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What is 802.11ad

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
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It's like only yesterday we saw 802.11ac and now here I am writing about something called 802.11ad. 802.11ac is the next of kin in the long line of wireless WiFi standards and offers some clear advantages over is older brother (802.11n).

Where ac is the natural evolution of improved WiFi technologies, 801.11ad may be revolutionary technology that truly disrupt what we can do wirelessly. 802.11ac uses the same 5GHz frequency popularized by high end 802.11n routers, 802.11ad kicks it up a notch on the 60GHz frequency which will lead to multi-gigabit wireless connections. This incredible level of performance will allow brand new uses of wireless technologies like wireless docking stations, wireless screens, streaming of uncompressed full-HD content, etc.

Why the 60 GHz frequency? 
Data capacity is a factor of modulation bandwidth. Multi-gigabit applications therefore require a large spectrum allocation but manufacturing simplicity requires that the spectrum bandwisth be a small percentage of the transmittion frequency.
The 60GHz frequency is practical, meets these needs and is unlicensed in most countries.

Using 60GHz does have its downsides and the 2 most common limitations are the fact that its signal is very directional and that it works only for very short distances. Directional means you have to be facing the antenna and short distances will likely be measured in single digit feet. 

This means that we may see new devices in 2014-15 that support both 802.11ac and 802.11ad. 802.11ac could be used for traditional longer range wireless networking while the shorter distance but much more powerful 802.11ad is used for very specific close range applications.

This is the kind of cool development that makes technology truly wonderful. Imagine wireless everything on your desk working at extremely high speeds (even a 4K monitor).