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.