ASUS unveils first Wireless ac laptop
Over at Computex in Taiwan, ASUS has has been showing off the world's first laptop equipped with 802.11ac wireless networking, the next iteration in the WiFi standard that theoretically promises up to 6.93Gbps speeds over the air.
The laptop in question is the latest version of ASUS' 17inch G-series gaming notebooks, dubbed the G75VW. It comes with an Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670M graphics and is slightly lighter than last year's G74SX, although in much the same way as a nine bricks are lighter than 10 – you wouldn't want to have to carry either around with you all day.
According to Engadget, the version of the G74VW on show is kitted out with Broadcom's WiFi ac adaptor, which was launched last month based on the draft standard yet to be approved by the IEEE. It operates in the 5GHz frequency and is capable of 900Mbps in perfect conditions. By comparison, a dual antenna 802.11n adaptor is theoretically capable of just a third of that.
To hit anything like those speeds (and Engadget has it down as running around 300-400Mbps on the show floor), you'll need an 802.11ac router – the first of which were shown off back at CES in January and are just starting to become available now. Widespread adoption is unlikely to be faster than that of the previous standard, 802.11n, which took the best part of a decade from draft kit appearing to it becoming the norm. One of the biggest problems is likely to be that Wireless ac doesn't use the 2.4GHz band, so isn't compatible with the vast majority of kit already out there. Many of the router prototypes kicking around at the moment are 5GHz only, although the first commercially available router, Buffalo's AC1300, has a separate 802.11n transceiver for 2.4GHz devices.
These issues will likely get ironed out over time, and when they do 802.11ac should be an interesting platform for PC gaming. As well as the faster transfer speeds, the standard will also encompass technologies such as 'beamforming' for more stable connections and reduction in packet loss.