Establishment of the 802.11ac and 802.11ad Standards
802.11ad and 802.11ac do not compete with each other, they compliment each other. 802.11ac dramatically increases the aggregate capacity of a single coverage cell whereas 802.11ad has a very small coverage cell but dramatically increases the throughput for an individual user.802.11ac enhances the range and propagation capabilities of 802.11n with (practically speaking) two to three times the throughput per user (perhaps 500 Mbps). 802.11ad has very limited range (10 to 30 feet) but may provide ten to twenty times more throughput per user than 802.11n (perhaps 2 or 3 Gbps!). When comparing 802.11ac and 802.11ad there’s truth in the saying, “There’s no free lunch in the physics department.” OK, so 802.11ac gives you high capacity cells and 802.11ad gives you high throughput connections. 802.11ac focuses on capacity and user density while 802.11ad focuses on maximum per-connection throughput.
Both 802.11ac and 802.11ad (along with 802.11n, etc.) are standards established by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Features and standards for 802.11ac devices are driven by the WiFi Alliance, 802.11ad by the WiGig Alliance – two different organizations. 802.11ac operates in the unlicensed 5 GHz U-NII band while 802.11ad operates in the unlicensed 60 GHz band. The WiGig Alliance and the WiFi Alliance have a cooperation agreement between them for multi-gigabit wireless equipment interoperability and compliance testing.
The Wireless Fidelity Alliance (“WiFi”) is an industry trade association that drives the adoption of high-speed wireless LANs. 802.11b,g,a, n and ac are tested and certified for compliance with the standard, compatibility and interoperability by the WiFi Alliance. The WiFi Alliance was founded in 1999 by 3Com, Aironet, Intersil, Lucent, Nokia and Symbol. Today there are close to 400 different companies that are part of the WiFi Alliance. The WiFi Alliance includes: Apple, Cisco, Comcast, Qualcomm, Aerohive, AirTight, Aruba, Google, Ruckus and more. For a complete list of WiFi Alliance member companies see: http://www.wi-fi.org/about/member-companies.
The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (“WiGig”) is an industry trade association that promotes the adoption of multi-gigabit speed wireless technology in the 60 GHz frequency band. The WiGig Alliance was founded in 2009. The WiGig Alliance includes: Broadcom, Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm Atheros and roughly 35 others – notice that these are mostly chipset vendors. WiGig is more focused on the physical implementation of the standard as compared to the more market-focus of WiFi. 802.11ad is a WiGig sponsored standard released on November 3, 2010 (Version 1.0) for data rates up to 7 Gbps. WiGig licenses HDMI technology to provide full bitrate transmission of uncompressed HD video. WiGig and VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) share technology specifications for video transfer standards. It’s very important to remember that 802.11ad is closely aligned with HDMI and provides for high speed video transfer.