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802.11ac: Better Coverage, But Won't Hit Advertised Speeds

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the are-you-implying-marketers-would-lie-to-us?!? dept.

Wireless Networking 107

New submitter jcenters writes "Apple's new AirPort routers feature the new 802.11ac protocol, promising Wi-Fi speeds in excess of 1 Gbps, but Glenn Fleishman of TidBITS explains why we are unlikely to see such speeds any time soon. Quoting: 'When Apple says that its implementation of 802.11ac can achieve up to 1.3 Gbps — and other manufacturers with beefier radio systems already say up to 1.7 Gbps — the reality is that a lot of conditions have to be met to achieve that raw data rate. And, as you well know from decades of network-technology advertising, dear reader, a “raw” data rate (often incorrectly called “theoretical”) is the maximum number of bits that can pass over a network. That includes all the network overhead as well as actual data carried in packets and frames. The net throughput is often 30 to 60 percent lower.'"

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107 comments

get out! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010523)

no way. i'm shocked. get the fuck out of here.

wasteful on spectrum (4, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 10 months ago | (#44010541)

Another issue is these routers are probably going to barf all over the spectrum, so as soon as you get a few of them operating in one area, performance will go to hell for everybody.

This has already happened on 2.4GHz in some areas, and is starting to happen on 5GHz too. Greater speeds require more spectrum.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (5, Informative)

phizi0n (1237812) | about 10 months ago | (#44010657)

5GHz doesn't penetrate well so you won't get much interference from neighbors except maybe in very small apartments, the real problem is other devices within your home that use 5GHz such as cordless phones.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44010693)

1. That is the best thing about moving to 5Ghz
2. Throw those things out, while you are at it get rid of the fax machine. Cordless phones have all the disadvantages of cell phone and landlines together for maximum failure.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (5, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#44010751)

My apartment is in a cellular dead spot. My landline only has two ports... one in the kitchen and one in the master bedroom. It would really suck if I couldn't use the phone in the living, garage, basement or office without having a long-ass cord getting tangled on everything. So maybe cordless phones do have a purpose after all.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44010999)

What you really need is a cell phone booster.

You can thank me later.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (3, Informative)

exodus2 (88214) | about 10 months ago | (#44011629)

I got a notice today from Sprint that they are canceling my Air rave which gives me an indoor cell tower

Re: wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44018273)

Don't wait for us to mount a cell tower on your local school, install one in your own home and fry your children's brains today (tm)

Re:wasteful on spectrum (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44011019)

And "landline" (or internet) phones are still waaaaay cheaper than cellular. Free, even.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012537)

Just think - instead of having a dead spot the size of your house, you can have a dead spot the size of the planet! - minus your house.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 10 months ago | (#44013803)

I can do a basic mobile phone service for about $30 per month. That includes any US long distance calls.

I have a phone on the wall that can dial 911 for free.

I prefer my lowfi Android Cricket connection. $65 per month that gives me unlimited US calls, text, sms, and specifically allows tethering(wifi or usb). It has a data transfer limit of only 1GB per month, but after that they don't charge you they just throttle your bandwidth to ~128kbps. I can usualy still find an open wifi AP for my laptop , but it's nice for when that isn't an option.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44014059)

I prefer my lowfi Android Cricket connection. $65 per month that gives me unlimited US calls, text, sms, and specifically allows tethering(wifi or usb). It has a data transfer limit of only 1GB per month

Sounds like you're getting ripped off. I'm paying $40/mo with Boost Mobile (Sprint) and have similarly unlimited service, nation-wide coverage without roaming, and data was only just recently capped at 3.5GB/mo before throttling.

It's true they don't explicitly allow tethering, but it's a simple matter to install an app for that, and it works fine.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 10 months ago | (#44016993)

Yeah I guess Cricket isn't the deal it once was. You say Boost doesn't explicitly allow tethering, do you know if they have anything about it in TOS?

FWIW Cricket was "allowing" (they weren't actively blocking) tethering and didn't have a data cap in place, on a $40 plan, back when I put this phone on their network. But they've moved to actively looking for and blocking use of tether apps, (charging 5bucks to use them) and only allowing that "feature" on their 60 dollar smartphone plan. If I could do without tethering I'd have stuck with their $40 plan. Also I believe that plan still has no cap, but I haven't checked in some time.

