802.11AC limited by device

All new 802.11ac devices will support older Wi-Fi technologies such as 802.11n-equipped laptops

Tags: Fluke Networks
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802.11AC limited by device Werner Hereen from Fluke Networks says even with legacy equipment, 802.11AC improves performance.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 12, 2013

All new 802.11ac devices will support older Wi-Fi technologies such as 802.11n-equipped laptops or even an old 802.11g network bridge, according to Fluke Networks. However, if 802.11ac AP’s are deployed and used with an 802.11 a/b/g/n device, speed will be limited to the older device’s speeds.

According to Fluke Networks the new wireless standard, 802.11ac, has been designed to be fully compatible with 802.11a and 11n client radios. If an 802.11ac AP operates on a wide 80MHz channel, RF media controls are transmitted on the ‘primary’ 20 MHz channel in 11a format. This allows an 802.11a/n client to operate on an 802.11ac AP. However, 802.11a clients can only transmit on 20 MHz channels, and 802.11n on 20 or 40 MHz channels. Therefore, when an 11a client transmits to an 11ac AP, the 80 MHz channel must fallback to 20 MHz. It must fallback to a 40 MHz channel to accommodate an 11n client. This means that an 11ac client must wait for the slower transmissions of an 11a or 11n client before it can transmit, thus slowing down performance.

“Even with these conditional impacts on performance from legacy clients, an 802.11ac AP network will provide overall better performance in terms of throughput and user capacity,” says Werner Heeren, regional sales director, High Growth Markets, MEAT, Fluke.

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