How many of us remember a time before electricity? Or the telephone? Or cable TV?
How about Wi-Fi? Like many other technology breakthroughs, Wi-Fi is well on its way to becoming as mainstream as the electrical outlet. And just like the outlet changed through the years to become safer and more energy efficient, Wi-Fi is turning a corner into a next-generation version that’s faster, more reliable and better equipped to handle not only today’s demands but the wave of future demands that will come from more users, more devices and more data.
The number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices has already grown exponentially in the last decade or so, as has the number of places where Wi-Fi is accessible. A recent survey found that free Wi-Fi was the most wanted amenity among hotel guests, beating out free breakfast and free parking. Today, the number of new devices connecting to Wi-Fi is growing far beyond the traditional PC. Smartphones, tablet computers, game consoles and the TV are among the latest to tap into the network. Next up are home appliances like thermostats, washing machines and refrigerators. The growth is so fast that researchers predict that there will be 5 billion Wi-Fi connected devices worldwide by 2014.
The onslaught of new ways to use Wi-Fi calls for something that’s faster and more reliable, powerful enough to cover a broader range and robust enough to handle more devices transmitting data-heavy content, including high-definition video.
Meet 5G WiFi — officially known as IEEE 802.11ac. At CES 2012, Broadcom introduced the world’s first 802.11ac chips, enabling gigabit connectivity where previously only megabit speeds had existed. This is a major turning point for Wi-Fi because it not only meets the growing demands of today but also helps fuel a new ecosystem of communication, entertainment and productivity for the future. Broadcom has also introduced 802.11ac chips for enterprise and wireless cloud networks, the world’s first 5G WiFi system-on-a-chip for use in the enterprise by the new generation of “unwired” workers.
Wi-Fi has certainly come a long way since being one of those “nice-to-have” technologies of the late 1990s to being a “must have” today. As such, Wi-Fi needs innovative thinkers developing technology that will allow it to grow, prosper and evolve.
While others are still just talking about development of their 802.11ac, Broadcom is accelerating the push to 5G WiFi by partnering with companies including NETGEAR and Belkin to develop products that run on 5G WiFi. Already, just a few months after the debut of Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chips, NETGEAR is selling the first 5G WiFi router and Belkin has just announced a new line of wireless routers supporting the new 802.11ac wireless networking standard. Today, Buffalo Technology announced the availability of a router and media bridge powered by 5G WiFi.
5G WiFi’s time is now and Broadcom is leading the evolution of wireless technology, ensuring that Broadcom’s next-generation Wi-Fi will enable the next generation of mobile computing.
- EE Times: Broadcom Promotes New 802.11ac Wi-Fi Standard
- ComputerWorld: Broadcom Pushes 802.11ac for Faster Wi-Fi
- PC Magazine: Netgear to Ship Next-Gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi Router in May
- Engadget: Netgear’s R6300 Router is First to Use Broadcom 802.11ac Chipset
- 5G WiFi: The Next Big Thing
- 5G WiFi Gets Vote of Confidence
- 5G WiFi, NetXtreme Ethernet win top awards at Interop