Skip to main content

USB Wi-Fi Adapter 101

Wi-Fi 802.11ac

802.11ac introduces other innovations and advancements to Wi-Fi. These include:

  • Dedicated 5GHz bandwidth. While the range of 5GHz is typically less than 2.4GHz, the 5GHz band is significantly less congested and faster - two advantages that make it worth using.
  • While 802.11n channel bonding maxed out at 40MHz, 802.11ac offers this at 80 and even 160MHz. Recall that bonding is the method by which a single 20MHz channel can be combined with other channels to create a multilane highway to enhance data transmission speeds.
  • 802.11n used 64 QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation); 802.11ac increases this to 256 QAM, which is 33% more efficient.
  • 802.11n MIMO (multiple in/multiple out) maxed out at four spatial streams, while 802.11ac doubles this to eight, doubling data throughput.