Apple's 2013 Macs rumored to include 802.11ac 'Gigabit Wi-Fi'

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has reportedly struck a deal with Broadcom that will place superfast 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips in its 2013 Mac lineup.

People familiar with the deal indicated to The Next Web that the forthcoming industry standard for Wi-Fi will appear in Apple's lineup this year. The so-called "5G Wi-Fi" offers up to 1.3Gbps data with a three-antenna design.

Apple has reportedly shown interest in the past of being an early adopter of 801.11ac technology, but the "Gigabit Wi-Fi" technology has yet to appear in any Macs. The new standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than 802.11n, which featured in current Macs, by using more frequency bandwidth, more efficient data transfers, and more antennas.

Time Capsule


Apple's current Macs use up to three antennas to achieve 802.11n speeds of up to 450Mbps. But the 802.11ac standard starts at 450Mbps with just one antenna, while a triple-antenna design boosts wireless speeds to 1.3Gbps.

While Apple has reportedly struck a deal with Broadcom, the chips the company will use are not yet available and remain in development.

"We have been told that if work goes according to schedule, they should be part of the new line of Mac computers," author Matt Brian wrote on Wednesday. "There is no word on whether Apple will introduce similar chipsets in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Time Capsule or other products."

Presumably Apple's networking products would receive the necessary upgrade to provide 802.11ac connectivity to the rumored 2013 Macs. That would include the AirPort Extreme Base Station router and AirPort Express portable Wi-Fi base station and AirPlay streaming device.





Apple was among the first companies to bring Wi-Fi to the masses in 1999 when company co-founder Steve Jobs debuted a wireless iBook notebook onstage as his trademark "one more thing" at the July Macworld Expo.

The company also snuck in support for the 802.11n wireless standard in some of its devices in 2006. Support for the "draft n" specification was later added to devices through an available software update. The 802.11n standard was formally ratified in October of 2009 ??nearly three years after Apple began rolling it out.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.
  • Reply 2 of 59
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    LTE on the laptops would be great, too
  • Reply 3 of 59
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    LTE on the laptops would be nice, but I would hope if they do that they give you a choice to switch between carriers and not be locked into only ever using Verizon, At&T, Sprint or whatever. The LTE chipset would have to be larger but since it is a laptop and not a phone there should be enough room to carry more frequencies. Not to mention when you travel to other countries and would like to use LTE overseas as well.
  • Reply 4 of 59
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    I like this new standard.  Sounds good.  .ti ees to evila eb tnow I  But good things always come to those who wait right.  LOL.

  • Reply 5 of 59
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,195member
    ifij775 wrote: »
    LTE on the laptops would be great, too

    Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,430member
    charlituna wrote: »
    Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.

    I'm inclined to agree. Additionally, offering just LTE without fallback to all the other 3G/4G techs would be very limiting.
  • Reply 7 of 59
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,430member
    What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.

    Especially with IPv6... I'd also like to see the base stations have the ability to take a settings change w/o requiring a reboot.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,736member
    Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.
  • Reply 9 of 59
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I expect early this year we'll see:
    • A new Mac Pro (or something new in its place)
    • A new Apple display that matches the new iMacs in the tapered edge, removal of FW and inclusion of USB 3.0,
    • New AirPort router(s) and Time Capsule that support 802.11ac.

    It makes no sense to update the Macs or the routers to 802.11ac unless you have both ready to go at around the same time.

    It doesn't look like any newer Mac has the 802.11ac chip installed just waiting for a driver update. At this point I wonder if I should hold off on buying a new iMac until they are refreshed to include it.

    I'm hoping Apple really beefs up their routers. Even a small family can have dozen or more devices connected. The nature of WiFi is that only device can send or receive at at a time. It's much like Token Ring in that sense except in a star topology. These consumer routers are simply being bogged down with an increasing number of WiFi devices.

    I think it would be great if they switch to a more modern ARM design, Perhaps their custom ARM chips and iOS would work. The current AirPort and Time Capsule devices are still using ARMv5 chips. Note Apple's iDevices use ARMv7 and the original iPhone started off with ARMv6. I'd think that performance to power consumption could be radically increased with a more modern chip but I'm sure there is a reason for using such old tech that I haven't considered. I'd also expect an upgrade to USB 3.0 and would hope that SATA III (TC only), and 10Gb Ethernet would finally show up but I doubt it.

    I have lost all hope in a multi-drive home server with SW for centralized media support from Apple.

    What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.

    What do you mean? A centralized way of blocking apps from making incoming and outgoing connections? Unless they make a business router I don't see why need something so robust. If you have a different take please describe.

    gwmac wrote: »
    LTE on the laptops would be nice, but I would hope if they do that they give you a choice to switch between carriers and not be locked into only ever using Verizon, At&T, Sprint or whatever. The LTE chipset would have to be larger but since it is a laptop and not a phone there should be enough room to carry more frequencies. Not to mention when you travel to other countries and would like to use LTE overseas as well.

