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Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi this year

post #1 of 122
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Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called "Gigabit WiFi" to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple's Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Apple popularizes WiFi with AirPort

While Apple wasn't the first company to sell wireless devices, it was first to bring the technology into the mainstream beginning in 1999, when Steve Jobs dramatically demonstrated Apple's initial AirPort technology onstage at the July Macworld Expo as "one more thing" after showing off the company's new consumer iBook notebook.

Jobs pretended to hold his new iBook notebook up to provide a clear view for the camera operator, but he then continued to use the web as he walked across the stage to the delight of the audience that suddenly realized the new notebook had a wireless connection.



While Intel and others were promoting wired home networking schemes using landline phone wiring, Apple quickly brought WiFi into common use with support for AirPort across its Mac desktop and laptop line and its new AirPort branded base stations, making secure wireless technology both affordable and easy to use.

The WiFi technology Jobs demonstrated was second generation 802.11b; an earlier 802.11 version had previously been developed but only offered a tenth of the speed, making it less than practical for mainstream users. At the same time, 802.11b wasn't formally ratified until September of 1999, making Apple's inclusion on the iBook a forward-looking innovation. It also made the iBook the first mainstream computer sold with integrated WiFi.

In January 2003, Apple launched AirPort Extreme, its brand name for the improved 802.11g standard. While backwardly compatible with 802.11b devices, the new AirPort Extreme base station and compliant computers could now achieve wireless networking speeds up to five times faster. The 802.11g standard wasn't formally ratified for another six months after Apple released its first implementation of it.

Apple sneaks out 802.11n

In September 2006, Apple offered a sneak peek at Apple TV. It seemed immediately obvious that Apple would empower this using the new 802.11n standard, but it was widely doubted at the time that Apple could release support for the much faster new version of WiFi before the standard was ratified.

However, in January 2007 Apple announced that Apple TV did indeed use 802.11n, alongside new AirPort base stations also supporting a draft version of the still unfinished specification. The company also acknowledged that it had secretly included support for the fast new "draft n" specification in all of its previously released Core 2 Duo Macs.

Due to accounting concerns, Apple planned to charge a nominal $4.99 fee for distributing the drivers needed to activate this unadvertised hardware feature on recent Macs. After a hailstorm of caustic criticism, Apple dropped the fee to $1.99, and subsequently included the drivers into the next version of Mac OS X for free.

The 802.11n standard wasn't formally ratified until October of 2009, nearly three years after Apple began rolling it out. By May 2008, Apple was recognized by NDP Group as having a 10.6 percent share of WiFi base station sales, and AirPort Extreme was named the top selling 802.11n router in the US.

AirPort advances since 802.11n

The new 802.11ac isn't expected to be fully approved as a finished standard until late next year, but Apple is poised to adopt it well before then. Since the initial rollout of 802.11n Macs, AirPort base stations and Apple TV in early 2007, Apple has incrementally advanced support for new facets of the 802.11n specification and has also developed new practical applications tied to wireless connectivity.

In 2008 Apple launched support for 802.11n base stations and clients operating in the 5GHz band at the launch of Time Capsule. In this frequency band, WiFi devices can double their bandwidth allocation to a wide 40 MHz to allow faster networking speeds, nearly doubling the theoretical maximum. For existing Macs, this boosted top speeds from 130 to 300 Mbps.

In 2009 Apple enhanced AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule products with support for simultaneous 2.4 and 5GHz band operation and guest access.

The following year, Apple launched iPad with support for both 802.11n and 5GHz networks. iPhone 4 followed with support for 802.11n, although it could not connect to 5GHz networks.

Last year, Apple's Thunderbolt Macs silently incorporated support for three send and receive antennas, enabling them to achieve a top data rate of 450 Mbps on 5GHz networks with wide channels.




Apple also enhanced its AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule last summer, increasing their range and radio power output and adding support for new Mac's triple antennas while extending simultaneous operation to automatically use both 2.4 and 5GHz bands.

