
As mentioned, when you have a lot of non-AC devices together on the same Wi-Fi network, overall wireless performance may slow down due to congestion. Wireless AC eliminates that. Devices enabled with Wireless AC run on the 5GHz frequency, so removing them from the 2.4GHz frequency will reduce congestion and improve the range and speed. So, no more dropped connections on your smartphone because you happened to move location. Also, D-Link routers with AC SmartBeam™ technology benefit from a focused wireless signal to improve range and reception.
Pretty much everybody, in our view. It’s not just something for early adopters who want the latest and greatest. The advantages are significant for anyone with a number of mobile devices, anyone who wants to stream HD video, or make VoIP calls, or game online. To reference a driving analogy, think of current wireless networks as an old single-lane road: too many cars, and everything slows down. If you have different people trying to stream movies, copy big files, play games, and so on, not all traffic will get through. On the other hand, Wireless AC gives you multiple lanes, with a higher speed limit. You can have a lot more cars on the road at the same time. That means everything you do on your network happens at full speed. The value of that to any Internet user today is very clear.
What’s more, we don’t believe that one Wireless AC router fits all. That’s why we are launching an industry-leading range of models with different capabilities, at various different price points, from premium models like the flagship AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-890L), with superior performance and features, down to entry-level models. No matter whether you’re an early adopter, a student on a budget, a serious gamer, a parent planning for the future, or anyone else, there’s a D-Link Wireless AC Cloud Router for you.
D-Link Wireless AC Cloud Routers have a sleek, distinctive modern design that looks great in any room. AC SmartBeam™ technology ensures that connected devices receive optimal wireless signal to make the most of the enhanced wireless speeds with Wireless AC. They also come with D-Link’s unique mydlink™ Cloud Services, which make it easy to stream media, share files, and control the whole network from any PC or mobile device remotely. That’s all in addition to industry-leading Wireless AC performance.
No more so than any other Wi-Fi router. In fact, D-Link’s Wireless AC routers are even easier, thanks to our free-of-charge Cloud Services. Just plug in the router, configure it from your smartphone with the QRS mobile app, and you’re ready to get online. Another app - mydlink™ - lets you manage your home network remotely too. All you need is a smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection. Whether you're at the office, having an evening out, or away on holiday, you know what’s going on with your home network. It couldn’t be easier.
You might want a new router to go with your new tablet or smartphone. As you add devices to your home network, a Wireless AC router from D-Link helps ensure that you can stream movies, sync files, or share your photos easily, no matter how many devices you connect. Maybe your Wi-Fi used to be okay, but I bet you’re now using your wireless network for far more activity than you used to. We use our networks for so many things now: streaming TV shows, HD movies, maybe a media player, online games, you name it. Increasingly, that’s how we get our entertainment. If you want to do it all, on all your devices, no wires or cables, there should be a Wireless AC router in your plans.
Apart from faster connectivity and better coverage, two main things to look for are convenience and sharing. The router should be easy to set up and secure. D-Link Wireless AC Cloud Routers let you do that remotely from a mobile device mydlink™ Cloud Services allows you to see who is connected, block devices you don’t recognise, or just shut down your children’s connection when it’s bedtime. You can view the browsing history of any connected device, so you know when people are playing games or visiting sites they shouldn’t be. The router can send you email alerts when anything suspicious happens. Basically, our free Cloud Services give you more peace of mind.
The other feature is sharing. Most new routers come with a USB port now: you plug in a USB storage device, and its contents become accessible to other devices connected on the same network. It’s an easy way to share files between mobile devices, definitely easier and faster than messing around with direct connections. You can bring home an important work document, keep copies of your photos, or transfer movies to your phone for later without ever connecting to a PC. With Wireless AC, you can transfer and stream files faster. That’s the difference between streaming one movie smoothly, and several at the same time, for example if your family wants to watch in different rooms of the house. You can also get your files copied and leave the house faster.
If you want a boost for your existing PC or laptop, you might consider adding a USB Wireless AC adapter. D-Link offers several, including the D-Link AC1900 Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter (DWA-192) or Wireless AC Dual Band USB Adapter (DWA-182). If you’re looking to buy a new laptop or mobile device, check that it supports Wireless AC. On the box, it might say 802.11ac, which is the technical term for the standard.
D-Link has a full range of Wireless AC routers, as well as USB Wireless AC adapters for adding functionality to any laptop or PC. The latest smartphones and tables from the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG all support Wireless AC. Most new laptops have it out of the box, and we expect consoles and smart TVs should have it as standard soon. As people learn more about the benefits, and Wireless AC chipsets fall in price, we expect the number of devices to increase very quickly.
To give you an idea, IHS, a leading tech industry analyst, predicts that about 10% of mobile phones, 20% of tablets, and 30% of laptops and PCs will be equipped with Wireless AC by the end of 2015. By 2016, those figures will have jumped to 50% for laptops, PCs and tablets, and just under a third of mobile phones.