All Things 802.11ac - Question 11: What About 802.11ad?

  • 2
  • Question
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • Answered
There is, as a couple of participants mentioned earlier today, another gigabit+ wireless-LAN standard – 802.11ad. In fact, the .11ad standard is already approved, and the vast amount of spectrum (7-9 GHz.) available in the 60-MHz. bands where .11ad operates implies very high throughput – at least the 7 Gbps of the current .11ad standard, which is, interestingly, also the upper bound of 802.11ac. Granted, 60 GHz. doesn’t propagate as well as 5 GHz., but it looks like there’s a lot of capability in .11ad regardless. Is .11ad competitive with .11ac, or will it address a different set of applications? And what does the future hold for 802.11ad in enterprise settings?
Photo of Craig Mathias

Craig Mathias

  • 63 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 5 years ago

  • 2
Photo of Terry Bates

Terry Bates

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
In Matthews first video he mentions backwards compatibility, I'm guessing this will be a large factor in why 802.11ac was deployed first, but my question would be what does he mean when he says it will affect the way we will build WiFi networks as we currently know it, does how does ad work then?
Photo of Matthew Gast

Matthew Gast

  • 284 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
In that video, my backwards compatibility reference was to 802.11a/b/g/n. The reason why 11ac will come first is that it is a higher-speed drop-in replacement for what came before. 802.11ad has a slightly different MAC, and we'll need to start seeing tri-band devices to make it work.
Photo of alanbuxey

alanbuxey

  • 2 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
my take on this is 11ad is very short range and designed for those people that dont want any cables on their desks - i.e. PC to monitor, PC to external HD (I guess mouse and keyboard though the 11ad data rates are so high it might seem wasteful for that purpose...and maybe more energy efficient to use bluetooth?).
in enterprise space, a large open shared office would be a LOT of devices...but where it might win is in those final things that have just never evolved - projectors and printers. if ALL the devices in an office just 'see' those as connected resource it could be very useful...or very dangerous! ;-)
Photo of Matthew Gast

Matthew Gast

  • 284 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
As Alan said (hi, Alan -- you're up late!), the range of 60 GHz is so short that in practice, 802.11ad is almost a cable-replacement technology. Security in such an environment is important, and goes well beyond the link layer. 11ad has security over the air, but you will need additional application layer security for controls such as "this user is allowed to connect to my screen."
Photo of Matthew Gast

Matthew Gast

  • 284 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
I see 11ad and 11ac as either orthogonal or complementary, but I can't tell which one yet. The case for orthogonal is that 11ad is short-range docking technology and a use case that generic data 802.11 hasn't handled yet because docking typically needs to stay off the network. The case for complementary is that eventually 802.11ac will run out of steam, and 802.11ad might be the short-range offload technology that we need -- just as 802.11 offloads the cell network, 802.11ad offloads 802.11ac.
Photo of Craig Mathias

Craig Mathias

  • 63 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I'm not convinced. In my own experiments with 60 GHz., I've been able to send 3+ Gbps on the order of 10 meters, line of sight. Walls were a problem... But why wouldn't .11ad become a tool for network power users, again over short distances? I don't see it as just a cable-replacement technology.