802.11ad: Progress at Last

I had high hopes for 802.11ad two years ago – and with Cisco now in the game, it looks like my faith has not been misplaced.

Almost two years ago, I wrote in these pages of my fondness for 60-GHz. radio, and my belief that .11ad would eventually play a major role in wireless LANs and not just outdoor point-to-point links, HDMI cable replacement, and short-range docking solutions. While the excellent progress I hoped for in 2012 did not materialize, we are in fact now seeing .11ad in a few products from Dell, and, with an announcement this week, Cisco, yes, that Cisco, is getting into .11ad big time.

Specifically, 60-GHz. leader Wilocity and Cisco are working together on tri-band (2.4, 5, 60) solutions that I'm assuming will result in 802.11ad appearing in Cisco APs at some point in the future. Cisco has made a small investment in Wilocity as well. Since 802.11ad APs are the major missing link at present, this is very good news indeed. Yes, 802.11ac is still going to be the mainstream technology for the next few years, but just you wait. When 5 GHz. gets crowded, and it will, the huge amount of spectrum available at 60 GHz. is going to look mighty good indeed. And advances in 60-GHz. technology will at least partially address the essential issues with respect to range and directionality, so power users will likely want to jump on the 60-GHz. bandwagon as soon as those anticipated APs are ready.

So, yes, I still believe in 802.11ad. Now, in fact, more than ever.

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