    It's certainly possible today. I would hope that if they do it they use a removal chip, like the original AirPort cards, but that would only work if the bottom plate of the Mac notebooks remain user accessible by a few screws unless they want this to be only something Apple or an authorized specialist can do.

    If they go this route I think they'd have to include the antenna(s) and connector in all Mac notebooks just in case you want to add it, but as I write I realize they don't even include the mini-PCIe connector in 27" iMacs that don't have a Fusion Drive.

    charlituna wrote: »
    Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.

    Qualcomm's latest Gobi chips have put both flavours (TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE), along with 2G and 3G GSM and CDMA-based technologies, onto a single small chip. The only part that is lacking is number of operating bands that can be supported on a single chip, but that won't likely be an issue for long. Even now Apple has only 2 iPhones (save for NAND capacity differences) for all its carriers. For a Mac a slightly higher size, weight and power envelope won't be as critical as for an iPhone.
  • Reply 10 of 59
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.

    I thought the hula hoop was a hokey back in the day but people seemed to like the visualization. The technology is called wireless and we've all been well aware of wireless data being sent since we were children. Well, except some of the very wise members whose childhoods didn't include the invention and adoption of the television.
  • Reply 11 of 59
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,736member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I thought the hula hoop was a hokey back in the day but people seemed to like the visualization. The technology is called wireless and we've all been well aware of wireless data being sent since we were children. Well, except some of the very wise members whose childhoods didn't include the invention and adoption of the television.

    Awe the hoop was supposed to be hokey! LOL
  • Reply 12 of 59
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Awe the hoop was supposed to be hokey! LOL

    The crowd seems to like it but that might be a continuation of what I was thought was a brilliant presentation of picking it and moving it.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    ecsecs Posts: 307member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I expect early this year we'll see:


    • A new Mac Pro (or something new in its place)


    • [...]



     


    Yes, please. I'm too bored of iOS stuff. Please a new Mac Pro, or an alternative. An update to the Mac Mini with a discrete GPU would be helpful too, although I don't trust to see it soon.

  • Reply 14 of 59
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,627member
    I'm with the LTE crowd!

    Unless you are at home, I'm finding LTE to be far more useful as I travel about town. Open and reliable WiFi connections don't exist any more. Yes it cost money and I do use WiFi when I can, but honestly WiFi has never lived up to the promise of on the go connectivity around here. The fact is I hardly use my laptop any more outside of the home or a couple of places with well known good WiFi connections.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    WiGig is used mainly for short-range devices such as monitors, docking stations, and media-rich devices. Since Apple already uses Thunderbolt as a docking solutions, I assume Apple has other applications in mind.

    Dell is one of the first manufactures to adopts WiGig on their Latitude 6430u Ultrabook...

    http://www.businessinsider.com/wigig-faster-wireless-networking-2012-10
  • Reply 16 of 59
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    karmadave wrote: »
    WiGig is used mainly for short-range devices such as monitors, docking stations, and media-rich devices. Since Apple already uses Thunderbolt as a docking solutions, I assume Apple has other applications in mind.
    Dell is one of the first manufactures to adopts WiGig on their Latitude 6430u Ultrabook...
    http://www.businessinsider.com/wigig-faster-wireless-networking-2012-10

    This is about 802.11ac. WiGig is 802.11ad.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.

    Yeah! That was classic Steve Jobs at his best... Just nonchalantly pick up the running computer and walk away... The cameraman follows behind tethered to his cables!

    This was one of the attributes that Scott Forstall exhibited -- humorous entrapment -- that I really enjoyed.

    Sigh...
  • Reply 18 of 59

    IMO, the biggest benefactor of faster WiFi in the home or office will be iPads -- and to a lesser extent iPhones.
  • Reply 19 of 59
    nhtnht Posts: 4,303member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    It doesn't look like any newer Mac has the 802.11ac chip installed just waiting for a driver update. At this point I wonder if I should hold off on buying a new iMac until they are refreshed to include it.


     


    If you need an iMac I'd buy one since they were just refreshed.  In a year you can get something like this if you really want it:


     


    http://www.everythingusb.com/netgear-a6200-802.11ac-wifi-usb-adapter-21586.html


     


    Honestly, it probably won't matter that much to you unless you regularly connect to a NAS via WiFi.

  • Reply 20 of 59
    nhtnht Posts: 4,303member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    I'm with the LTE crowd!

    Unless you are at home, I'm finding LTE to be far more useful as I travel about town. Open and reliable WiFi connections don't exist any more. Yes it cost money and I do use WiFi when I can, but honestly WiFi has never lived up to the promise of on the go connectivity around here. The fact is I hardly use my laptop any more outside of the home or a couple of places with well known good WiFi connections.


     


    Ah...use your iPhone or iPad as a hotspot?  

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