IOW I'm really getting gouged $25/mo to tether. That was worth it to me for work reasons.

This phone is pretty beat up now, so it's probably time to look at what I can do elsewhere.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44014523)

Yes, I have cell phone service, too. It's $30/month for 100 minutes and 5GB of high speed on T-Mobile. I usually use about $10-15 more at $0.10/minute, for a total cost of around $45/month. But that's my toy tax. My home phone is an OBI that hooks to Google Voice and makes and receives free calls. I pay CallCentric $1.50/month for 911. So even if you stretch the OBI price over a single year, I'm only paying $6/month. This time next year it will be $3.50/month. The economics are similar for the other "pay once" internet phone services.

Now I am of course neglecting my home internet service, so if you don't have that anyway the economics may no longer favor internet phones.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 10 months ago | (#44017385)

I like that OBi.

And you can use something like GrooVe IP on an unactivated smartphones over WIFI.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44014069)

And "landline" (or internet) phones are still waaaaay cheaper than cellular. Free, even.

You can find nearly free cell phones if you want... But almost nobody wants them... Just like land-line phones.

And land-line phone service is no longer cheaper than cellular in the US, perhaps with the exception of folks on the fringe coverage areas. In fact it can be considerably cheaper, starting at about $7/mo if you don't make many calls, and topping out at about $30/mo for an unlimited voice plan on any of several providers.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44014489)

You can buy a Obi or Magic Jack or whatever and pay nothing at all after the initial purchase price. I'm unaware of anything like that in the cell phone world.

If you don't use your phone, then yeah you can go cheap, but $7/mo is still more than you will spend on a VOIP phone if you don't use it (in fact that will get you 500 minutes at a place like CallCentric).

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44014817)

but $7/mo is still more than you will spend on a VOIP phone if you don't use it

Is internet service free, now?

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44015097)

I didn't feel that I needed to say that, it is so blatantly obvious. These numbers all only work if you are already paying for internet.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 10 months ago | (#44017517)

I agree with this. I wasn't really aware of OBi like products or thinking about VOIP apps because I personally make make most of my phone calls between locations.

For the ultimate savings you might have to combine Mobile and VOIP ...a "found" smartphone with no service, running a Google Voice App on you neighbors' unsecured AP.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012437)

So you can call someone to install a $40 VoIP gateway for you, and then use any WiFi-enabled device to do the same thing without borking your network connection?

It's not that we can't imagine your desire to have a non-corded phone, it's that we can't imagine your desire to run that non-corded phone over a separate network.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 10 months ago | (#44012471)

Hmm, you live in an apartment with a basement, and a garage? Is perhaps your Mom's basement your apartment?

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

brickmack (2537604) | about 10 months ago | (#44012919)

Probably an actual house being rented as an apartment? I've lived in a lot of places like that

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#44014023)

It's a townhouse. Picture six tiny houses (with the basement and garage being the ground level floor) in a row and then squash them together into one building, each with it's own garage on the front and deck on the back. Nonetheless, it's still a rented apartment with all of the limitations of such (paint is the most permanent change we can make).

It would be much nicer if it were my mom's basement and garage. Either one is twice the size of my entire apartment.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 10 months ago | (#44014091)

I figured it was a townhouse. I in fact rent a basement apartment. But, making the miles basementnjokenwas far to easy. I couldn't resist.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44014093)

My landline only has two ports... one in the kitchen and one in the master bedroom.

It's really not that difficult to install more phone jacks or other low-voltage wire drops in your home. In the best case, all you need is a bit of tape and some wire. In less common cases, you might need fish tape, a drill, and a saw if you don't have an existing box to reuse.

They even make combination jacks with various quantities of phone/coax/ethernet/etc., jacks, so you usually don't need to make any more holes in your walls. eg:

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=pvcwp40whthf [solidsignal.com]

People will go through amazing contortions to get phone, TV, or data/internet service in different rooms of their home lacking in-wall wiring, when actually just running wiring wherever needed only takes a couple hours of effort.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011409)

HURR DURR THROW IT OUT

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

whois (27479) | about 10 months ago | (#44010715)

I would have rather seen radios that bonded on 4 40Mhz channels than one 160Mhz channel. Maybe the overhead is lower because you can do all your FEC at once, but it means you can't work around noise by grabbing two low 40Mhz and two high 40Mhz. Or even better if you could break it into 8 20Mhz channels.

