For quite sometime now, the fastest wireless speed commonly available has rested squarely on the shoulders of the 802.11n protocol. With it’s MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology, network devices transmitting signals using the 802.11n (more commonly referred to as “Wireless N”) protocol possess the ability send and receive data between 300 Mbps and 450 Mbps. Now that’s pretty fast (much faster than the previous 802.11g protocol which operates at 54 Mbps), but watch out Wireless N … there’s a new sheriff in town.
The IEEE is currently developing the next member of their 802.11 family: the 802.11ac protocol. This yet-to-be-nicknamed protocol (we propose ACya) promises to deliver blistering wireless speeds of 1 Gbps or more. Yes, that’s a “G” for gigabit. The mind boggles when thinking about what one could do with wireless transfer rates of a gigabit per second. How about transferring a full-length HD movie in just a few minutes? Or transferring the latest video game in the time it takes you to pop open a can of Mountain Dew and reheat a few slices of pizza. Not too shabby.
Now, you might have noticed we used the word “transferring” instead of “downloading” in the previous few sentences. Unfortunately, while these speeds are available to devices communicating on the same physical network, they’re not available to the common home user wanting to surf the Internet at such a gnarly pace. And it’s all because of one very big … or should we say small … bottleneck.
Sadly, most broadband Internet service providers have lagged when it comes to increasing the speed of their networks. Common home user broadband speeds in the USA range from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find a provider offering 20 Mbps. But what good are 450 Mbps routers when all that’s being delivered to them is 10 Mpbs. Essentially, your router and your Internet service provider are having the following conversation:
Router: “What’s up, Service Provider? Great to see you. I’m ready for some 450 Mbps fast balls so me and my home owner can witness the true speed of the Internet.”
Service Provider: “I’m sorry. I’m ooooold and slooooow. I wish I could throw you some fast balls, but the best you’re gonna get from me is an underhand lob.”
Well our friends at Google aim to change that. Thanks to their forthcoming Google Fiber service, residents in the Hanover Heights neighborhood (including the KCSV) who subscribed to their service will soon see a big, fat 1Gbps pipe coming straight into their home. That means even the speedy Wireless N routers won’t be able to keep up with the supersonic speeds of Google Fiber.
Thankfully, some network hardware manufacturers have seen the light and are already producing and distributing wireless routers which support the new “ACya” protocol. One such manufacturer is Netgear. With their new R6300 router and A6200 USB adapter, Google Fiber subscribers who own this awesome combination of networking power will be able to wirelessly surf the Internet at gigabit speeds.
All aboard! The Google-Netgear-ACya bullet train is about to depart…