An Introduction to 802.11ac

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  • Author: Sigurd Schelstraete

802.11ac is the name of a proposed amendment to the IEEE 802.11 specification for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). IEEE task group TGac was started in November 2008 to consider technical proposals and to draft a text proposal for the amendment. This work is currently still in draft stage, with final approval targeted for December 2013. Once approved, it will become an official 802.11 amendment under the name 802.11ac. Even though the work has not been officially approved yet, we will refer to it as 802.11ac in this document.

The main goal of the new 802.11ac amendment was to significantly increase the throughput within the Basic Service Set (BSS). The official target rates, as defined at the start of the project, are a maximum Multi‐Station (Multi‐STA) throughput of at least 1 Gbps and a maximum single link throughput of at least 500 Mbps. These higher rates are motivated by the continuing trend to transition devices and applications from fixed links to wireless links and by the emergence of new applications with ever higher throughput requirements.