Maybe they're doing all or nothing because there is already so much overlap in 5Ghz than it's not worth frequency hopping or whatever, or maybe they're trying to keep the chip cost down so people can afford to buy consumer grade devices.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (3, Informative)

adri (173121) | about 10 months ago | (#44011167)

The 802.11ac spec lets you do that.

You can use 40, 80, 80+80 or 160. Right now I think everything is shipping 80 only, but I could be wrong. But the chip is allowed to transmit on whichever channel is free. If the primary 20MHz channel is free, it transmits on that. If the Primary and Extension 20Mhz channel are both free (ie, the "HT40" channel in 802.11n parlance) it transmits on that. If all 80MHz is free, it transmits on that.

It's pretty nifty stuff.

These days phones are going to 1900MHz (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 10 months ago | (#44011317)

DECT 6.0 phones work on the 1900MHz band and more or less act like short-range cell phones with their protocols and compression. They work quite well, have decent penetration through walls, and are outside of the range used for computers.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

eggboard (315140) | about 10 months ago | (#44011373)

Outdated opinion on 5 GHz. The channels 149 and higher can broadcast at 20 times the signal strength of channels 36 to 48, and Apple and others have been boosting power progressively over the years. I can see it around me in my home and the last office I had: you can see a lot of 5 GHz now because of newer devices, where before, I only saw 2.4 GHz. That's anecdote, but fire up iStumbler or a Windows equivalent (aircrack-ng?) and see what I mean.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 10 months ago | (#44012671)

Cordless phones as in land lines? Few people under 40 have a land line and if you really need something besides a cell phone why not connect to that same wifi?

Re:wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44013639)

I don't know why everyone doesn't like landlines anymore. They are:
- Cheap - I get unlimited local, national and national mobile calls for $40 per month
- Reliable - I have never had reception problems or congestion problems with a landline
- Not dependant on a battery - if the cordless battery dies (it does last for up to and over a week on standby) and there's no wall power, I can just plug in the corded phone to make phone calls
- No expensive data plan if desired

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Molochi (555357) | about 10 months ago | (#44013733)

I'm going to repeat this, because it didn't get +5 Informative (yet).

5GHz (even802.11a) is best if your office/apartment shares a wall/ceiling/floors with neighbors. It doesn't penetrate as well as 2.4GHz and that means that your wifi isn't affected as much by your neighbors use of the spectrum.

It does increase the need for repeaters to keep the bandwidth high on your own LAN, but you don't get screwed as much by the neighbors.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (2)

jimbouse (2425428) | about 10 months ago | (#44010707)

As a wireless ISP owner, I dread all this 802.11ac gear. 80+mhz channels so that they can stream their AirPlay or whatever they *think* they need to see in HD.

There is a finite amount of spectrum and every bozo is going to turn their router up to the max width and power because "more is better".

/soapbox

Re:wasteful on spectrum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010975)

Just like you "thought" you needed to run a wireless ISP.

Goddamn jackass.

Your fault for using unlicensed bands. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011025)

More then likely, the WISP's will do what they have been doing, further increase there already illegal power output and blow consumer equipment out of the water.

Like in my area where we have 3 different WISP's in a giant pissing match making 2.4ghz almost useless for most peoples intended unlicensed usage.

Maybe 802.11ac is the kick the WISP's need to start making the investment and move to 802.11y and get off the 2.4ghz band.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011119)

There is a finite amount of spectrum and every bozo is going to turn their router up to the max width and power because "more is better".

Spectrum is only limited within a channel. There are infinitely many channels, you just need more antennas to access them.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44011259)

I hope this isn't a dupe. /. has been mad at me. AC uses beam-forming, making it at least somewhat directional.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 10 months ago | (#44011289)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but since this is all on 5GHz how does this even affect you? Outdoor 5GHz implementations won't make it through exterior walls, and indoor 5GHz routers won't even reach outside to interfere.

Re: wasteful on spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44013335)

Because clearly you have the right to dictate what gets done with wireless spectrum, and other people's wants and needs get to take a back seat, right?

