It has been relatively silent for a while on how Wi-Fi is going to develop now that the 802.11n standard has become widely accepted. But behind the scenes, companies in the IEEE are silently working on the next generation of the standard with first and interesting results.
Perhaps they have run out of single letters as the next version of the Wi-Fi specification will be called 802.11ac. Wikipedia contains an interesting entry on the enhancements and links to a current draft specification of the IEEE. The link is pretty interesting as it is the first time I see the IEEE publish drafts in public. Previously, things were kept inside the IEEE community until things were finished. A new openness?
Anyway, so here’s the features currently under development:
Wider channel bandwidths
The initial 802.11b, a and g standards were defined for channel bandwidths of 20 MHz. 802.11n then introduced channel bundling to 40 MHz. While this in theory doubles the available data rate, the issue especially in the 2.4 GHz band is that foremost in cities there many access points are on air and an enlargement to 40 MHz makes it even less likely that one can find an unused spot in the band.