Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The first multi-band router released for 802.11ad WiFi standard

TP-Link broke the ice on 802.11ad (also called WiGig) this past month with their release of the Talon AD7200 - the market's first wireless router operating on this WiFi standard.

TP-Link Talon AD7200 wireless router
The Talon AD7200 supports data rates of up to 800 Mbps on it's 2.4 GHz radio, up to 1733 Mbps with 5.0 GHz, and up to 4600 Mbps on the new 60 GHz band. With all radio chains active, this consumer-grade router is capable of handling up to 7200 Mbps, a capacity that is well beyond the average consumer's needs. 

However, the bulk of wireless devices connecting in today's world are still fighting over limited channel space on the 2.4 GHz band, and while the next era of devices are able to connect on faster 5.0 GHz frequencies where there are also more channels available to serve them, WiFi experts are still concerned about future capacity. 

Phenomenons like the Internet of Things (the emergence of WiFi in everyday appliances and devices like watches, TVs, stereos, thermostats, washers/dryers, refrigerators, etc) and Bring Your Own Device (users connecting wirelessly with multiple devices at a time and with a growing array of different kinds of devices) will put a heavy demand on today's WiFi networks. Additionally, new technology like 4k video and virtual reality will mean significantly larger data requests coming from those devices. Exponential devices times exponential data demands means....well....way more powers of WiFi capacity than the majority of systems can handle today! 

But you don't need to be good at math to know 802.11ad will help. Because the new standard operates on the 60 GHz band, connecting devices won't interfere with older ones taking up space on 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands. And that 4600 Mbps data rate is nothing to scoff at either. At more than twice the speed of current 802.11ac devices, routers like the Talon AD7200 are prepared to better serve the large data rates of 4k video - faster even than the Gigabit ethernet ports most of us currently use at home.

As with past innovations to WiFi technology and the release of faster routers and access points, it won't mean a whole lot until compatible client devices hit the markets too. This typically takes a year or two. Additionally, the significantly higher frequency of 60 GHz means obtaining those high data rates will require an unobstructed line of sight between the router and clients, and at shorter distances than we enjoy with 5.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz. Even with these draw-backs, the new technology spells capacity relief for a future full of WiFi.