By Ernest Worthman
December 10, 2015 — In the Wi-Fi arena, it seems that Wave 2 of the 802.11ac standard is really gaining popularity. According to Strategy Analysts, it is gaining traction and will become the highest shipping Wi-Fi standard yet.
Nice! Actually, this standard has a lot to offer, including multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO). Its predecessor, Wave 1 of the standard used only single user MIMO. Wave 2 uses downlink MU-MIMO to transmit data to multiple clients (max of four) simultaneously. This is a great scheme for reducing contention and improving overall network throughput. Wave 2 claims up to 3.5 GHz bandwidth, maybe even more.
At present, there is decent support for it in end-user devices, but it is a bit scarce in access point deployment yet. But it is a boon for carriers who are looking to deploy Wi-Fi nets, because it will keep the user from dumping slow Wi-Fi and loading up the cellular network with the data. Frankly, I think it would be a boon for the streaming media segment. Finally, wireless streaming of Netflix and other such services in home Wi-Fi networks with decent bandwidth that can withstand multiple users and still deliver decent speeds – Sign me up!