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Networking The Internet Wireless Networking

802.11ad Will Knock Your Socks Off, Says Interop Panel 174

Posted by timothy
from the but-magnum-will-blow-them-all-away dept.
alphadogg writes "While the Wi-Fi world is rightly abuzz over the rapidly approaching large-scale deployment of the new 802.11ac standard, experts at an Interop NY panel said this week that the 802.11ad standard is likely to be even more transformative. '802.11ac is an extension for pure mainstream Wi-Fi,' said Sean Coffey, Realtek's director of standards and business development. 'It's evolutionary. ... You're not going to see dramatically new use cases." By contrast, 802.11ad adds 60GHz connectivity to the previously used 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, potentially providing multi-gigabit connection speeds and dramatically broadening the number of applications for which wireless can be used."
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802.11ad Will Knock Your Socks Off, Says Interop Panel

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  • So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:08PM (#41564739)

    And the signal range will be abysmal.

    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dinfinity (2300094) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:23PM (#41564859)

      Yes, apparently replacing wires is the general idea of the 802.11ad:
      http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57326718-264/wilocity-60ghz-wireless-revolution-begins-at-ces/ [cnet.com]

      Or wireless point to point line of sight commercial connections:
      http://www.bridgewave.com/products/60ghz.cfm [bridgewave.com]

      • by TheLink (130905)
        What's the security like? WiFi security has been abysmal for a long time. Unlike stuff like https, with WiFi you can't have encrypted but somewhat anonymous connections.

        Stuff like WPA2 PSK is crackable, going to the "Enterprise" version of WPA2 requires RADIUS, usernames and passwords[1].

        [1] In theory you could have a standard "anonymous" username and password for public "secure" WiFi networks but I don't see as standard for it.
        • WPA2 PSK is crackable

          Only if you use pre-shared keys. If you don't and your password is not a standard dictionary word AND the wireless access point doesn't allow connections from an unknown mac (sure you could spoof a known one... that is also still communicating with the WAP. Won't end well), there is no practical way for your wireless access point to be hacked. At least not yet.
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:39PM (#41565353) Journal
      Your tin-foil hats will finally be effective!
    • mesh networks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by currently_awake (1248758) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @12:08AM (#41566015)
      With this level of bandwidth you could network a city (router to router directly, no ISP) and still get usable network speed.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FrankDrebin (238464) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:19AM (#41566235) Homepage
      Not sure why this is modded funny. 60 GHz is license-free because oxygen is opaque at that frequency [wikipedia.org].
      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pikine (771084) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @11:22AM (#41568127) Journal
        My apartment is in a high rise that has concrete walls between rooms, and 5GHz is already having issues penetrating that. The wavelength is about 6cm and the wall is double the thickness. It works great in the same room with the WiFi access point, but the one next to it suffers severe signal loss. I imagine the EHF band is strictly same-room only---even a thin sheet of glass would entirely block the milliliter wave---so being attenuated at 10db per kilometer by oxygen and water vapor at 60GHz isn't a great deal.
    • by Casandro (751346) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:31AM (#41566261)

      Depending on your situation, the signal range of WLAN can often be far to great. If you get WLAN to work only within a single room, you can have a new "cell" in every room. Which means you can have way more cells and serve more people at a higher bandwidth.

      When you actually need more range, you can always use directional antennas. Of course 60 GHz is attenuated quite a bit by air, so it's certainly unsuitable for outside microwave links.

      • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @02:53AM (#41566425)

        I don't know why the consumer market would be excited for it, though. The main use of WiFi is networking of devices in separate room/floors of a house without having to go to the expense of running actual Cat5 all around. According to Wikipedia these waves would be line-of-sight only. And if everything's in the same room unless it's a portable device my feeling is I might as well just use ethernet and get a more reliable, lower latency connection instead.

        • by Casandro (751346)

          Well for the consumer market wired Ethernet certainly is an alternative. However think of conferences. Putting an access point up high near the ceiling in every room will get you decent coverage.