Software applications for WiFi

In addition to hardware advances, Apple has introduced a variety of technologies that focus on WiFi networking, including Bonjour-discoverable disk and printer sharing from AirPort Extreme base stations, AirTunes wireless audio distribution introduced alongside AirPort Express, and Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine backups designed to work with Time Capsule.




Last year, Apple introduced AirPlay as a replacement for AirTunes, enabling iTunes and iOS devices to wirelessly stream both audio and video to Apple TV. AirPlay Mirroring on iPad 2 and iPhone 4S enable those devices to export their primary video display to an HDTV via Apple TV.

In Mac OS X Lion, Apple introduced support for AirDrop, enabling nearby users to share files without configuring a WiFi network.

The tremendous speed gains possible with 802.11ac will continue to make Apple's wireless technologies from AirPlay to Time Machine faster and more efficient, virtually erasing any advantage in using wired network cabling in most cases.
post #2 of 122
Based on their past history and the IEEE's speed on developing the standard this seems very likely.

I would like to see much more beefy routers. As we keep adding so many more WiFi capable devices to our home networks I'm even seeing Apple's routers buckle under the strain. I wonder if an A6+iOS solution would work here.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #3 of 122
Of COURSE, having just bought the most recent revision of AirPort Extreme

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #4 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While Apple wasn't the first company to sell wireless devices, it was first to bring the technology into the mainstream beginning

Looking at the market share at the time you can hardly call it the mainstream
post #5 of 122
I Wonder if they will use this wifi 5g or Bluetooth 4.0 for their wireless surround speakers for the upcoming apple television.
post #6 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post

I Wonder if they will use this wifi 5g or Bluetooth 4.0 for their wireless surround speakers for the upcoming apple television.



Bluetooth 4.0 is a given in every future Apple device, I'd think.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #7 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Of COURSE, having just bought the most recent revision of AirPort Extreme

Here as well lol

Watching that video of Steve Jobs almost made me cry. I had to turn it off. There really will never be another man (or woman) like him.
post #8 of 122
Great. Means I'll finally replace my dead Gen 1 AppleTV with something that supports 1080p. It's why I've been waiting.

Been able to download and play 1080p IPTV content from DirecTV for months, now - but, there's much more outside of the movies D* offers that we've been restricted to watching on my iMac.
post #9 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Of COURSE, having just bought the most recent revision of AirPort Extreme

Ditto...
post #10 of 122
Good news…and it makes sense for Apple to get onboard early due to their heavy emphasis on Wi-Fi dependent functions: Airplay, AirPrint, AppleTV, iCloud…

Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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post #11 of 122
Steve: "It runs at 11Mbps!"
*Audience goes wild.*

You've got to love that. To think that was amazing only 12 years ago and now we're talking about a connection that will be almost 100 times faster...
post #12 of 122
Wonder if this will reduce the ever-so-slight lag that exists in wireless AirPlay mirroring, and if the next iPad and AppleTV will include it. Currently, an iDevice + AppleTV is this close to offering console like gaming.
post #13 of 122
Anything that makes a device faster should be priority....Apple knows that
post #14 of 122
Pretty awesome stuff. I also just bought the most recent time capsule and airport extreme- (but I could always sell them when the new ones come out).

I would expect this to come out with the next apple tv (whether it be a set top box or actual tv) along with new airports/time capsule. That'll be enough to stream 1080p without a problem.

If only we could get iTunes match to do tv shows and videos to get itune's anticipated 1080p version of my ripped DVDs.


Will we have an event of:
-new airports
-1080p iTunes videos
-one more thing, an apple tv?

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #15 of 122
10gbe would be nice, too! Pricing on it has stayed way too high, and Apple could change that.
post #16 of 122
My iPhone 4 doesn't even use both frequencies of Wi-Fi N so I won't hold my breath waiting for Apple to support multiple antennas in future iPhones.

Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #17 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

My iPhone 4 doesn't even use both frequencies of Wi-Fi N so I won't hold my breath waiting for Apple to support multiple antennas in future iPhones.

