1Gbps Wi-Fi Soon Coming To a Billion Devices

Not only is 1Gbps heading for your Wi-Fi network by next year, it will be instantly über popular. The new 802.11ac 1G Wi-Fi standard hasn't even been ratified by the IEEE yet and In-Stat predicts that by 2015, consumers will have bought nearly 1 billion devices that use it.  1G Wi-Fi, which will use radio spectrum in a range below 6GHz, will be embedded in mobile phones, e-readers and automotive infotainment systems, the study reports. It further predicts:
  • Mobile devices with embedded Wi-Fi will make up most of the market. In 2015, shipments of mobile phones with embedded Wi-Fi are projected to approach 800 million.
  • By 2015, In-Stat projects that 100% of mobile hotspot shipments will be 802.11ac-enabled.
  • E-readers Wi-Fi attach rates will increase from 3% in 2009 to 90% by 2015.
  • In 2012, Wi-Fi automotive shipments will reach nearly 20 million.

Think of all the fun you and this Borg could have with 1G Wi-Fi.

Note that the standard that will bring all this speedy delirium to mobile device users is still very much a work in progress.

"The timing for 802.11ac approval is to have a draft standard created by 2011 and have the first 802.11ac products out by the end of 2012," said Frank Dickson, In-Stat vice president of research in a statement. "The technology behind 802.11ac has not been finalized. However, it will likely involve bonding four or even eight channels together and some tweaks to the modulation scheme."

As appealing as that bandwidth sounds, not many consumers will be able to take full advantage of it by 2015. That's because the choke point will be the wire leading into the house. High-speed DSL tends to top out at 3 to 7 Mbps and although cable claims to offer up to 20 Mbps, it often hovers nearer to 5 Mbps. Even if your house regularly achieves max speeds of 20 Mbps, that's still a far cry from 1000.

On the other hand, if it doesn't cost a premium to get 802.11ac on your device, it's worth having, if only to stream your own stored media around the house at super-fast speeds, and to claim my- Wi-Fi-is-faster-than-yours bragging rights.