Wirelss signals around a city.

Wave 1 and Wave 2 Wireless: A Comparison

Gartner predicts that 20.4 billion Wi-Fi connected “things” will be in use by 2020. With all of these devices, businesses and homes are likely going to need a more robust wireless solution.

The majority of users are now using a Wave 1 wireless connection. And don’t get us wrong, that’s not bad. Actually, it’s pretty good. Unless the majority of your organization is using its Wi-Fi network for gaming, streaming, and the processing of large files, Wave 1 is perfectly fine. However, as more devices begin joining wireless networks, the need for a more powerful solution will increase.

In the interest of comparing capabilities, we’ve put together a list of the three areas in which Wave 2 Wireless has a larger advantage than Wave 1.


Wave 2 Wireless is, without a doubt, much faster than Wave 1. The newer solution has speeds up to 6Gbps, far outpacing Wave 1’s max speeds of 1.3Gbps. Additionally, Wave 2 has four spatial streams compared to Wave 1’s three. Device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams they have, meaning Wave 2 is much faster. Higher speeds mean that end users can process large files and access data more quickly, increasing productivity and eliminating lag time.


Bandwidth essentially means the rate at which data passes between two devices. The larger your bandwidth, the faster you’ll be able to download or stream larger files. Wave 1 Wireless uses 20, 40, and 80-MHz bonded channels in 5-GHz bandwidth, while Wave 2 Wireless uses 160-MHz on the same bandwidth, supporting additional bonded channels. For large organizations, larger bandwidth means that more devices are supported with better overall Wi-Fi performance. Think of adding more bandwidth like adding extra lanes on a highway. The more lanes (or in Wi-Fi’s case, channels) there are, the more people can get where they need to go.

Device Support

Wave 1 Wireless (otherwise known as the first version of 802.11ac) was created largely with laptops in mind. It uses SU-MIMO, which means that multiple streams of data can only be sent or received between one device at a time.

Wave 2, on the other hand, is more suitable for the demands of mobile devices as it has multi-user MIMO capabilities. This is an advantage because a wireless connection can be used to support dozens of devices all needing a high-bandwidth connection. These devices will also be able to get on and off of the wireless network more easily. Those advantages are especially useful in a business or university setting.

Next Steps

There are many advantages of switching to Wave 2 Wi-Fi: faster speeds, increased bandwidth, the ability to use more devices on a single network. All of these perks will allow your company to be more productive and host more end users on its wireless network, maximizing your ROI.

If these sound like benefits that you’re interested in, please reach out. We can help you determine if this solution is right for your business, and make the switch if it is.


Wireless Just Got Better with Wave 2

Whenever you think technology couldn’t possibly get better, it does. Let’s look at the development of the internet as an example. Specifically, wireless solutions.

Since its original creation at Xerox Parc 40 years ago, Ethernet has been the primary method of communication in the business field. However, as more and more technologies have been developed, the speed, freedom, and accessibility of internet is improving, and wireless communication has come into the picture. Today, we are interacting with wireless solutions daily. From radio, GPS, wireless USB or Bluetooth, mobile phones, laptops, wireless mouse, headphones, keyboards, printers, WiFi, satellite television, and more, the capabilities of wireless solutions have been recognized and used for years. In fact, at the end of 2015, carriers had invested over $177 billion into the wireless industry. With this in mind, it’s clear to see that the plug-in ethernet practice is losing its dominance. All these advancements and refinements have led up to the latest and greatest wireless upgrade: 802.11ac – also known as Wave 2 Wireless.

You haven’t experienced internet speed like this before.


Wave 2 Wireless is a supercharged version of its highly successful precursor, 802.11n. 802.11n was successful because it had provided businesses with the wireless connectivity speeds they needed to embrace Wi-Fi in their day-to-day operations. It let workers use wireless as their primary network medium of choice, and ultimately spurred the modern office wireless movement.

Wave 2 Wireless has not only aided in that process but made it even better. Wave 2 delivers speeds ranging from 433 Mbps (megabits per second) up to several (2.5!) gigabits per second. In order to do this, it works exclusively in the 5GHz band and uses plenty of bandwidth (80 or 160 MHz). It also operates in up to eight spatial streams (MIMO), and according to Wi-Fi Alliance, “Device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams.” So, with more streams and larger bandwidth, overall performance is much better. With all of this, you could regularly achieve the top upload/download speed allowed by your Internet provider.

Wave 2 Also Offers Freedom and Flexibility

This topic is a huge one. To begin, Wave 2 employs a kind of technology called beamforming that sends signals directly to client devices. As mentioned briefly in the previous paragraph, Wave 2 also supports multiple inputs and multiple outputs, known by the acronym MIMO. This means that the spectrum of multiple connected devices is much wider, and more and more devices can get on and off of the network. MIMO also greatly reduces the chances for interference and balances out speeds for all connected users.


What does this mean? It means you can have more and more access points. If you have multiple wireless access points, remote installations can spread over wide areas and into those hard to reach locations, contributing to the modern office wireless movement. A mobile work culture offers many, many benefits to modern companies. In contrast, traditionally wired infrastructures would be more complicated, expensive, and difficult to employ and maintain.

With the ability to easily support indoor and outdoor access points, you can sit outside or change locations and still remain connected to the internet. And, as mentioned before, Wave 2 supports additional 5 GHz channels. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, 65% of devices are now dual-band, so that means they can operate in both the 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies. So this means more devices in more places! And don’t worry, Wave 2 has much stronger security protocols, so you don’t have to worry about your data or devices getting attacked from the outside.

The Future of Wireless

In the upcoming future, more and more of our daily work lives will rely on and operate through a Wi-Fi signal. Automatic doors are already getting there, and technology in healthcare is a rapidly expanding field, so it’s only a matter of time before anything that requires wired or manual assistance is run wirelessly. In fact, Gartner (an American research and advisory firm providing information technology-related insight for IT and other business leaders) predicts that 25 billion things will be connected by wireless by the year 2020.

Wireless solutions have had the potential to revolutionize industries by adding flexibility and capability. With these advancements and the convenience that comes with them, it will not be far into the future when wireless becomes as widely adopted as traditional wired networks. And eventually, it may replace them completely!

Don’t let your business fall behind – make the switch.

Cognoscape is here to help you do just that. We will provide you with a custom IT roadmap, which we will tailor to help you succeed. We will keep you up-to-date on all the latest IT trends in various sectors of the industry (like network security, relocation, regulatory compliance, and cloud computing), especially wireless solutions. If you want your business ahead of the global pace, you need to set your company up with Wave 2 wireless, so contact the best IT security and IT support in Dallas, Texas and we’ll get you there!