802.11ac Wave 2 may force Ethernet switch upgrades as early as 2015


The high bandwidth of 802.11ac Wave 2 might force enterprises to upgrade to faster Ethernet switches in 2015.

As enterprises start to adopt 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless technology in 2015, many enterprises may need to upgrade Ethernet switches to support the higher bandwidth Wi-Fi.

The 802.11acWave 2 specification can support maximum wireless speeds of 6.93 Gbps in the 5 GHz spectrum on wider, 160 MHz channels. 802.11ac Wave 1 tops out around 1.3 Gbps, depending on network infrastructure supporting the technology.
Gigabit Ethernet edge switches can handle the flows produced by Wave 1 802.11ac, but Wave 2 will require new switches to handle faster traffic.
Dell’Oro Group, based in Redwood City, Calif., recently predicted that Wave 2 technology would spur a “mini-upgrade cycle” for Ethernet-switching infrastructure, including adoption of the forthcoming 2.5 and 5 Gigabit Ethernet switches.

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