Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Wi-Fi Alliance launches 802.11ac certification program

The Wi-Fi Alliance announces its Wi-Fi Certified ac certification program, which aims to guarantee the interoperability of 802.11ac-enabled devices regardless of their hardware vendors or type of clients.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read

The new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard can't get more official than this.

The Wi-Fi Alliance today launched its Wi-Fi Certified ac certification program, paving the way for the new standard to be easily adopted and interoperate among different hardware vendors.

This is significant since the new standard offers up to three times the wireless speed of the existing and ever-popular Wireless-N (802.11n) standard, enabling support for even the most demanding applications such as Ultra HD, 4K video, multimedia, and fast file data transfer within the wireless home network.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance's recent poll, the number of Wi-Fi devices in U.S. households has doubled over the past five years, with an average of four Wi-Fi wireless devices per home. About 60 percent of Americans said that they use Wi-Fi for multimedia applications more now than they did three years ago. And among young people between 18 and 24 years old, Wi-Fi is more essential than traditional forms of entertainment, with 69 percent of respondents saying that a Wi-Fi outage would be more disruptive than a television outage at home.

Unlike 802.11n, the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard works only on the 5GHz frequency band to offer better signal quality. It also offers reduced latency, compared with previous Wi-Fi standards, allowing for better gaming and streaming experiences.

Wi-Fi Certified products are guaranteed to work well with one another, regardless of their vendors or end-user hardware clients. The Wi-Fi Certified ac products listed in this first certification include the following:

  • Broadcom BCM4360 5G WiFi Single Chip MAC/PHY/Radio for Clients and Routers
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8897 AP Reference Design
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8897 STA Reference Design
  • Mediatek Dual Band 802.11ac Reference Access Point
  • Mediatek Dual Band 802.11ac Reference STA
  • Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac 3-stream Dual-Band, Dual-Concurrent Router
  • Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac 3-stream, PCIe Client
  • Realtek RTL8197D+RTL8188AR+RTL8192CE AP/Router
  • Realtek RTL8812AE HMC card

This means that most if not all of the existing 802.11ac routers on the market are part of this certification program.