Too fucking bad for you. It's unlicensed spectrum. If you want protected spectrum, go buy it.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010753)

Greater speeds require more spectrum.

More spectrum is the easiest way to get greater speeds, but things like MU-MIMO increase speeds without using more spectrum. Check out the article. It address everything you mentioned.

Re:wasteful on spectrum (1)

sigipickl (595932) | about 10 months ago | (#44010897)

Yes and no. There is boatloads more space in the 5GHz spectrum, and as another person has already stated, 5GHz doesn't do well with solid objects, so the signal will not propagate nearly as far.

Where .11ac is going to cause problems is when wave 2 of the standard hits the market in another year or two- 160MHz wide channels will eat up the available 5GHz spectrum real quick. We'll have multi-user MIMO with that release though, which will mean much more efficient use of the spectrum.

Kind of like EPA gas mileage ratings. (1, Insightful)

xmark (177899) | about 10 months ago | (#44010551)

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

Re:Kind of like EPA gas mileage ratings. (2)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 10 months ago | (#44010665)

I occasionally have someone ask me why their internet is so slow when there router says up to 300mbps or a gigabit all I can do is reply "yes but the internet is coming through your dsl modem at a much lower 6mbps".

Re:Kind of like EPA gas mileage ratings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011039)

I occasionally have someone ask me why their internet is so slow when there router says up to 300mbps or a gigabit all I can do is reply "yes but the internet is coming through your dsl modem at a much lower 6mbps".

That person is a moron and deserves to be told this to their face.

A moron is someone who doesn't look at what's right in front of them before asking stupid questions.

Re:Kind of like EPA gas mileage ratings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44013377)

I have 350 Mbps internet connection and a "600mbps" router. So why do I only get about 130 Mbps (16 MB/s)? I get 340 Mbps with an ethernet cable.

theoretical... (2)

BobCollins (986220) | about 10 months ago | (#44010621)

The term "theoretical" is not just standing in for "raw" data rate. In complex data communication, it also covers whether all frequency sub-bands, spacial directions, etc. are also available.

Simple solution (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44010649)

Use ethernet. Cables don't have these kinds of problems. I just wish somebody made lighter ethernet cables though, my iPhone cable backpack is killing me.

Re:Simple solution (0)

nine-times (778537) | about 10 months ago | (#44010729)

That's not really a solution. Gigabit ethernet doesn't have a practical throughput of 1 Gb either.

Oh, right, and sometimes there's a reason why people are using wireless.

Re:Simple solution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010833)

Gigabit ethernet doesn't have a practical throughput of 1 Gb either.

Yes it does, I've never seen any problems with pushing 1gig either at home or at work.
Perhaps you're having problems with the backplane capacity of your router, or issues with your NIC or computer. But it's not the connection between the ports at fault, unless you've got the cable wound around a source of powerful RF emissions.

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011431)

No it doesn't. It has overhead just like everything else.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012087)

Yeah, you're right. When I was running iSCSI, I was only getting about 123.5MB/s ... which comes to an effictive utilization of 988mb/s after overhead of SCSI to TCP to digital. So .... give me a break, 1.2% overhead? That's not the same.

Re:Simple solution (3, Informative)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44011191)

I get 960Mb one direction and 1.6Gb bi-directional with my consumer-grade network at home. I also get 110MB/s+ over SMB with sub 1% cpu usage. 1Gb is not hard.

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011357)

What are you transferring 200 byte frames? 1GB is easy to max.

Re: Simple solution (2)

ischorr (657205) | about 10 months ago | (#44013221)

Yeah, that's nonsense. I regularly push 120MByte/sec (just under 1Gbps) over a variety of 1Gbps links. But it doesn't have to deal with significant noise or collisions, which are two of the speed losers. Also fairly reliable delivery (amount of loss is about 0.000000001%, and I'm not exaggerating) and its always 1Gbps, unlike Wifi which depends on channel bonding and signal quality for its base rate.

Usually if you have 1gbps and can't saturate the link it's a bottleneck somewhere else - the source or destination can't stream fast enough (common copying data from disk), inefficiencies of the network protocol, poor network equipment, stupid TCP design, bad application, some other part of the network, or congestion (or poor handling of congestion)

Re:Simple solution (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#44010761)

>Use ethernet. Cables don't have these kinds of problems.

