A wireless LAN (WLAN) specification under development by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) that delivers wireless data transfer rates in the range of 433 Mbps (Megabits per second) per spatial stream. With support for up to eight streams, the 802.11ac specification offers a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of more than 3Gbps (Gigabits per second), and can deliver 1.3Gbps transfer speeds with a more common three-antenna (three streams) design.
802.11ac extends earlier 802.11 specifications, including 802.11n, and provides backwards compatibility with previous 802.11 specs. The 802.11ac specification operates only in the 5 GHz frequency range (where there is currently far less potential for interference), as opposed to the 802.11n spec, which operates in both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz ranges.
The official working name for the 802.11ac spec is “Enhancements for Very High Throughput” for WLAN operation in bands below 6 GHz, and is more informally referred to as “Gigabit Wi-Fi” or “5G Wi-Fi.” The 802.11ac specification has already received an update in the form of 802.11ac Wave 2, which utilizes MU-MIMO technology and other advancements to help increase theoretical maximum wireless speeds for the spec to 6.93 Gbps.
See 802.11 for a complete overview of the 802.11x family of specifications.
Also see the "Wireless LAN Standards chart" in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.
See also "How Wireless Networks Work" in the Did You Know... section of Webopedia.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »List of Free Shorten URL Services
A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015
The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »