"Oh you couldn't dam that river, and maybe I don't give a damn anyway." -Alice in Chains, "Dam That River"

Gigabit Wireless coming in 2012

Yesterday at CES, Broadcom debut their new 802.11ac wireless network equipment. According to Broadcom, 802.11ac will deliver gigabit speeds, wirelessly.

The new technology is not without sacrifice; namely, that 802.11ac will operate in the 5ghz range, compared to 802.11n’s 2.4ghz (or dual-band routers, which use both). 5ghz means faster speeds, but less range. I suspect for the average home owner it won’t matter much, but it might make connecting to your neighbor’s router a bit more difficult.

Gigabit networking is not cheap. Not only do gigabit (1000 Mbps) routers cost more than older 10/100 Mbps ones, but you also need quality cables to carry information that quickly — old CAT-3 or even shoddy CAT-5 cables simply won’t do. Broadcom says its wireless router will cost less than $200, with cards costing less than $100. And, the new routers will be backwards compatible with 802.11n and even 802.11 b/g cards, meaning your old equipment will work until it’s time to upgrade.

I’m still don’t trust wireless networks enough to run a server off them. My own wireless network at home has to be reset on a regular basis to stay up and running. They’re also susceptible to interference, and I wonder how difficult (or simple) it would be to create a jammer to knock a production wireless network offline?

That being said, wireless gigabit would sove a lot of issues we have today with streaming media. All those “loading” screens you see with Netflix could soon be a thing of the past.

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5 comments to Gigabit Wireless coming in 2012

  • MattW

    I’m glad they continue to innovate in wireless tech. I just spent the past few days testing and setting up the Amped Wireless range extender that you recommended. It works wonders. I had a lot of difficulty trying to find out where best to place it. After searching the web, people were saying to locate it closer to the wifi router. I moved my office upstairs which needed the range. Works great.

    Also, I agree with what you said about never trusting it with production. Interference is the main issue.

  • Emory Lehman


    Have you looked into DDWRT firmware on any of your routers? I run it on all of mine around the house and I have had no problem. My base unit has had uptime for about 3 months with no resets, etc. I am no network IT guru, but everyone is always asking me to set up their home networks and I go with DDWRT on just about any Linksys and Netgear routers.

    Emory Lehman


  • My PS3 is connected to the router by wire instead of wireless and I still get the “loading” screens on Netflix. That’s all because my Internet provider sucks. So, if I got the new wireless router I’d still get those “loading” screens.

  • Brent

    Wifi is still faster than most people’s internet connections, so that really is unlikely to be a cause of very many buffering situations on Netflix. I can stream 1080p mkv movies over wifi locally no problem. This will primarily impact local network transfers since those can still take quite awhile over wifi. I expect it is something that will be slow to be adopted by corporations too since lower range means higher cost for full coverage.

  • Jamming wireless is really easy. Defeat the safety mechanism on a microwave oven so you can leave the door open (it doesn’t even have to open very far), then turn it on. Bye-bye wi-fi.