Yes they do. 802.3 has packet and medium access overhead. Just not as much as 802.11

Re:Simple solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010867)

I'll say. 5-10% vs. 50-60% (comparison for me in real world usage). I put up with shaky/slow wifi in my office for 6 months before I finally ran CAT6. My gigabit connection is about 10-20x faster than my "150-300 Mbps" wifi connection was.

Re:Simple solution (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#44011053)

Same here - I just run CAT6 whenever possible. A couple of hours of fishing cables beats recurring wireless hiccups any day.

Re:Simple solution (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#44011775)

I think he means that you don't have to share the available bandwidth with your neighbours. At least, hopefully not.

Re:Simple solution (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#44011867)

>I think he means that you don't have to share the available bandwidth with your neighbours.

But you do. Your neighbors might not get to use your AP and internet connection, but they certainly occupy bandwidth on the wireless channel when they run their own equipment on the same channel.

Re:Simple solution (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#44011875)

Ok.. for the wires, no. Not with switched ethernet.

Re:Simple solution (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 10 months ago | (#44012123)

Ok.. for the wires, no. Not with switched ethernet.

You watch yourself! He may sneak your neighbors' connections into a hub along with yours while you're sleeping just to prove a point...

And this is news? (2, Informative)

holysin (549880) | about 10 months ago | (#44010699)

I'm sorry, but since the advent of marketing (the new wheel, now travel up to 1000x faster than walking!) the speeds we actually get *very* rarely ever approach the advertised "up to" speeds. Even the summation says this: "And, as you well know from decades of network-technology advertising, dear reader, a “raw” data rate (often incorrectly called “theoretical”) is the maximum number of bits that can pass over a network. That includes all the network overhead as well as actual data carried in packets and frames. The net throughput is often 30 to 60 percent lower.'" So...... why bother mentioning it, let alone headlining it? Is it just to attract us grumpy old trolls? The advertised wireless network speeds are very much like gas mileage, wildly inaccurate in the real world.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010759)

It's meant to be anti-Apple by insinuating that they are lying and misleading people.

Either way even with a 60% loss at 1.3 Gbps it's still better than only a 30% loss on 600 Mbps of 802.11n.

Re:And this is news? (1)

eggboard (315140) | about 10 months ago | (#44011391)

Now, c'mon, grizzled veteran (like myself?).

The point of this article, which I wrote, is both to inform people of the practical aspects of 802.11ac, and also to deal with the disappointment. Average users, to whom these products are marketed in sound bites, may be upgrading because they think "faster is better!" This is to provide a realistic case for what 802.11ac will offer in Apple's version (and everyone's).

Re:And this is news? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 10 months ago | (#44011655)

BREAKING NEWS: Tech veteran rips apart Apple's high speed claims

Key word there is "Apple". It's a story involving $media_darling doing something that can be perceived to be wrong if you squint and tilt your head just so. Never mind that it's an industry standard that isn't deceptive or that Apple explains it using plain-written wording and simple, animated diagrams on their website. Media folks are going to take it and run with it because it drives hits, even if that wasn't Glenn Fleishman's intent with his article (I seriously doubt it was, since he runs in the Apple crowd).

Teach the Little Children (4, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#44010747)

The school curriculum should be amended so that every school child graduates school knowing that physcial layer rate > MAC layer throughput.

The problem is that you see different ones spec'd (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 10 months ago | (#44011377)

Wire based Ethernet is spec'd at MAC layer throughput. It is talking about the data rate of Ethernet frames, the 8b/10b encoding overhead is already accounted for and all that. So you discover that, particularly with Jumbo Frames, you get real near that speed in actual throughput.

Wireless Ethernet, not so much. You find that effective throughput, even under basically ideal conditions, are way less than the listed speed.

So it leads to confusion for people. Basically wireless is over advertising the speed.

Re: The problem is that you see different ones spe (2)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | about 10 months ago | (#44013043)

So to clear up the confusion 802.11n rate specification should be "180mbps unless its higher, up to 300 or less".

Irrelevant knit picking (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010805)

The advertised speeds are used by normal people to estimate performance compared to other products. If this was the only product that advertised "raw" data then a distinction would be necessary. Using the same speed measurement conventions as the rest of the industry allows for an accurate performance comparison against other available hardware.