        • by neokushan (932374) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @04:46AM (#41566673)

          I'm guessing the main bit would be this:

          The idea is that the localized but high-bandwidth 60GHz network can be used for specific, highly demanding tasks, keeping the standard 5GHz frequency free for normal use

          This opens up quite a bit in terms of devices doing things like screen sharing. Say you've got a laptop or a tablet PC and you want to share the picture to your TV - you can do that today (without cables) using your wireless, but it's fairly bandwidth heavy - you won't be able to do a lot of it without affecting your network's throughput. Contrast to this, where 60Ghz offers a lot of bandwidth that's localised, you can share UHD streams to your TV without even touching the wider range of 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. Hell, you could probably clone a HDD to a network share wirelessly and quickly without ever affecting the other devices and even if you really are hammering the 60Ghz, someone in the next room doing the same will be largely unaffected as the range isn't that far.
          Of course, I'm assuming the 60Ghz will be point-to-point as opposed to the Star pattern that the average wifi network uses.

        • by Lennie (16154)

          Well, if you can put a couple of access points around the house with roaming it wouldn't be to bad.

          Obvious problem then is price.

          • by Lennie (16154)

            Forget I even mentioned it, this new frequency probably sucks are penetrating walls.

    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gshegosh (1587463) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:33AM (#41567005)

      And the signal range will be abysmal.

      So what. If the range is 2-5 meters and bandwidth is in Gbps, it has a potential to remove the cable clutter from my desk, allows me to connect my laptop to my TV just by sitting in front of it and I don't have to worry too much that my neighbours will do man-in-the-middle.

  • 802.11ad after 802.11ac could potentially be a sign that we will start following the alphabet for subsequent releases of 802.11 wifi standards. That on its own would be a good reason to adopt it - just to straighten out the alphabet soup that was previous wifi standards.
    • To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...

      eight oh two eleven (sigh) will you 'b' or 'c' or 'g'?
      Up above the router high, incompatible handshake wifi.
      Then my bandwidth sucked so dry, a bigger amplifier oh and my.

      eight oh two eleven (sigh) will you 'n' or 'a' 'c', god why?
      Hundred dollars that's too high, to maintain compatible wifi
      when my neighbor goes to buy, the next great thing to make it die

      Twinkle twinkle, my wifi, how I wonder why I try...

    • by dohzer (867770) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:37PM (#41564949) Homepage

      I'm sure there's not going to be a massive amount of confusion between 802.11a and 802.11ac or 802.11ad. People are far too tech-savvy these days!

    • by MinutiaeMan (681498) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:57PM (#41565097) Homepage
      I hope not; I want to see them get to 802.11wtf someday soon! (And, looking at the Wikipedia list [wikipedia.org] of 802.11 standards, there are already some planned for after "ad".)
      • Me, I'm planning for the high-def video streaming service that will be offered over 802.11ad - the so-called "ad-HD" format. Supports lightning-fast channel switching.
        • by sn00ker (172521)
          Unfortunately it can't stay set to one channel for more than a few sec... ooh, look, bicycles.
  • by Kid Zero (4866)

    So... should I keep waiting? I haven't gone up to "N" yet, even. Now we have ac coming, and ad on the board. Yeesh.

    • Re:Lord. (Score:5, Funny)

      by bugs2squash (1132591) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:21PM (#41564837)
      you don't have ac ? How do you charge your phone ?
    • Re:Lord. (Score:5, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:32PM (#41564921) Journal

      If the speeds of G are good enough for you, don't bother upgrading. N gets high-speed from a lot of tricks that aren't very nice, like double-sized channels, multiple radios (which cheap receivers skimp on), etc. This was supposed to be okay because people were supposed to only enable double-wide channels on the 5Ghz band, but some devices only support the lower frequencies to begin with, and they certainly don't stop you from stomping on those 2.4ghz channels, trying to get extra speed you probably won't see, anyhow...

      Even many devices sold today are G-only, from my cell phone, to my wireless PTZ surveilance cameras, etc, etc.

      • Re:Lord. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:05PM (#41565157) Homepage
        The problem with wireless is that the range sucks. 802.11n has a maximum speed of 600 mbps but I've never been able to get anywhere close to that. The speed is respectable if I'm standing right next to the router, but if I'm 2 floors away (router in bottom floor of 3 storey no basement house) then the speed is just atrocious. 60 GHz won't travel that far anyway. The only thing that's good for is when you're right next to the router, which means you might as well have a wired connection.
        • The problem is that the range is too good I'm currently getting interference with from a dorm full of wifi routers and devices a half mile away....

