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The latest IEEE Wi-Fi standard, which was designed to improve wireless services in the enterprise as well as support multiple streams of HD video in the home. Also known as "Gigabit Wi-Fi" and "5G Wi-Fi," products became available in 2012 before the standard was approved in early 2014.

Operating only in the 5 GHz band, devices are backward compatible with 802.11n, which is expected to co-exist with 802.11ac until the 2020s. An 802.11ac access point employs beamforming, which uses feedback to aim the transmission more directly to the receiving device. The second generation Wave 2 supports multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO) with a total of eight simultaneous streams and up to four per client. See 2.5/5G Ethernet, 802.11n, 802.11ad, OFDM and QAM.

802.11ac and 802.11n SPECIFICATIONS     11ac         11nBand  5 GHz       2.4/5 GHz

 Modulation    256-QAM       64-QAM

 MaxAntennas     8             4

 Channel MHz   20, 40,      20, 40
               80, 160

 11n(40 MHz channels)1 stream                   150 Mbps
 2 streams                  300 Mbps
 3 streams                  450 Mbps
 4 streams                  600 Mbps

 11ac Wave 1(80 MHz channels)1 stream     433 Mbps
 2 streams    867 Mbps
 3 streams    1.3 Gbps

 11ac Wave 2(160 MHz channels)1 stream     867 Mbps
 4 streams    3.39 Gbps
 8 streams    6.77 Gbps
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