Gigabit WiFi (802.11ac) is the fifth generation of WiFi. Gigabit WiFi networking is now available for home use. Get the extra speed that you need for sharing even the most bandwidth intensive media in your home and lightening fast file transfers. Most vendors have Gigabit routers for the home market at reasonable prices. Is it time to get a Home Gigabit 802.11ac WiFi?
802.11ac Gives You Raw Speed
Most WiFi routers, such as 802.11n, send data in channels. Each channel tops off at 54Mbps. Many of them offer wide channels that will combine channels to make one faster one. But that’s about as much speed as you can get. On top of that they may use MIMO technology that will let them send to more than one computer at a time. So the total speed may seem like more but in fact no device will go faster than 2 channels with the right equipment. 802.11ac changes all this and combines as many as 8 channels together. So your speed can increase by 300% over most routers.
Gigabit WiFi uses a different kind of modulation. That’s geek-speak. You don’t need to know the details but that makes it another 33% faster.
Fourth generation WiFi uses MIMO technology to allow the router to send to multiple computers at once. The Gigabit WiFi standard increases the number of computers that can use the network at the same time from 4 computers to 8 which makes it faster still.
To get an idea of the speed increase of 802.11ac over older WiFi technologies look at this info-graphic:
Gigabit WiFi works in the 5 GHz range of the spectrum. So not only is is faster but it’s a lot more robust too. It is much less sensitive to interference than traditional WiFi signals in the 2.4 GHz range. That’s where everything from garage openers to baby monitors to wireless phones work. Less interference means higher speed since you don’t loose the signal and have to find it again.
How to Buy a Gigabit Router
Though many 802.11ac routers don’t don’t have real Gigabit speeds, they are still much faster than traditional routers. There are many 802.11ac routers on the market. But they are not all created equal. There are 433 Mbps (low end), 867 Mbps (midtier), or 1300 Mbps (high end). So be careful when you shop around and start comparing them, they are not all the same speed. For example D-Link sells an AC-750 (DIR-810L), an AC-1200 (DIR-860L), and AC-1750 (DIR-868L).
Home Gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Gigabit WiFi is backward compatible. So all your old gear will still work with the new router but without the extra speed.
Having a faster router won’t increase your internet speed. But it will increase the network speed inside your home. You’ll be ready for the next wave of media servers and players as well as SmartTVs.
Read this to find out more about setting up a high speed network in your home. This post tells you how much speed you really need and how to get it. In another post, find out how to measure the speed of your home network. To learn more about media servers and how to set them up, follow this link. To see a list of all media servers available for Windows for free follow this link. We also have quite a few media server reviews.