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            For a dorm room, a 60GHz router should be just great, since you don't have to worry much about range. But when you have a house, or worse, you're in an office building, range becomes much more important, plus the ability to penetrate many walls. No one wants an access point in every room of their house.

        • exactly this. what is the point of having a small narrow hot spot of very fast speed? are people really too lazy to plug in a cable when they need to transfer tons and tons of data quickly? what use case is there for cutting the wire but forcing the wifi device to be in the same small area?

        • The problem with wireless is that the range sucks. 802.11n has a maximum speed of 600 mbps but I've never been able to get anywhere close to that. The speed is respectable if I'm standing right next to the router, but if I'm 2 floors away (router in bottom floor of 3 storey no basement house) then the speed is just atrocious. 60 GHz won't travel that far anyway. The only thing that's good for is when you're right next to the router, which means you might as well have a wired connection.

          Perhaps you should add more APs or move to a more wi-fi friendly house? I live in a one level open plan house and get good coverage from anywhere on my regular sized property. I would never expect wi-fi to work through solid walls let alone floors. Perhaps you're expecting too much?

          • OP needs to move his router to the middle of his house, at a high spot on the 2nd floor, maybe 3rd. When I had a 2 story house I put my g router at the top center of the 2nd floor, and not only got great reception all around the house, I got it all around the block.

            Leaving your router on the floor under your desk is a great way to get lousy performance!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cats-paw (34890)

          60GHz might travel farther than you think.

          an antenna at 60GHz is about 2.5mm, and that's for a basic dipole....

          you can easily put multiple antennas on a device, which means you can use beam-forming and get some very tasty antenna gain, maybe on the order of 12 to 15dB.

          there are a whole lot of if's attached to that since it depends on a very solid baseband implementation, but theoretically the use of phase array antennas/beam-forming could negate the much higher path loss.

      • by cats-paw (34890)

        not quite right. N and AC and eventually AD use MIMO which is physically separate transmitters and receivers, i.e. multiple channels.

        MIMO doesn't quite get N x (transmitters/receivers) of performance, but it comes pretty close.

        AC simply provides for even wider channels than N, i.e. 80 and even 160 MHz channels, but still uses MIMO. It also has a crap load of protocol stuff in it too.

        _theoretically_ having multiple receivers would give you a distinct improvement in performance through receiver diversity, b

  • Means exactly dick. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:20PM (#41564829)

    Look, the problem isn't available bandwidth, it's the fact that it's unlicensed bandwidth. Which means part 15 of the FCC rules; "device must accept any harmful interference..." Sure, right now there's only one set of devices and one standard for that frequency range, but give it time. A bug or problem will be discovered. A new protocol will need to be released. Someone will discover some new way of squeezing out just a few more drops of speed -- and it'll be incompatible. And because it's all running on the same frequency, there will be contention. Eventually, the entire situation de-evolves into the same thing that happened with CB radios: You got truckers with kilowatt-rated amplifiers and no equipment certification; There's bleed over from one channel to the next, tons of static, and people running such ridiculously overpowered and marginally functional equipment that it makes sticking your head in a microwave look downright safe compared to sitting next to some of those rigs.

    It happened with 802.11b, when we switched to g. Then n was released, and it oblitherated b and g. Then manufacturers released the "turbo" modes, which ate up even more bandwidth. And nevermind all the wireless keyboards, mice, phones, wireless gamer headsets, and home audio systems, all ALSO operating on the same frequencies, each using different encoding schemes. Pretty soon you've got hackers wiring up coax and tin cans, slapping on several watt amplifiers, raising the black flag and saying "Fuck da police!" and blasting a microwave beam 50 miles, and self-sterilizing their manhood from the near field RF...

    Face it guys: We need regulated airspace. We need black vans. We need licensing, and a watchdog group so if someone doesn't play nice -- it's knock, knock, and goodbye offending equipment (and possibly neighbor). And we need to mandate sunsetting of equipment periodically to maintain inter-device compatibility and spectrum integrity.