No one is going to exclude the new AirPort from their short list because it can't transmit 1 GB within a certain amount of time. The choice will be based on if it transmits the data faster than other routers.

Strange beacuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010933)

I get over 1024Mbs on my AC setup....

The "never will exceed number" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011141)

for many devices, the ratings are best described as "we guarantee that this device will never perform any better than This, no matter what"

For example: for Cisco equipment, many admins mentally divide the advertised values by 10 to get some idea of what they are really likely to need, and if you have a really complex configuration, even that is grossly optomistic

Worthless upgrade (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 10 months ago | (#44011157)

Considering the vast majority of consumers use their routers for one thing: connecting multiple devices to their Internet service, upgrading in general is a waste of money unless you need better range because you have a large house. The 1 Gbps only does you good on communications between different devices on the local network, but most people don't use their network to talk to other PCs in the house, everything is talking to stuff outside the network where you're limited to the speed of you Internet service (so less than 20 mbps for most U.S. people).

I'm still plugging away on a WRT54G, and the only reason I'm considering upgrading is issues doing DLNA streaming from my PC in the bedroom to the blu-ray player in the living room because the blu-ray is getting too low a connection speed over wifi. This doesn't effect Netflix and other online services because of their lower (700-1500 kbps) stream requirements, but when things are having to get transcoded to MPEG2 on the PC sometimes bitrates can push past 20 mbps for the stream.

Re:Worthless upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012351)

What about those of us with 1Gbit internet connections?

And for those who don't yet have gigabit internet at home, it will still be nice to wirelessly speak to the local network at a decent speed.

Re:Worthless upgrade (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 10 months ago | (#44013985)

Dropbox uses LAN sync when available. Granted, people don't usually stick gigabytes of stuff on dropbox and expect it to sync immediately, but it's still a bonus when it's fast.

I don't even.. (3, Insightful)

Rytr23 (704409) | about 10 months ago | (#44011319)

I cannot fathom that any reader of /. would be unaware of theoretical vs real world performance, particularly in the networking space. This post is almost insulting.

Re:I don't even.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011863)

Perhaps jcenters was trying to head off being 'informed' by 1,000 helpful commentors of this fact ;-)

My speed (2)

Dwedit (232252) | about 10 months ago | (#44011329)

I have 802.11ac gear, and I'm getting about 8MB/sec whether on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band. It's nothing anywhere near the pie-in-the-sky claims of 300mbps or 800mbps, but it is significantly faster than the 2.3MB/sec I was getting on 802.11g.

Re:My speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012501)

If you're on "the 2.4GHz band", then you're definitely not using 802.11ac.

Re:My speed (2)

aaron44126 (2631375) | about 10 months ago | (#44013143)

Just thought I'd throw this out there since I was just testing it today. I have 802.11n gear (Airport Extreme, the 3x3 version with advertised 450 mbps speed). From 50ish feet away through a few walls I get 8 MB - 10 MB per second to my home server. That's getting up near 100 mbps which is good enough for me on wireless, but obviously nowhere near the 450 mbps that Windows claims my link speed to be.

This is of course normal for wireless networking but I'd hope that 802.11ac gear would be able to do a bit better.

pointless article. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44011435)

if you can't offer us ftp or whatever transfer benchmarks about what the actual speed is, stfu because nobody cares and everyone has been using 100mbit cards that never ever push 100mbit/s for over a decade...

slashdot is borked (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44011445)

stories without comments and comments getting lost on submission.

and this article is stupid. it doesn't offer real benches on .11ac. it's just stupid apple article trolling.

Bad Name (1)

khelms (772692) | about 10 months ago | (#44011611)

We've already got an 802.11A standard, so how are they going to specify a router that uses all the standards? 802.11BAGNAC (ordered by speed)? 802.11AACBGN (alphabetical)? There were plenty of 1-character suffixes left, so why use a 2-character suffix that can be confused with an existing suffix?

Re:Bad Name (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#44011933)

We've already got an 802.11A standard, so how are they going to specify a router that uses all the standards? 802.11BAGNAC (ordered by speed)? 802.11AACBGN (alphabetical)? There were plenty of 1-character suffixes left, so why use a 2-character suffix that can be confused with an existing suffix?

