Apple’s 2013 Macs Will Have Faster Internet Access, Sources Say

A deal struck with Broadcom will reportedly enable 802.11ac wireless

By on January 3rd, 2013 08:00 GMT

A new rumor says Apple has been in talks with Broadcom to incorporate a blazing-fast Wi-Fi chipset in the next generation of Macintosh computers, almost tripling the systems’ maximum wireless speeds.

Regularly referred to as 5G Wi-Fi, the 802.11ac standard reportedly offers faster throughput, higher capacity, wider coverage and less battery consumption, all of which are key benefits for any laptop, as well as desktop computers.

And Apple plans to do just this with its entire Macintosh range this year, according to sources who are reportedly familiar with the matter.

According to TNW, existing devices that currently incorporate 802.11n wireless enable connections of up to 450Mbps with three antennas. 802.11ac can achieve the same speeds with just one antenna, bringing the total possible speed to 1.3Gbps with three antennas.

Apple computers currently using three antennas for sending and receiving data include the MacBook Pro line and the iMac range of all-in-one systems.

Functions that are sure to benefit from this upgrade include the AirDrop file-sharing feature in OS X, iCloud connections, wireless syncing between Macs and iDevices, a much improved wireless home connection and, of course, faster Internet access.

Providing high-throughput wireless local area networks on the 5 GHz band, the 802.11ac specification is expected to be a commodity around 2015 with an estimated one billion enabled devices spread across the globe.

Wikipedia says that this specification will theoretically enable multi-station WLAN throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a maximum single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second by extending the air interface concepts that come with the 802.11n standard, wider RF bandwidth, more MIMO spatial streams, and high-density modulation.

While the standard is still undergoing tests for consumer use at large, a company called Quantenna is known to have released the first 802.11ac chipset for retail Wi-Fi routers and consumer electronics as far back as November 15, 2011.

Comments