    The "wild wild west" wifi is a disaster in dense urban areas. You're lucky if you can get 20 feet from the router before the signal goes to hell in some places.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:13PM (#41565219)

      > You're lucky if you can get 20 feet from the router before the signal goes to hell in some places.

      Ohai. I'm a San-Franciscan. I live in an apartment building in North Tenderloin, and can see ~15->30 802.11g APs, most of which are screaming on channel 6. I have a bog-standard 802.11g router sitting in my window, which serves my apartment very well, and can reach the bus stop, and the nearby coffee shop ~150 feet away.

      > It happened with 802.11b, when we switched to g. Then n was released, and it oblitherated b and g.

      What? b, g, and n all co-exist. I say this as an operator of an abgn AP that has devices from all of those flavors of 802.11 connected simultaneously.

      > Eventually, the entire situation de-evolves into the same thing that happened with CB radios...

      I grew up with a CB radio in our family vehicles, and had one in the van that I drove as a teenager. The situation you describe is neither the one that exists today, nor is it the one has existed for the past fifty years.

      > Face it guys: We need regulated airspace. We need black vans. We need licensing...

      There are many ISPs that use unlicensed microwave spectrum for long-to-medium wireless backhaul links. These guys are doing very well, and don't run into the doomsday situation that you've described. For short-haul wireless, unlicensed 802.11 works fine. But, don't be a cheapass, buy 5Ghz gear! You get better range, and 802.11n has more space to do the frequency multiplexing stuff that makes it reach 100->200mbps.

    • by CaptBubba (696284)

      A good bit of trouble could have been avoided if 802.11n had been made 5GHz only. The 2.4GHz spectrum was simply too crowded already and never offered enough non-interfering channels anyway. In a dense environment the limited propagation distance of 5GHz is a GOOD THING. From my apartment I can "see" 27 APs in the 2.4GHz band, many of them running the 40MHz mode which effectively occupies the entirety of the spectrum. I can see three 5GHz APs, one of which is mine.

      The problem we face now is that because

      • by RulerOf (975607)
        I wish I could use 5 GHz all the time for my iPad, but for some reason, the brick wall on the outside of my house prevents me from getting a signal from a router that--while on the other side of said wall--is only about 12 feet away.

        The 2.4 GHz works just fine though....

        Then again... I seem to recall reading that the iPad 3 had a super shitty wireless implementation... either the antenna, or the radio... not sure. But that definitely sounds right, considering my issues/
    • The higher your frequency, the worse your range/penetration. You can see the difference even with 2.4GHz vs 5GHz. In my place, I can get full signal bars in my bedroom with 2.4GHz, but only 2 or so with 5GHz, from the same router. For a more extreme example look at the Navy's Seafarer system, which operated at 78Hz, and literally penetrated the entire earth, and compare it to visible light, which is 100s of THz, and is stopped by any solid substance.

      60GHz does not have very good penetration.

      • Re:That and (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:44PM (#41565391)

        compare it to visible light, which is 100s of THz, and is stopped by any solid substance.

        In general good points, but my glasses beg to differ on this last one.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Face it guys: We need regulated airspace. We need black vans.

      Most spectrum is exactly that. Want to use some? Call your friendly local AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:13PM (#41565557)

        Most spectrum is exactly that. Want to use some? Call your friendly local AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

        So is ham radio, and a section of bandwidth used for emergency services that uses the same standards as wifi, even the same equipment, just moved the frequencies. Guess what: They all work fine, at higher power levels, because there's a central authority to regulate it.

        Regulation doesn't mean private control; It means there are rules, and punishments if you violate those rules. You can regulate access to a public resource. It's done every day.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Here's a question... do you think wifi is messed up in cities because somebody is running bum devices? Or is there simply too much demand for a shared resource? 802.11 in all its varieties isn't that badly designed is it?
    • You will love these charts!

      --> US Cellular Frequency chart --> http://www.qrctech.com/assets/Frequency-Chart/19Nov201024x36FreqChart.pdf [qrctech.com]

      --> US Radio Wave Frequency Allocation Chart --> http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/2003-allochrt.pdf [doc.gov]

    • by adolf (21054)

      And because it's all running on the same frequency, there will be contention.