Well, not all AC devices will do 5GHz, like not all N devices do 5GHz. It's the difference between 802.11abgn and 802.11bgn devices (the 'a', representing 802.11a, only works on 5GHz, and there isn't a 5GHz N device that doesn't support A as well)

The reason for the letters is because they're the substandards - 802.11 is WLAN (1/2Mbps on 2.4GHz or IR). a is 54Mbps over 5GHz, b is 11Mbps over 2.4GHz, ... g is 54Mbps on 2.4GHz, etc. etc. etc.

Each committee gets a new latter, and they already used a-z, and aa, ab was also used for something. This new spec is thus 802.11ac.

Since the naming scheme generally follows standards order, it would be
802.11abgnac, and 802.11bgnac (2.4GHz only).

Or, add slashes - 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and 802.11b/g/n/ac

Re:Bad Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012163)

FYI 802.11ac is 5ghz ONLY. Any router that supports 11ac must have a 5ghz radio as the spec is not supported on 2.4ghz. Just like 11a.

Re:Bad Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012713)

I propose 802.11bagel, for no other reason than a good acronym has to make a word to be memorable.

Duh. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 10 months ago | (#44011739)

Duh. Of course. So what. And when you bought that walkie-talkie that advertised 2-mile range did you expect to actually get that in the mountain valley, the city, the mall? Get a tad bit real.

problems with current crop of 802.11ac adapters (2)

Aryeh Goretsky (129230) | about 10 months ago | (#44012195)

Hello,

The problem with the current crop of 802.11ac adapters is that most of them have USB 2.0 interfaces (Edimax and Zyxel each offer a USB 3.0 adapter, and Asus has a PCIe card). With 480Mbit/s of bandwidth (and that's theoretical, since it does not include serialization, 8b/10b conversions, other overhead from peripheral bus communications, etc.) no one is is going to be getting anything near a Gbit/s of bandwidth over the bus even if they do have a strong signal. They may get better data rates due to technological improvements over previous generations of Wi-Fi (fatter channels, more MIMO streams, beamforming, etc.)

That will change as more adapters enter the market (probably in the form of MiniPCIe cards inside laptops), but consumers are not going to be much better off, bandwidth-wise, then going with 802.11n gear at home until the market for 802.11ac wireless adapters matures.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

the last time I looked at the apple online-store (1)

unami (1042872) | about 10 months ago | (#44012445)

they had a footnote next to the "up to 1.3 Gbps" claim, explaining that it's "Based on theoretical peak speeds. Actual speeds will be lower.". so, thanks for this enlightening article for us people who have no clue about technology whatsoever - and don't know how a footnote works or what the phrase "up to" means either.

Thanks Apple (2)

Mr_Plattz (1589701) | about 10 months ago | (#44013415)

I'm not an Apple fanboi but do own a 2011 Macbook Air (2gb). The only real reason I still have a Desktop PC at home for web and video is because 802.11n cannot stream 1080p (at least not consistently in VLC over SMB). I do not want to buy an overpriced Apple Display for Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. So I'm stuck. I have an Ultrabook (docked to a 24" monitor) I'd like to solely use that's fast enough but it doesn't support the bandwidth I need.

Once the new Macbook Pro's are out I'll finally be able to upgrade to one of them and pair it with a new Airport Extreme (if 802.11ac can do 1080p in my apartment).

Sadly, I think at that point I will probably be masked as a fanboi even though I was really only looking for a powerful Ultrabook platform. None of which was previously possible unless I missed the marketing brochure from a boutique hardware provider (Sony) where they also started shipping 802.11ac.

Where did all these notions about range come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44018331)

If i am reading things correctly in the IEEE draft (and i like to think i can read) 802.11ac offers absolutely NO increase in ACTUAL range compared to 802.11n.

You MAY get 1 or 2 feet (and thats about it) more range due to the additional mimo i/o's. But there really isn't any big leap here at all.
And what makes matters even worse the 5ghz band doesn't penetrate through walls very well at all.

Best to stay on 802.11n until draft 802.11r is fully ratified. Anything else is just a waste of money.

ps: The guy on lifehacker who wrote about 802.11ac had it wrong from the start!

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