What is Wi-Fi 802.11ac?

802.11ac is a Wi-Fi networking standard which provides high-throughput Wireless Local Access Networks (WLAN) on the 5 GHz band. 802.11ac is often referred to simply as "Wireless ac" or "Wi-Fi ac", much like its predecessors 802.11a/b/g/n are referred to as "Wireless a/b/g/n" or "Wi-Fi a/b/g/n".

802.11ac is currently the fastest available Wi-Fi standard, offering the fastest data transfer speeds to your devices at home and work.


The 802.11ac standard is capable of fast speeds generally between 100 to 400 Mbps depending on your router, the client device, and the environment.

Most of the newest mobile technology built since 2015 uses 802.11ac.

An 802.11ac router allows your compatible devices to have the best Internet experience. Without an 802.11ac router, your 802.11ac compatible devices would be forced onto slower connections such as 802.11a/b/g/n (depending on you router and device compatibility).



2.4G or 5G

Theoretical Max Speed Typical Real-world Top Speed Introduced
802.11a 5 GHz 54 Mbps approx 20 Mbps 1999
802.11b 2.4 GHz 11 Mbps approx 6 Mbps 1999
802.11g 2.4 GHz 54 Mbps approx 20 Mbps 2003
802.11n 2.4 GHz 150 Mbps approx 70 Mbps 2007
802.11n 5 GHz 150 Mbps* approx 90 Mbps 2007
802.11ac 5 GHz 433 Mbps* approx 225 Mbps 2013

* indicates "per stream". 


Achieving even faster speeds:

On the 5 GHz band, the wireless N and AC standards support a technology called MIMO, meaning "multiple-input, multiple-output". Modern routers have multiple 5G antennas and can send data to multiple devices at once (to devices A, B, and C all at once... rather than A, then B, then C like older routers).

MIMO also allows the combining of multiple 5G antennas together when the device (computer, phone, etc) also has more than one 5G antenna in it. This is how certain devices can surpass the approx 225 Mbps real-world maximum of a single 802.11ac link.

If a device has two 5G antennas (sometimes referred to as a "2x2" antenna), it can bond the 2 together. The effect is best achieved when you have line-of-sight to the router and while not a perfect doubling of speed, it can be a drastic improvement.

The router we offer supports MIMO, and has 7 antennas (three on the 2.4G band, four on the 5G band) -- and most modern 3rd party routers do as well. 

Keep in mind most client devices do not have more than a single 5 GHz antenna and will not benefit from the benefits of MIMO technology, but select higher-end devices may.

Was this article helpful?
3 out of 3 found this helpful