IEEE 802.11ac – Is it worth the wait?

ipad air

When Apple announced their Macbook Pro with 802.11ac WIFI connectivity, I was thinking, finally it is about time WIFI has managed to come this far and be close to replacing Gigabit network cables.

Sebastion Anthony has this to say.

802.11ac will only get faster, too. As we mentioned earlier, the theoretical max speed of 802.11ac is just shy of 7Gbps — and while you’ll never hit that in a real-world scenario, we wouldn’t be surprised to see link speeds of 2Gbps or more in the next few years. At 2Gbps, you’ll get a transfer rate of 256MB/sec, and suddenly Ethernet serves very little purpose indeed.

Indeed over the years we have seen the rise of wireless fidelity and having bet on that technology, it has finally arrived. By bet I meant that I was a cheapskate for not wanting to hack my house and lay ethernet cables for my media and by bet I also meant that for the past year I did regret that choice.

wifi

Anyway AC is here to save the day. First of all, I have seen that the local shops have already stocked up on the new AC standard routers. It would definitely be a nice upgrade but unfortunately, all of my other devices which uses WIFI will not be able to enjoy those speeds. So I will probably have to wait a long time before all my devices move over to the new standard. This includes, 4 laptops at home, my Apple TV and my Playstation 3.

Now this whole way of thought stemmed from me reading an article which was quite thought-provoking, written by Lance Whitney on CNET regarding why he wouldn’t upgrade his old iPad 2 with the new iPad Air.

My first gripe concerns Wi-Fi. Apple has outfitted its MacBook and Mac Pro lineup with the 802.11ac flavor of Wi-Fi. But the new iPhones and iPads are still stuck with 802.11n. That may be fine for now, while the 802.11ac Wi-Fi spec is still at an early stage. But in a couple of years, 802.11n will feel outdated. And unlike a desktop or laptop, a phone or tablet can’t be upgraded to take advantage of a new wireless standard.

To be honest, that is a real valid point. I for one use my iPad to stream TV shows and movies via WIFI as I use a PLEX Media server at home. So it is a real dilemma because I know I will be using the iPad for years to come and whether I should take that jump next year or perhaps wait for Apple’s next generation of iPads with the finger print touch ID and the AC WIFI standard.

Will it make that much of a difference? Who knows in the future.