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back to article Wi-Fi Alliance takes grid place, revs engine in race to 802.11ac

The Wi-Fi Alliance is now formally certifying devices conforming to 802.11ac, the 5GHz wireless standard capable of delivering 1Gb/sec, only a year after manufacturers started shipping kit. The first 802.11ac router hit the shelves back in May 2012, but it wasn't approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance – which, quaintly, still thinks …

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Silver badge

I know this is probably never going to happen but what would it take for one set of frequencies to be used for this around the world?

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Ru
Mushroom

See icon

See title.

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Bronze badge

Re: See icon

You seem to be missing icons for flying pigs and hell freezing over simultaneously. Even a nuke is likely to only tidy up some of the differing regulatory domains.

The problem with pretty much any chosen frequency band that is useful for Wifi is that it has already been licensed or allocated for other uses in one or more different parts of the world.

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Bronze badge

one set of frequencies to be used for this around the world

Whilst it would be nice to have one set of frequencies used globally, I think 802.11 (and those involved with mobile phones) have been very successful in achieving the level of frequency harmony we currently enjoy.

The in's and out's of the TV channel shuffling we're seeing in the UK to create more space for 4G is probably the most publicly visible indication of the amount of work needed to free up frequencies.

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Silver badge
Joke

ac

And there was me thinking it was wifi especially for anonymous cowards ;)

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Facepalm

Can someone explain...

the logic between the 802.11 suffixes? we've had a/b/g/n and now ac? To the layman they provide no clue as to which one is better/faster and ever since we got past 'b' seem to have been plucked out of thin (but heavily irradiated!) air...

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Trollface

Re: Can someone explain...

At a guess, they're the revision number in letters - AC being 29...I say 'at a guess' but what I really mean is I read it in the article

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Bronze badge

Re: Can someone explain...

The suffixes just represent different streams of standardisation work within the 802.11 working group. Although why 802.11 decided to use the specific suffixes I've no idea. But at least there are only 6 at the present time, long established working groups such as 802.3 have over 30 ...

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Re: Can someone explain...

Because we got to z and have wrapped round.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11#Standard_and_amendments

There is more than just your main wireless types, standardising QoS (which can apply to any of the types) is 11e, 11i is more commonly known as WPA2...

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Anonymous Coward

why change the country code of the router would be "obviously illegal"?

sorry, this might be obvious, but not to me, could perhaps someone elaborate?

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Bronze badge

Re: why change the country code of the router would be "obviously illegal"?

Basically because not all radio channels specified in the standard are supported by all radio regulatory bodies around the world, the locking of the radio through the region code enable vendors to legally sell what is effectively the same router in different regulatory areas. The router is locked because it is deemed to be 'fixed' and hence least likely to roam outside of the region it was purchased in.

Taking an 802.11g router for example, routers sold in North America can only transmit on channels 1 to 11, Europe also permits the use of channels 12 & 13 and Japan 12 to 14. Which is why for 802.11b/g there were effectively only three non-overlapping channels when the standard allowed for four (only usable in Japan).

One side effect of this is that it has permitted vendors to use region specific radio modules within a standard product, leading to some confused exchanges on support forums because people have purchased a router in one region (typically N.America), moved to another (ie. Europe) and naturally had problems gaining access to all channels permitted in that region.

A second side effect has been seen with 802.11a/b/g client adaptors (and drivers) which may also be region limited, but depending upon chipset used and driver software may or may not see and interact with routers/access points using channels outside of their home region. The 802.11d amendment provides a mechanism for the client to learn from the router which region it is in and configure itself accordingly (assuming that the client adaptor can listen on all channels specified for 802.11). Although this amendment was first published in 2001, it wasn't until 2007 that it was incorporated into the main 802.11 standard, hence the reason why some clients may not implement this capability. Minimum feature sets and Improved interoperability are key benefits of using WiFI Alliance certified equipment.

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