      60GHz signals don't exactly work like that. At part 15 output limits, this stuff has a hard time penetrating anything, let alone neighboring homes. In practice, it acts much more like light than the more conventional RF spectrums that we're all familiar with.

      Please allow me to speculate that the only way to make such a system work (at all) without careful physical antenna alignment and an unobstructed line of sight will be sophis

      • 60GHz signals don't exactly work like that. At part 15 output limits, this stuff has a hard time penetrating anything, let alone neighboring homes. In practice, it acts much more like light than the more conventional RF spectrums that we're all familiar with.

        I can confirm this with personal experience. I have a 60GHz wireless hdmi [engadget.com] set-up in my insanely large living room (it would have cost more for a decent quality cable run). I can make the picture "de-rez" simply by standing in front of the transmitter. I doubt that any useful signal escapes the room.

  • Name one application that needs multi-gigabit connection speeds on the client? Name one purely theoretical application that needs that kind of bandwidth? (Don't just propose insanely high res video, that's easy.)

    • by godrik (1287354)

      if latency is low: remote high definition desktop would be one of them.

      many applications are hindered by bandwidth, stuff are computed on the server side because the data are too big to be transfered to the client.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      A wireless replacement for HDMI cables. The alternative would be to compress the video signal and transmit it as say a 50Mb/s signal, but that would add latency and reduce image quality.

      I can also imagine using it for data transmission in science and industry in situations where the radio interference and the requirement of line of sight isn't a problem. Suppose that you have a camera (or some other sensor) that monitors a delicate process in a place where you don't want to run cables for whatever reason.

    • by stfvon007 (632997)

      Star trek's transporters would need a lot of bandwidth....

    • WIreless NAS.

    • Name one application that needs multi-gigabit connection speeds on the client? Name one purely theoretical application that needs that kind of bandwidth? (Don't just propose insanely high res video, that's easy.)

      This is a very shortsighted statement. There are no applications that need multi-gigabit connection speeds because there are no multi-gigabit connections. Name a single computer program that requires more than a gigabyte of ram... (pretend it's 1989 and most computers have 2MB at most)

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Name a single computer program that requires more than a gigabyte of ram... (pretend it's 1989 and most computers have 2MB at most)

        Seismic data processing. Finite element analysis. Why not just throw in the entire feild of numerical computing? There are a lot of people that would have used a gigabyte of RAM in 1989 if they could have got it. People were effectively doing that back then with disk or tape as the scratch memory.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          I probably attached this to the wrong post, since it also applies just as much to your example you were making about memory to HornWumpus's post about bandwidth. We can use that bandwidth now in numerical computing (and data aquisition) now and people could have just as happily used the bandwidth in 1989 if they could have got it.
          It's really amazing that he could be so short sighted on a day when the example of the SKA project is also on the Slashdot front page. Shame on you HornWumpus!
    • by fa2k (881632)

      There are plenty of reason why fast transfers are useful. Copying files is one example. It's often a matter of faster is better, because you are often stuck waiting for it to complete (for example if I've ripped some CDs and want them on the laptop before leaving, or if I'm downloading some multi-GB data files to work remotely before I leave work). GbE is usually fast enough to max out the CPU or hard drive, but no wireless technology exists that is not a bottleneck.

      For a home network, the 802.11ad will be

    • Open SSI cluster?

    • Name one application that needs a 12 GHz CPU.

      For future reference in making idiotic comments, your argument automatically fails when you say "don't answer this with a valid answer, because that's too easy".

  • Mostly because for most use cases it is identical, or close enough.

    So, meh.

  • How is 60GHz going to reach any relevant distance at all without frying my brain at the same time?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's relevant for eliminating cords within a room, for presentations and such. Wires are for things that don't move. More and more stuff moves around these days. Even if you just plan to rearrange stuff in a room frequently it's nice to not have it wired. Don't say but it already has a power cord, either, unless you always wrap your data cables around your power cords.

  • It will only work where buildings are made of recycled toilet paper. A 60GHz signal will not pass through real walls.
  • This has to be some of the worst versioning ever - it's been decades(?) and we're still on sub-letters of 802.11 . When does it go to 802.12 (or heaven forbid, 803?)

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