This article provides an overview of the important changes that took place in going from the previous 802.11n standard to the current 802.11ac standard for the wireless LAN. Global mobile data traffic continues to experience an explosive growth, with projections of 18x growth between 2011 and 2016. This impacts the network at all stages of the delivery chain, from sources to consumers. A vital final link in this chain for mobile data is the wireless LAN, which has evolved from the first widely deployed 802.11b networks supporting 11Mbps in 1999 to the recently available 802.11ac devices (2013) supporting throughputs above 1Gbps. This paper describes in details primary improvements used to achieve the increase in throughput, such as channel bonding and multiuser MIMO. In addition, the paper also discusses other enhancements such as wider channels, static and dynamic channel access, and other PHY/MAC improvements such as higher order modulation, improved coding, and frame aggregation. The article will give readers a useful overview of these recent advances in the WLAN standards.
IEEE 802.11ac: From Channelization to Multi-User MIMO
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