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Netgear today announced the industry’s first 802.11AC WiFi router, the Netgear R6300. The dual-band gigabit WiFi router is backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n for interoperability with legacy WiFi devices. Powered by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi IEEE chips, its said to be three times faster than older, 802.11n routers.

The 802.11ac wireless standard uses the 5 GHz band and gangs multiple channels together. The new WiFi A/C standard uses wider RF bandwidth — up to 160 MHz, if 8, 20 MHz channels are ganged together. The new standard also features the option of more MIMO spatial streams (up to 8), multi-user MIMO, and high-density modulation (up to 256 QAM).

Netgear’s new WiFi router is said to deliver speeds up to 1300 Mbps on 5GHz and 450 Mbps on 2.4GHz, enabling consumers to download web content from any device in the home in a fraction of the time it would take on an 802.11n device.

The Netgear R6300 has two USB 2.0 ports and uses 802.11 b/g/n on the 2.4 GHz band, with IEEE a/n/ac on the 5 GHz band. It has five 10/100/1000 (1 WAN and 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports with auto-sensing technology. The Netgear R6300 WiFi Router will be available in May starting at $199.99.

Broadcom announced their enterprise 802.11ac Chips at CES this January. Broadcom said their “5G” WiFi system-on-chip is 3x faster and 6x more power efficient than previous generation 802.11n solutions. It’s interoperable with legacy 802.11 technologies, and is designed to address growing demand for Gigabit speeds in enterprise.

The new 802.11ac standard utilizes the 5 GHz band exclusively and is 3-4 times faster by ganging multiple 20 MHz channels together. The 802.11ac draft, also known as 802.11 VHT (Very High Throughput), uses the existing 5 GHz Wi-Fi band with wide 80 MHz or 160 MHz channels, improved modulation, and simultaneous multi-user MIMO for throughputs above 1 Gbps.

The dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) IEEE 802.11ac draft 3 x 3 compliant MAC/PHY/Radio supports 3 x 3 antennas for date rates up to 1.3 Gbps, with embedded hardware acceleration.

The next WiFi standard will be 802.11ad, which would add the unlicensed 60 GHz band to Wi-Fi.

Analyst ABI Research claims the transition to IEEE 802.11ac standard wireless will occur rapidly, with devices utilising the new standard emerging in 2012, with market dominance by 2014.

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