Is the most recent generation of Wi-Fi signaling systems in common use as it was developed back in 2011 and finalized in 2013. Consumer products hit the shelves in early 2014.
In order to be a competitive product in the industry, it had to boast high performance ratings that would allow for activity that is increasing demand such as video streaming.
By employing larger channels of signal frequencies combined with a larger quantity of MIMO radios and antennas (which enable more simultaneous transmissions) it is set to compete with alternative products like the Gigabit Ethernet.
802.11ac actually uses dual band wireless technology, which can simultaneously support connections on both the 2.4 GHZ and the 5 GHz Wi-Fi ranges! 802.11ac also offers backwards compatibility with 802.11b/g/n systems and also comes with a bandwidth that is rated up to 1300 Mbps when operating on the 5 GHz band.
It also operates at speeds up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. There have been some issues however, a few analysts and consumers have not been quick to shed their skepticism about its potential for ‘real world’ benefits.
There was really no apparent need for consumers to upgrade their systems and so 802.11ac Wi-Fi systems are sometimes referred to as marketing ploys; it exists only due to market competition. There have been some issues with the timing of newly released hardware for supporting the new system as well.
Routers were released fairly quickly but hardware that would support such a high performance needs in laptops and smart phones has not been as readily present.