At CES in January we saw an influx of new 802.11ac devices from several manufacturers, but all the while the standards body behind Wi-Fi, the IEEE, was already hard at work on the next release of the standard. The 802.11 working group has just released the latest version of the specification — named 802.11-2012, the fourth edition since the original publication in 1997 — which includes revisions that promise stronger connections, greater security, and smoother handoffs between Wi-Fi and mobile networks. It also consolidates ten amendments written since the last full publication in 2007, such as the 802.11n networks that are widely in use today.
Group chair Bruce Kraemer is already looking to the future: "work on the next generation of IEEE 802.11 already has commenced with a variety of project goals including extensions that will increase the data rate by a factor of 10, improve audio/video delivery, increase range and decrease power consumption." Impressively, around 2 million products that incorporate Wi-Fi are shipped every day.