Performance analysis of 802.11ac Access Points:
The Power of Smart Antenna Technology

After years of development, the IEEE association has approved in 2014 the 802.11ac standard amendment which finally brings the power of multi-gigabit networking to the wireless domain. This has the potential to deeply change the way people connect to the network: ubiquitous wireless access will soon make the fixed wired infrastructure obsolete.

Higher throughputs, however, require the allocation of large portions of the spectrum into few non-overlapping channels, which could make the 5GHz band very crowded all of a sudden. Co-channel interference between neighboring Access Points configured on the same channel may deeply affect the user experience.

The Wireless Networking Group at the University of Brescia partnered with ZyXEL Communications Corp. and demonstrated with the experiments reported in this document that the Smart Antenna technology is able to reduce this issue: this is enabled by a continuous reconfiguration of the radiation pattern that focusses the energy emitted by the Access Point towards its associated receivers reducing the interference that it could cause to other nodes.

The experiments demonstrate that the Smart Antenna technology has the ability to deliver a higher aggregate throughput when two neighboring APs operate on the same channel: this result designates the SA technology as key to enable the gigabit per second speed promised by the 802.11ac standard.