Whatever you say, Debbie Downer. \
post #18 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

My iPhone 4 doesn't even use both frequencies of Wi-Fi N so I won't hold my breath waiting for Apple to support multiple antennas in future iPhones.

Your (and my) iPhone 4 was probably designed in 2009. The recent non-rectangular-battery story hints at lots of change on the way as Apple figures out how to fit even more into smaller and smaller spaces.
post #19 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eideard View Post

Great. Means I'll finally replace my dead Gen 1 AppleTV with something that supports 1080p. It's why I've been waiting.

Been able to download and play 1080p IPTV content from DirecTV for months, now - but, there's much more outside of the movies D* offers that we've been restricted to watching on my iMac.

You have to go through some hoops and wait for it to cache, but ATV2 will play 1080p. I just got the first half of my 1080p library on my server and haven't had tons of time to noodle around with it all, but if you wanna know ... it does in fact play 1080p movies. I can answer more questions as I have time to "experiment" with my setup.
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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post #20 of 122
As great as WiFi is, if you want speed, you have to go wired. And it doesn't help that the MacBook Air Ethernet adapter is limited to USB 2.0 speeds, which is maybe 30MB/s in the best case scenario. Hopefully we'll get something better.
post #21 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

You have to go through some hoops and wait for it to cache, but ATV2 will play 1080p. I just got the first half of my 1080p library on my server and haven't had tons of time to noodle around with it all, but if you wanna know ... it does in fact play 1080p movies. I can answer more questions as I have time to "experiment" with my setup.

It plays the files perfectly fine. No changing settings, no doing anything at all. It's seamless.

It does not PLAY BACK in 1080p. It converts to 720p on the fly and outputs 720p.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #22 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Of COURSE, having just bought the most recent revision of AirPort Extreme

Sadly, me too. \
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #23 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Sadly, me too. \

I'm in the same camp, but since my ISP only runs at 8 Mbps a faster Airport Extreme really wouldn't help much. I'm getting 7.8Mbps on my n-speed wifi devices, so a 802.11ac router would currently be overkill.
post #24 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Steve: "It runs at 11Mbps!"
*Audience goes wild.*

You've got to love that. To think that was amazing only 12 years ago and now we're talking about a connection that will be almost 100 times faster...


Of course the flip side to this is that people didn't have 12 megapixel images and 1080p videos to transfer across their network at the time
post #25 of 122
In the market for a new Time Capsule. Any educated guesses as to how soon Apple might release a next gen version?
post #26 of 122
will these frequencies fry our brains even more than wifi n?
post #27 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It plays the files perfectly fine. No changing settings, no doing anything at all. It's seamless.

It does not PLAY BACK in 1080p. It converts to 720p on the fly and outputs 720p.


Unless you have a 55 inch tv and sit too close, nobody can tell the difference.
post #28 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

will these frequencies fry our brains even more than wifi n?

Like a farm fresh egg.

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GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #29 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

My iPhone 4 doesn't even use both frequencies of Wi-Fi N so I won't hold my breath waiting for Apple to support multiple antennas in future iPhones.

What's the rush to wirelessly connect your phone to an access point at gigabit speeds to the Internet that is probably real-world 5-10mb/s unless you're at a Starbucks with a bunch of other people which will drag it down even more?

While improvements are always welcomed, it cracks me up reading how people want this technology now when in the real world, they will nitice little or no improvement.

But we gotta have it now.

What do you plan on doing on that tiny phone that necessitates gigabit speeds of bandwidth?
post #30 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Unless you have a 55 inch tv and sit too close, nobody can tell the difference.

Completely and utterly wrong. Again.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #31 of 122
This will be nice to have for the future. Glad to see wifi tech getting attention in the face of 3G, 4G, and beyond cell network broadband.
post #32 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

What do you plan on doing on that tiny phone that necessitates gigabit speeds of bandwidth?

