Faster 802.11ac Wireless Connection Explained in Windows 8.1

By: Radu Tyrsina
2 minute read

The jump from the 802.11n wireless standard to the new 802.11ac in Windows 8.1 is actually a much bigger deal that some of us have realized. Read on to discover why
802.11 ac windows 8.1
Like we have explained earlier in our article with the top new wireless networking features in Windows 8.1, the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard provides much greater bandwidth and faster connections than 802.11n and other previous standards. Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 have been updated by Microsoft to be able to support the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ac wireless access.

And what exactly does it mean for regular consumers like you and me? Well, first of all, let’s understand the concept, here’s how its description goes:

IEEE 802.11ac is a wireless computer networking standard in the 802.11 family developed in the IEEE Standards Association process, providing high-throughput wireless local area networks (WLANs) on the 5 GHz band.  The standard was developed from 2011 through 2013, with final 802.11 Working Group approval and publication scheduled for early 2014. According to a study, devices with the 802.11ac specification are expected to be common by 2015 with an estimated one billion spread around the world.

This specification has expected multi-station WLAN throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s). This is accomplished by extending the air interface concepts embraced by 802.11n: wider RF bandwidth (up to 160 MHz), more MIMO spatial streams (up to 8), multi-user MIMO, and high-density modulation (up to 256-QAM).

802.11 ac standard is the future in wireless networking

So, we can see that with 802.11 ac wireless standard in Windows 8.1, Microsoft has made sure they are prepared for the future, that is especially bound to be populated with myriads of tablets, especially. Have a look at the following table that compares the 802.11n and 802.11ac wireless standards.

802.11 ac windows 8Improved wireless connections aren’t limited only to Windows 8.1 as Windows Server 2012 R2 product also received the same features. Also, thnks to the new 802.11ac wireless standard, we will know be able to make use of a better performance for wireless display, streaming high fidelity videos, distribution of HDTV, rapid upload and download of files and even playing online games, such as Dragon’s Prophet or Guild Wars 2 (just random examples). Microsoft also reminds us of this:

To see the benefits of using 802.11ac connections, your other wireless network hardware, such as wireless network adapters and wireless access points, must also support 802.11ac. In addition, 802.11ac functions regardless of whether you have deployed 802.1X authentication; the two technologies are not related.

Did you know about this new wireless standard that really matters in Windows 8.1? Or, as long as your Wi-Fi issues aren’t solved, it doesn’t really matter to you.

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