WiFi Performance to Improve As FCC Opens Unlicensed Frequencies

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In February, the Wall Street Journal reported on the formation of a new lobbying group called WifiForward that advocated the opening up of unlicensed frequencies to alleviate Wi-Fi congestion and improve performance. The group consisted of industry partners including Google, Best Buy, Microsoft, and many others.

    On Monday, the FCC announced that it was freeing up more airwaves for Wi-Fi usage in the U.S. The WiFiForward group wrote in response to the ruling:
    The group indicates that consumer devices will be "easily" adapted to take advantage of the new 5GHz channels, and that 802.11ac will be able to take advantage of the new bandwidth.

    802.11ac or "Gigabit" Wi-Fi offers speeds up to three times as fast as existing 802.11n wireless networks. 802.11ac has been introduced into Apple's Mac line starting in 2013, and is expected to be included in the iPhone 6 later this year.

    Article Link: WiFi Performance to Improve As FCC Opens Unlicensed Frequencies
  2. macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2011
    Whoa, who knew Best Buy had such lobbying muscle?
  3. macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2010
    Pretty meaningless until the ISP's catch up. I'll take Google Fiber any time, please!
  4. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 9, 2011
    southerner trapped 'up north' (UK)
    This is excellent news, hopefully the UK will follow suit! I have fibre broadband and the new TC has negated the need for a wired connection - i have found the TC wireless AC network to be fast and reliable, and for my need replaced the need for a LAN connection. I was hoping th iPhone would also receive the ac upgrade in the iPhone 5s; news of the iPhone 6 having wireless AC is most welcome indeed :D
  5. macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2012
  6. macrumors 65816

    Mar 27, 2011
    Not meaningless at all. WiFi is used for local network transfers as well.
  7. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    also, it seems it will help for congested areas (public wifi)
  8. macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Hardware not available

    To my understanding the only way to take full advantage of this in real time is if the router is 802.11 ac. I don't think Mc Donald's & Starbuck are going to run out & buy new network equipment because apple put it in their new airs? IMO
  9. macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2012
    Im guessing firmware updates on routers will update things?
  10. macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tempe, AZ
    How much you wanna bet its not "easily enabled" on any existing or legacy apple products and will require a new replacement?
  11. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    Great. Should mean less interference in dense environments.
  12. macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Yep, I thought it was a very strange thing for tylerjamison to say as well.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2010
    Problem is a lot of these deployments need to get on 5 GHz in the first place. I can count the 5G public wifi hotspots I've seen with one hand.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2005
    Isn't this already in effect in the UK? My Virgin Media modem has 5G and 2G wifi networks which operate simultaneously, and I get noticeably faster speeds on the 5G wifi with my Retina MacBook Pro.
  15. macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    it's not meaningless. the benefit in wireless networking alone should be considerable
  16. macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    You'll need to be running routers and client devices that both support the extra frequencies. How long do you think it will take for all those firmware updates to trickle down to "commonplace", especially when most networking gear makers will prefer to make you buy a new router to get the extra functions.

    "Pretty meaningless" is actually pretty accurate.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2009

    Well not every device needs to be changed out all at once. I'm sure the cable companies monitor congestion levels in the places they have their hotspots. They only need to swap out the most congested places first.
  18. macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    Not sure why people are focusing on ISPs for. Congestion on ISP-run hotspots isn't so much an issue (everyone on the network is on the same network). It's home networks in densely populated areas were there's trouble. Many people all running wireless networks for their own personal use, broadcasting at levels where the signal reaches far beyond their own property, and trying to use the same wireless channels for their network.

    More frequency channels and less overlap between channels will help resolve the congestion more. It also would help if it was easier to adjust the output power of a transmitter so it doesn't reach out further than needed. This would allow more networks to coexist peacefully in an area and even improve network security, too.
  19. macrumors 603

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    so, is this only to ac routers, because mixed messages..

    In one sentence, it says "Consumers are already taking advantage.." which would mean N, since most people would't have AC yet, while in another sentence it noted that "its in the 5Ghz range" which would imply AC, since thy never explicit said N at all. My guess it's only to new equipment.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2014
    True, there is also the range problem that comes with higher frequencies. They really need to focus on either improving 5Ghz coverage or open up lower frequencies in the sub-2.4Ghz range.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 28, 2012
    I do not believe that any of the current iOS devices are capable of using the new 802.11ac WiFi standard. So you'll need to up grade your iOS device to take advantage of that.

    It sounds like this is good news for places like office buildings and apartment buildings where you either have a single WiFi network over a large area or many small networks clustered together.
  22. macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Never figured out why they don't just use single digit numbers for WiFi? Instead of a confusing almost identical set of digits and numbers that can confuse unless you know what is what (I'm not into knowing every detail) why can't they just say WiFi 4,5,6 etc? We use 3G, 4G and 5G and we pretty much get that at a glance.

    Lets wait for the Geek in the room to say something different.
  23. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Can you tell me what WiFi performance would have to do with ISPs?


    I can remember someone posting that his Mac displayed 31 (thirty-one) WiFi networks in his flat :-(
    That's the situation where you connect your AppleTV through Ethernet.
  24. macrumors 68000

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    This is going to kill me. I live in a building where it seems everyone is running a wifi network, so I get the occasional collisions and lose my network and have to reboot it. Having the extra bandwidth means that I could go to a channel not being used by others, especially with ac. However, that means I would need to invest in a new time capsule since my current one only supports n. And then the airport express to extend my network. And then my to ATVs (once they make one with ac). And then my two iPhones. And my wife's Mac Air. And my iPad. And the iMac.

    I think I will need a second mortgage to deal with this "good" news. :D
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    N can be implemented in 5Ghz too. It can be run in either 2.4 or 5 (or both with a good router like the AirPort Extreme and from other manufacturers).

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