I don't care about 802.11ac or gigibit bandwidth but I would like to use full wifi-N so an extra antenna would be nice.

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post #33 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

What's the rush to wirelessly connect your phone to an access point at gigabit speeds to the Internet that is probably real-world 5-10mb/s unless you're at a Starbucks with a bunch of other people which will drag it down even more?

While improvements are always welcomed, it cracks me up reading how people want this technology now when in the real world, they will nitice little or no improvement.

But we gotta have it now.

What do you plan on doing on that tiny phone that necessitates gigabit speeds of bandwidth?

One example: transferring 1080p HD video. Which the iPhone 4S will generate in copious amounts, should you be inclined. A twelve second 1080p movie clip is a 35MB file.

Heck, any photo I take with my iPhone 4S generates a file that averages 3-4 megabytes in size.

Note that most people with broadband Internet in industrialized nations not named the United States of America have much higher speeds than what is typically found in U.S. consumer broadband connections.

Broadband Internet in Western Europe and southeast Asia blows doors on what America has.

In the same way, the faster HSPA support in the iPhone 4S is quite helpful in non-USA markets since those guys have been deploying upgraded networks, in some cases in their third or fourth iteration of 3G.

Just because you think that this technology won't benefit you doesn't mean that it won't benefit most of the rest of the world.

America is lagging in cellular telephony and broadband Internet connectivity. We see the least amount of benefit to these improvements because our infrastructure is so pathetically behind the times.
post #34 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I don't care about 802.11ac or gigibit bandwidth but I would like to use full wifi-N so an extra antenna would be nice.

Yes, you mentioned that. Ignoring the obvious speed increases of 802.11ac, sure, but you mentioned that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #35 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

Here as well lol

Watching that video of Steve Jobs almost made me cry. I had to turn it off. There really will never be another man (or woman) like him.

I loved the hula hoop bit. Steve is such a showman. Such amazing stage presence. He will be missed.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #36 of 122
This article was very well written and very informative. Thank you

I also just purchased a new Time Capsule. \. But if a newer version is truly 3x faster with materially better range, I would have to upgrade immediately. It's at the center of my house set-up

Also, good points above on how this could be part of the Apple TV platform

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Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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post #37 of 122
Sorry if my posts sounded negative. Didn't intend it to be that way but I see now they were:

Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #38 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Note that most people with broadband Internet in industrialized nations not named the United States of America have much higher speeds than what is typically found in U.S. consumer broadband connections.

Broadband Internet in Western Europe and southeast Asia blows doors on what America has.

In the same way, the faster HSPA support in the iPhone 4S is quite helpful in non-USA markets since those guys have been deploying upgraded networks, in some cases in their third or fourth iteration of 3G.

Just because you think that this technology won't benefit you doesn't mean that it won't benefit most of the rest of the world.

America is lagging in cellular telephony and broadband Internet connectivity. We see the least amount of benefit to these improvements because our infrastructure is so pathetically behind the times.

Most of the advanced countries that boast about their really fast Internet are about the size and population of New Jersey. The US is a huge place and upgrades come a little more slowly as the major carriers try to roll out the upgrades in many metropolitan areas simultaneously. Since all new utility installations in the US have to be underground it does represent a large investment to dig up all the streets to lay fiber optics. Our Internet may be slow in many suburban neighborhoods but in the commercial areas it is as fast as anywhere in the world. At my office I now have synchronous 100mb/s pure fiber to my datacenter where I have even higher speed. At home about 10 down and 5 up.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #39 of 122
Yes.. I just bought my Airport Extreme this January too.. (I'm happy with the router)

Am I A fool for doing so?

I thought internet speed depends on the cable provider, not the actual device..
am I wrong here..?

I don't know jack about what Extreme can do, I'm just happy it 'just worked' and I don't have to deal with any technical difficulty.
post #40 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Like a farm fresh egg.

get back to me in 30 years when cell phone radiation is the new tobacco.
(and no I am not equating cell phone radiation with wifi but the results are additive)
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